It's only the second week into 2009 and signs are leading for this to be Hilton's year.
ALIS is coming up in two weeks where Hilton is expected to be announcing their Extended Stay brand, and then in March, they will announce their "global lifestyle brand" codenamed Project Global 21. The news that really piqued my interest and told me that Hilton was finally on its way and Blackstone's money wasn't wasted was an email I received which advertised the "Hilton Prestige Portfolio" which is what Ross Klein is in charge of.
From the current indications - hes been quite a busy person since he resigned at Starwood and moved to Hilton's Beverly Hills headquarters earlier in 2008.
There has been alot of talk about the repositioning of the Conrad brand and the breaking out of the Waldorf=Astoria brand, and it looks like 2009 will be the year it happens.
It looks like Conrad will come out to be the global luxury brand of Hilton - focusing on the luxury business traveler, vs families or vacationers.
Its interesting that Hilton is putting its luxury brands into their own "group" very similar to how Starwood put their luxury brands into the "Luxury Brand Group" and Starwood even went so far as to put the headquarters for that division in New York City - rather than Starwood's headquarter complex in White Plains, NY.
I also found it interesting how much Hilton is differentiating the Waldorf Astoria in New York City with the rest of the Waldorf Astoria collection. It's obvious that Hilton took the idea that Starwood & Barry Sternlicht had when he took the St Regis in New York and built an entire hotel brand around it - St Regis Resorts.
Hilton differs from Starwood by continuing to set the original Waldorf Astoria apart from the other hotels in the Waldorf Astoria Collection, which continues to respect and elevate the original brands namesake from the rest, I think most would agree that original St Regis in NYC has lost a bit of its luster when it was joined, yet not really differentiated from in a marketing standpoint from the other St Regis's around the world.
Another change that I've noticed recently is the look of the Waldorf Astoria Collection's website. It looks strikingly similar to the LXR Resorts website - same font, same layout, same search options, I know the reason behind it (I'll explain in a minute) but it just makes you chuckle a little. LXR's layout and design is so clean, and smooth it exudes luxury - without making you think Victorian or 19th century.
That is the same image that Hilton seems to want to give Waldorf Astoria Collection. (Waldorf=Astoria Collection Website left)
LXR Resorts Website (2nd image)
Without a doubt the most exciting thing to come from Hilton is their Boutique brand. Project Global 21 has been in the works since 2007 - and I'm sure its been much longer than that.
Out of the major international brands, Hilton is the last entrant in to the boutique hotel field and they realize they have alot of catching up to do. After they were purchased by Blackstone the whole Hilton empire was questioned, but I think now its clear as to the direction where the Hilton brands are going and that Blackstone will not hold them back.
It will be interesting to see what the Project Global 21 announcement in March is, I'll be keeping my eyes open and ears close to the ground, because what I've been hearing about the brand sounds great.. A brand that specializes in conversions, yet manages to still keep its identity.
A brand for "the soccer mom" who wants to be in a modern/trendy hotel, but feels overpowered by the W, or Andaz concept which can be a little overwhelming for a family of 4 from suburban America. I've also heard that the brand will launch with "products" which makes me wonder what they are going to be selling
The whole idea of calling it a "lifestyle" brand rather than a boutique brand - it's either marketing speak or really is a different concept, we'll have to find out.
firstname.lastname@example.orgAndrew Calvo is a 26 year old Commercial Real Estate Advisor in New Jersey. I live in Tinton Falls, NJ. This blog is about my passions - primarily hotels, commercial real estate, and development, etc.
Since I have been in High School Ifve had numerous jobs, but the field which has always interested me is Real Estate, Hotel Development and Construction. I consider myself a zealot in that area - I try to absorb as much as I possibly can, take the experiences that I learn, or read about and use them in my life