Hilton, the World’s First Global Hospitality Company, Celebrates 100 Years with a Dynamic Launch Into Its Next Century
With more than 5,600 properties around the world – and a new hotel opening every day – Hilton continues to lead with industry innovations and a commitment to sustainable travel
MCLEAN, Va. - Hilton, the world’s first global hotel company, celebrates its milestone 100th anniversary on May 31, in the midst of the most dynamic year in the company’s storied history. The hospitality brand that pioneered air-conditioned lobbies, in-room televisions, the computerized reservation system and even the piña colada now thrives in 113 countries and territories, with more than 5,600 properties and a new one opening every day.
The innovation continues in 2019, with the ongoing introduction of Connected Room – the first truly mobile-centric room – putting room key, TV, temperature and lighting controls on a smartphone app – and a commitment to the Travel With Purpose goals of doubling Hilton’s social impact while reducing by half the company’s environmental footprint by 2030.
Meanwhile, Hilton has been recognized for its exceptional workplace culture and is the first hospitality company in history to achieve the #1 ranking on the Fortune Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S. list. Additionally, in 2018, Hilton was ranked as the #1 best workplace for both diversity and parents and #2 on the World’s Best Workplaces list, recognized by Great Place to Work®.
It is a remarkable moment for a company that began in 1919, when Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel in the tiny town of Cisco, Texas.
“100 years ago, our founder Conrad Hilton had a noble idea: that travel can make the world a better place,” said Chris Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton. “That deep-rooted sense of purpose has fueled our transformative impact on people and communities all across the globe, as we have welcomed 3 billion guests, employed 10 million Team Members and contributed $1 trillion in economic impact.”
But the future looks even more exciting. With one of the industry’s fastest-growing pipelines across 17 distinctive brands, Hilton is doubling down to expand to more than 20 additional countries by 2020. There are already more than 2,300 hotels in Hilton’s construction pipeline, and one of every five hotel openings in the world is a Hilton.
“Our first century of hospitality has been tremendously meaningful, but I truly believe that now is our time. Our Hilton family is as strong as it has ever been, and our potential to positively change the world grows with each and every guest we serve,” said Nassetta.
Hilton’s legacy began on May 31, 1919, when New Mexico-born Conrad Hilton traveled to Texas with plans to buy a bank. While that deal fell through, Hilton’s pioneering spirit did not falter – he instead bought the hotel where he had been staying.
Through the times good and bad, Hilton continued adding new hotels to his collection. By the early 1950s, Hilton had established the first coast-to-coast hotel chain in the United States; opened his first hotel outside the continental U.S, the iconic Hilton Caribe in Puerto Rico; expanded overseas with the Hilton Istanbul, the first hotel built from the ground up in Europe after WWII; and became the first hotelier to appear on the cover of TIME magazine.
Soon, Hilton hotels would circle the globe, introducing and popularizing innovations that in many ways created the modern hospitality industry. This includes now customary amenities such as room service, a central reservation system, airport hotels and the well-loved mini-bar.
The Hilton Effect
Leading up to the 100th anniversary, best-selling author and Stanford Business professor Chip Heath and his writing partner Karla Starr studied the impact Hilton has had around the world in a white paper called “The Hilton Effect.” The Hilton Effect is the positive impact that the world’s first major hospitality company has had, and continues to have, on billions of lives around the globe – pioneering new travel markets and bringing different people and cultures together to make the world feel smaller, while expanding horizons.
“Most organizations celebrating their 100th birthday would be content to throw themselves a party, but Hilton opted to hire a pair of skeptical outsiders – business authors with backgrounds in social science – to examine its impact on the world,” Heath said. “The stories that emerged were even more remarkable than we initially suspected.”
Heath and Starr found that Hilton’s history of innovation has improved the guest experience by easing travel and broadening perspectives. Meanwhile, the company’s powerful entrepreneurial spirit has created wide-ranging career opportunities. Around the world, Hilton hotels have been woven into the history and economies of communities.
Innovation and growth will continue at Hilton as the company finds new ways to improve the guest experience and expand into even more communities around the world.
Hilton leads the way in developing game-changing technologies that enhance travel experiences for its guests and reinforces its commitment to the evolving needs of today’s travelers.
And with a nimble approach, the company is conceiving new, unique concepts for brands, listening to feedback from guests and owners to align with travel trends. In the past six months, Hilton has launched three new brands:
- Motto by Hilton, providing a unique lifestyle solution for travelers who seek a combination of value, location and experience.
- Signia Hilton, a dynamic new brand that will offer both meeting professionals and sophisticated business travelers an inspired, premier hotel option.
- LXR, a luxury collection brand with each location offering a singular travel experience native to its place, history and tradition.
As Hilton grows its portfolio, it also seeks to shrink its environmental footprint through its Travel With Purpose program. Hilton is the first major hotel chain to institute science-based carbon emission targets, with the goal of cutting its footprint in half and doubling its social impact by 2030, aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Several of Hilton’s current technological innovations are enhancing sustainability, including the rapidly growing Connected Room platform, which powers down devices while guests are away from their room. Likewise, enabling guests to use their smartphones as a Digital Key for their rooms reduces one-time use of plastics. Hilton was also the first hotel company to partner with Clean the World to recycle soap, and has sent 9 million bars of soap to communities in need all over the globe as part of its commitment to send zero soap to landfill.
“Our 100th year of hospitality is an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and put a stake in the ground for our future. Conrad Hilton charted an ambitious course for Hilton in 1919, and I think he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” Nassetta said. “In my view, the world’s a better place because Hilton was born 100 years ago, and if we do our job right, the world will be a better place because Hilton’s in it for the next 100 years.”
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 6,300 properties and more than one million rooms, in 118 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on the 2020 World’s Best Workplaces list, and was named the 2020 Global Industry Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. In 2020, Hilton CleanStay was introduced, bringing an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection to hotels worldwide. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 110 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy, plus enjoy instant benefits, including contactless check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.