Hotel News Now sat down with Ian Carter, president of global development, architecture, design and construction at Hilton, at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference to talk about the company’s ongoing strategy for global development.
NEW YORK—Much like 2016, Hilton’s Ian Carter expects 2017 will be another record year for development for the company.
Hotel News Now had the opportunity to sit with Hilton’s president of global development, architecture, design and construction at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference to talk about the company’s plans for global growth. Hilton added 27,000 rooms to its pipeline in the first quarter for a total of 325,000, he said, with about half of those outside of the United States and roughly half of those under construction.
When looking to expand the company’s presence in another country, Carter said Hilton takes a phasing approach in which it will use a brand, such as Hilton, and use it as a way to bring in other brands. Ten years ago, the company only had four hotels in China: three Hiltons and a Conrad. The company focused on moving more Hiltons into China, Carter said, which allowed it to draft in DoubleTree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn properties but also allowed the company to position Conrad and Waldorf above them.
“We applied that same mentality to other target markets that we focused on, so it’s not a scattergun approach,” he said. “It’s what we call this phased approach on target markets. So we’ll see much the same happen in 2017.”
When developing new properties in foreign countries, Hilton considers both the market itself and the country’s economy, Carter said. When launching DoubleTree in Europe during the recession, owners of locally branded hotels heard from lenders they needed to do something different because there was a lot of pressure on filling those hotels, he said, and working with an international brand was one solution.
The hotels were largely well-capitalized, so they needed a soft-brand conversion potentially, he said. From Hilton’s perspective at the time, the only brand for conversion was DoubleTree for economic reasons, but now it has Curio and Tapestry. If there’s a slowdown in another country, there will be less construction, but more opportunity for conversions, and Hilton likes that balance, Carter said.
“We will see conversions increase if new build slows down, but we have more potential now to offer conversion opportunities because of Tapestry and because of Curio as well, of course, because we have DoubleTree,” he said.
To hear more of what Carter had to say about Hilton’s approach to global development, watch the video below.