Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hilton Announces Major Expansion Plans in Caribbean and Latin America

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Hilton Hotels Corporation today announces expansion plans to quadruple its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America by adding 150 new hotels to the portfolio over the next five years. The company also reveals a new development structure, made up of six dedicated staff, to lead the efforts in achieving this objective. This news underscores the company’s stated goal to add 1,000 hotels to its international portfolio in ten years.

Steve Goldman, president, global development & real estate, for Hilton Hotels Corporation, explained, “Expanding our global platform is a strategic priority for Hilton. We are focusing on accelerating the growth of our international management and franchise business by securing strategic development agreements and employing resources in international markets. This is the most exciting time in the company’s history and there are tremendous opportunities which we are acting on to accomplish our ambitious plans.”

Hilton Hotels Corporation currently has 42 properties in the Caribbean and Latin America development pipeline and has identified a number of strategic markets in gateway cities and resort destinations for further growth of selected Hilton Family brands. With an existing portfolio of 51 hotels throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, this expansion will bring the company’s total presence in the regions to more than 200 properties.

The team, led by Ted Middleton, senior vice president, development, The Americas, for Hilton Hotels Corporation, will include:
• Gregory Rockett, vice president development, Caribbean and Southeast U.S.
• George Massa, senior director of development, Mexico
• Luis Alvarado, director of development, Mexico
• Simón Suarez, chief development representative, Central America
• Cristiano Gonçalves, vice president development, South America
• Paula Muniz, director of development, South America

Daniel Hughes, senior vice president of operations, Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America, for Hilton Hotels Corporation, commented, “This is a momentous time for Hilton as we announce efforts to quadruple our portfolio to 200 hotels and resorts. Our success will be a result of the perfect combination of exciting brands, a dedicated professional development team, and targeted markets with great potential for growth.”

The Caribbean development efforts will be led by Gregory Rockett, vice president, development, Caribbean and Southeast U.S. The company currently has 13 hotels in the region and anticipates bringing an additional 17 hotels to the Caribbean over the next five years.

The goal of Hilton’s development efforts in the Caribbean will be to add focused-service hotels, such as Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn, to commercial centers such as San Juan, Trinidad, and Nassau. Another area of growth will be developing luxury branded hotels and residences in high-end mixed use developments in markets such as Turks & Caicos, the Lesser Antilles, and The Bahamas.

Hilton Hotels Corporation has already announced eight properties under development in the Caribbean: Conrad Bimini Bay Resort & Casino in The Bahamas; Hilton Bonaire; Hilton St. Maarten; Doubletree by Hilton San Juan in Puerto Rico; Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Providenciales; and the planned conversion of three existing LXR resorts in Puerto Rico.

With two developers dedicated to development in Mexico, the company is set for significant growth in the country. The existing portfolio of 19 properties in Mexico spans most of the Hilton Family of brands. George Massa, sr. director of development, Mexico, and Luis Alvarado, director of development, Mexico, will focus future development efforts in all regions of the country by adding 60 hotels in the next five years.

Growth is expected throughout Mexico’s border cities, as well as the central and southern regions, covering all 31 states and its Federal District. The Hilton Family of Brands will expand in prime resort areas, capital and large industrial cities, as well as develop focused-service brands, such as Hampton by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton, in border locations, interior commercial cities, and resort areas.

The company has 20 hotels in the Mexico pipeline including Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels in Puebla and Monterrey, as well as Hampton by Hilton properties in Guadalajara, Ciudad Victoria, Centro Historico Ciudad de Mexico, Toluca, Querétaro, Los Cabos, Cancun, Guadalajara, and Tulum.

Central America
Simón Suarez, chief development representative, Central America, will be responsible for expansion in Central America and adding 23 properties to the current collection of seven hotels. One component of this plan is to grow by forging several multi-unit development alliances concentrating on the Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton focused-service brands.

The company’s growth is expected in all of the region’s capitals, as well as secondary markets such as Liberia, Costa Rica; David, Panama; and Leon, Nicaragua. This will be complemented by active pursuit of opportunities in the principal resort destinations of Guanacaste, Costa Rica; Antigua, Guatemala; Atlantic coast of Honduras and Belize; and Pacific coast of El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Hilton Hotels Corporation recently debuted three hotels and resorts in Costa Rica and has six approved deals in the Central America pipeline. Opened in January 2008, the company welcomed three hotels to Costa Rica: Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa; Doubletree Resort by Hilton Costa Rica – Puntarenas; and Doubletree Cariari by Hilton San Jose. Six recently approved transactions include: Conrad Los Micos in Tela Bay, Honduras; Hilton San Jose, Costa Rica; Hilton Panama; Doubletree by Hilton Panama; Embassy Suites by Hilton San Jose, Costa Rica; Embassy Suites by Hilton Panama City, Panama; and Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport, Costa Rica which opens later this year.

South America
The newest additions to the development team will support expansion in South America, where the company currently has 12 properties. Cristiano Gonçalves, vice president development, South America and Paula Muniz, director of development, South America, will be based in Hilton’s South America development headquarters in São Paulo, Brazil as they lead the company in achieving 50 new hotels throughout South America over the next five years.

Due to the size and strength of the Brazilian economy, Brazil will be a key focus of Hilton’s development activities in the region. Hilton’s growth plans include not only Brazil’s largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but also a number of secondary cities such as Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Manaus, Recife, and Goiania, among others. Additionally, Hilton will focus on developing properties in gateway and strategic markets such as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; Caracas, Venezuela; and Bogota, Colombia.

The company currently has seven signed projects in South America: Hilton Bariloche, Hilton Iguazu Resort and Hilton Ushuaia in Argentina; Hilton Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Hilton Bogota, Colombia; Doubletree Guest Suites by Hilton, Paracas, Peru; and Embassy Suites by Hilton Valencia, Venezuela.

“Hilton Hotels Corporation is placing significant emphasis on growth in the Caribbean and Latin America, supported by a development team made up of six of some of the industry’s most qualified professionals,” said Ted Middleton, senior vice president, development, the Americas, for Hilton Hotels Corporation. “We have set rigorous goals and have no doubt we have the best team in the industry working to achieve them.”

In addition to the Hilton brand, the company will focus on introducing and expanding the Hilton Family of brands in these strategic markets as each brand delivers unique features to fit each market need (Hilton®, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree by Hilton®, Embassy Suites by Hilton®, Hampton by Hilton®, Hilton Garden Inn®, Hilton Grand Vacations™, Homewood Suites by Hilton® and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection®).

Initially, development focus has been placed on the Hilton Garden Inn and Doubletree by Hilton brands for mid-market and conversion opportunities respectively. This year, the company introduced the first Doubletree by Hilton in Central America and later this year, will bring the first Hilton Garden Inn property to the region. The company continues to develop its luxury strategy with the planned addition of selected LXR hotels into its portfolio, as well as expansion of the Waldorf=Astoria Collection and Conrad Hotels & Resorts.

Source: HotelExecutive.Com

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