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As Hilton nears 100-year milestone, new research uncovers a world-changing impact

November 15, 2018 Hotel News No Comments Email Email

As Hilton heads toward a milestone 100th anniversary in 2019, new research unveils the impact the first global hotel company has had around the world, including in Asia Pacific, where it is now one of the fastest-growing global hospitality companies.

In a new book titled The Hilton Effect, Stanford Business professor and best-selling author Chip Heath presents a closer examination of the company founded by Conrad Hilton, a dreamer who aspired to accomplish much more than to create a comfortable place to sleep. To mark the book’s launch, a series of films have been developed telling the stories of the Hilton Effect across Asia Pacific and beyond, now available at fortune.com/thehiltoneffect.

Hilton entered the Australasian market in 1974, with the opening of Hilton Sydney. The region has since expanded to 25 operating hotels and has a growth ambition to double its footprint within the next five years, with seven hotels already in the pipeline. This last year has seen the introduction of the Curio Collection by Hilton brand in Australia with the opening of West Hotel Sydney, as well as the recent opening of Hilton Port Moresby, the company’s first hotel in Papua New Guinea.

“We believe the world is a better place because Hilton was born into it one hundred years ago,” said Alan Watts, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “Over the course of our 55-year history in Asia Pacific, we’ve witnessed the incredibly positive impact travel and tourism can have. Today, as the center of gravity in travel continues to shift to this part of the world, we aim to continue our pioneering spirit and be a beacon for hospitality.”

The Hilton Effect, as Heath defines it, is the positive, world-altering impact that Hilton has had, and continues to have, on billions of lives and thousands of communities around the globe – entering new travel markets and bringing people and cultures together to make the world feel smaller, while expanding horizons and opportunities.

“Most organisations 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 and what Hilton employees considered to be just another day at work was quite extraordinary.”

Through extensive independent research and in-depth interviews, Heath found deeper meaning in the history and influence of the company over the past century. Heath focused on three areas that he argues define The Hilton Effect:

The Hilton Effect on Guests

Conrad Hilton was a visionary who had his first experience in hospitality hosting weary travelers on the road for work at his family’s boarding house and later at his first hotels.

Since then, Hilton has influenced guests by easing travel and broadening perspectives – changing travel as we know it through a century of firsts, from air conditioning to a mobile-centric hotel room; creating the modern business travel industry; and innovating the guest experience, from the first concierge service for female travelers over 50 years ago, to unexpected moments at the breakfast bar.

In Asia Pacific, Hilton’s hotels have helped put numerous new destinations on the map, encouraging guests from all over the world to embrace new experiences and adventures. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, for instance, introduced the first underwater restaurant Ithaa, the first villas on stilts, and now, the first underwater residence The Muraka. The iconic imagery from these ground-breaking innovations has been etched in guests’ imagination of the Maldives as a luxury travel destination.

The Hilton Effect on Team Members

As recounted by Heath, Hilton has impacted millions of employees – which are referred to as Team Members at the company – by fostering the powerful entrepreneurial spirit and autonomy that Conrad Hilton established.

With 50,000 people currently working in Hilton’s hotels and corporate offices in Asia Pacific, the company was this year named Asia’s best multinational workplace by Great Place to Work. There are plans to create more than 100,000 new jobs across the region in the years ahead.

Hilton’s world-class standards have inspired multiple generations of hospitality talent in Asia Pacific and opened doors for them. An example of this is Hilton Australia’s national partnership with The Smith Family. As part of Careers@Hilton week, Hilton work with The Smith Family on the Work Inspiration program which is a three-day work experience program that enables disadvantaged youth to reach their full potential and highlights what a career in hospitality would look like. Since working with The Smith Family, Hilton have seen approximately 500 students go through the program so far.

 The Hilton Effect on Communities and Economies

Hilton has become woven into the history, economies and infrastructure of communities all over the world, becoming indispensable focal points in the process.  It has been the first to enter numerous emerging markets around the globe, has often remained during difficult times, and has led the charge on revitalizing areas that lost hope.

All across Asia Pacific, Hilton’s Team Members have spearheaded wide-ranging initiatives to engage the larger community where Hilton operates, serving as agents of change who make a positive difference in people’s lives beyond the hotels.

Like in Fiji, Hilton’s Team Member Wilisoni Buadromo has a singular vision to make education accessible to the poorest children. As part of the Thrive@Hilton sabbatical program, he chose to become a volunteer tutor at Foundation for the Education of Needy Children (FENC) and participated in fundraising drives. Empowered by Hilton, he is able to put his cash grant to use in supporting children whose families are still struggling to recover from hurricanes or who are otherwise unable to attend school regularly.

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