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Hilton introduces new brands to Asia

24 Mar 2009

With Hilton Hotels’ plan to open 61 additional hotels across Asia-Pacific in the next four years, more new brands will be rolled out.

“We have 12 different hotel brands to fill every market segment, which gives us tremendous opportunity to grow in the region,” Martin Rinck, the chain’s Asia-Pacific president, told Business Traveller.

The merger of US-based Hilton Hotels Corporation and UK-based Hilton Group in 2006, after 40 years of operating as separate entities, resulted in a swelling of the portfolio. Following a management and franchise business model, Australia, Japan, China and India have been identified as critical markets where significant development will take place.

Previously, only the upscale Hilton and Conrad properties were familiar to Asia’s frequent travellers. Now, there are the mid-range Double Tree hotels in China (Beijing and Kunshan) and in July, the region’s first Hilton Garden Inn will debut in Sakhet, New Delhi. Last year, Shanghai was pinpointed as the next location for company’s Waldorf Astoria Collection, which trades on the name of the New York legend.

Rinck believed that one way for property owners to survive the downturn, “was to be associated with the strongest brand in the market”. He cited consumer surveys where the Hilton name emerged ahead of its competitors through prompted and unprompted interviewing.

Aware of customer concerns, Rinck explained: “It’s not just about price cuts but meeting their needs with value added benefits. It’s about putting the right service offers in front of the right market.

“Each segment has different expectations, and understanding them is now more critical than ever.”

A case in point is Denizen, a lifestyle product that was recently rolled out. Targeting the mid 30s to late 30s bracket and those “that regard themselves as citizens of the world”, it allows the guest to determine the quality of his or her stay through a menu of services.

Said Rinck: “Times have changed and so have guest demands.”

For more details, visit www.hilton.com

Margie T Logarta

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