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Sun 4 May 2014 01:25 PM

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Hilton Worldwide to bring two more brands to GCC

Market ripe for development of Hampton and Embassy Suites, says hotel group CEO

Hilton Worldwide to bring two more brands to GCC
Hilton Worldwide president and CEO Chris Nassetta.

Hilton Worldwide is expecting to launch two more of its brands in the Middle East as part of its expansion plan to double its presence in the region over the next three to four years.

Speaking exclusively to Hotelier Middle East, Hilton Worldwide president and CEO Chris Nassetta said there was the potential to debut Hampton by Hilton and Embassy Suites in the Middle East and that ultimately, he wanted to bring all 10 brands to the region.

When asked whether he wanted to roll out the brands, Nassetta responded: “Yes of course, actually probably all of them, but I’d say probably next on the list would be Hampton by Hilton, I think we have a couple in the pipeline.

“Right now we have Garden Inn, we have Doubletree, Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria; we have five brands.

“I would say that the others that we’ll definitely introduce in this region will be Hampton by Hilton and likely Embassy Suites.”

Currently, Hampton by Hilton has 1937 hotels open in 15 countries and more than 350 hotels in the pipeline, with the 2000th property expected to open this year.

“Star systems don’t mean anything anymore but to use the vernacular, if Hilton Garden Inn is four-star then Hampton is in this part of the world three-star, it’s an amazing product but it’s a little bit lower price point and I think as the lodging market matures in the Middle East it will allow us to continue to serve more customers,” commented Nassetta.

All-suites brand Embassy Suites is much smaller, with 215 hotels open in five countries and 25 hotels in the pipeline.

“[Embassy Suites] has been primarily a North American experience but increasingly my sense is customers want that product,” said Nassetta.

“The opportunity to do Embassy is much more limited because there are only so many of those that you do in terms of demand for an all-suites product but I do think the demand will be there. In terms of a Hampton and Garden Inn, I think there’s a much bigger opportunity in terms of number of units,” said Nassetta, referring to a recent partnership with wasl Hospitality to bring mid-priced hotel brand Hilton Garden Inn to the UAE for the first time, following a signing agreement for two new hotels in Dubai.

Nassetta also revealed that Hilton Worldwide was hoping to launch a new, 11th brand, most likely “in the lifestyle space at some point in the future”.

Hilton Worldwide currently operates 66 hotels with 20,145 rooms in the Middle East and Africa, with 67 pipeline properties comprising 20,306 rooms.

“In the next three to four years our plan is to double in the region, in the UAE, we’d obviously like to see something similar. I think we have 14 hotels in UAE and we’ve got seven in the pipeline but we’re working diligently to continue to enhance that pipeline so in the next three to five years, we certainly want to double,” asserted Nassetta.

For a full interview with Nassetta, please see the May issue of Hotelier Middle East.

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