The Remaking of Hilton
On 20 April 2011, Hilton Worldwide unveiled a completely renovated lobby at the Hilton McLean Tyson’s Corner in the state of Virginia, to mark the launch of a strategic plan developed to revamp its brand image. The initiative is expected to invigorate the Hilton brand with the latest designs and technology available.
Five pillars for growth
The multibillion dollar strategy is based on five “core pillars” that detail changes set to be made in the next five years:
- To introduce smarter, less cluttered and more functional guestrooms;
- To use F&B (Food & Beverage) outlets to stand out from the competition and to elevate Hilton’s restaurant concept;
- To transform lobby spaces into community spaces;
- To further enhance the HHonors loyalty programme;
- To show guests that Hilton cares about them.
Trailing the success route
The flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide currently has 531 hotels in 76 countries. However, the Hilton brand has lagged behind competitors in terms of keeping its look fresh and up-to-date. This has partially impacted its performance in the past few years, mainly as brand renovation strategies by competitors like Starwood and its Sheraton brand boosted their customer satisfaction scores between 2007 and 2009.
Hilton takes control of the future
According to company sources, the nearly 130 Hilton properties currently under development will feature the new interior designs, whilst 118 existing properties will undergo renovations. This means that almost 40% of the Hilton brand portfolio will show off the new look in the next three years. If guests like the new hotel design, Hilton can expect to see positive results ahead and a further strengthening of its leading position in the global hotels industry.
Aside from featuring a more modern look, the new design embraces a lifestyle atmosphere – something that Hilton lost in a legal dispute against Starwood after being accused of stealing proprietary information, and that impeded the introduction of its Denizen brand back in 2009.
Although some interior designs such as the Technology Lounge are standard across the new design, developers are still able to pick and choose features that fit better with local environments. This is very similar to Starwood’s approach and will allow for the development of exclusive and unique Hilton hotels in future.
Moreover, a revitalised Hilton brand is likely to provide stronger brand recognition to its entire hotel portfolio, mainly as the Hilton name is increasingly being used to tie in existing brands to the Hilton Worldwide family. Brand affiliation is already used by some Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn properties, especially in new regions where the iconic Hilton name has better recognition than all other brands under the Hilton hotel portfolio.
Last but not least, Hilton will be better prepared to venture abroad and capitalise on new development opportunities with its renovated look, just like the Sheraton brand has done in the past few years.
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