Hilton to expand resorts, increase franchises


 Hilton International has announced plans to further expand its growing portfolio of upscale resorts. A total of 14 new resorts, (over 3,500 rooms), will open over the next 36 months, increasing the number of Hilton Worldwide Resorts to 60 in 28 countries worldwide.

It has also revealed plans to roll out a franchise opportunity for the mid-market Scandic brand and the four/five star Hilton brand. The aim is to develop the portfolio faster in chosen markets including those not currently served by Hilton International.
The push to increase the Hilton Worldwide Resort portfolio reflects the changing mix of hotel customer, now 40 percent business and 60 percent leisure.
The new resorts will provide a greater choice of holiday experiences from the Hilton Evian Resort and Spa in France, to the Hilton Margaret River Vineyard Resort and Spa in Australia and the Hilton Amazon Eco-Lodge in the Brazilian rainforest.
Other resort openings planned for this year include properties in Bali, Phuket, Cebu and Barbados. Over the next two years, properties will be opened in Denaru, Venice, Seychelles, Miami and Santa Fe.
Hilton Worldwide Resorts has established its resort product with trade partners in Europe, a key source market. A positive response has been received from the travel industry with over 30 UK tour operators and over 20 leading tour operators in Germany, Austria and Switzerland featuring Hilton Worldwide Resorts in their portfolios.
Mike Ashton, senior VP, marketing, Hilton, said between 60 per cent and 90 per cent of the group’s 2003 resort room nights, (dependent on the resort), came through tour operators and travel agents. He said the group is concentrating on developing these relationships further and expanding its specialist tour operator packages such as wedding, honeymoon, spa, golf and diving to match our range of leisure holiday experiences, which will provide more tailored options.
Franchisees of the Hilton and Scandic brands will benefit from the strengths of both brands including reservations and distribution systems, marketing and the Hilton Hhonors loyalty programme.
Over the past year, Hilton International has developed a franchise business model with its US Alliance partner Hilton Hotels Corporation which currently operates nearly 2,000 franchised hotels.