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Hilton Worldwide Presents Plans For Global Growth

Christopher Nassetta, President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, has had the difficult task of steering the multi-national hospitality giant through hostile conditions brought on by the global financial crisis. The company has also faced a rift with India’ Oberoi Group of Hotels due to Hilton’s substandard status compared to other international hotels in the country. reports on Mr. Nassetta’s lofty plans for growth in India and worldwide.

“We need to set up for the next several years simply because fundamentals are good in most parts of the world,” said Mr. Nassetta. “Demand is growing at a fairly rapid pace as most economies around the world are growing. So, we are seeing pretty good growth in demand for lodging.”

While the recent crises in Japan and the Middle East have certainly impacted the hospitality industry, Hilton does not expect them to stop the current momentum.

Given our dire global financial conditions, Hilton has taken them as an opportunity to restructure and transform the company so it is poised for future growth, especially on an international scale. In 2007, Hilton had 85 percent of its existing hotel rooms and 90% of its construction within the U.S. Today, the company has refocused its efforts to the point that 50% of its existing rooms are 75% of its construction are international.

“We really did totally transform our business and refocus our resources and our efforts on being a truly globally integrated enterprise,” he explained.

In terms of growth, Hilton is focused on strengthening its 10 world-class brands, as well as growing the management in franchise business through brand management. The company is actively working to expand its management business and franchise business worldwide.

Financing is one of the biggest concerns in the industry, but Mr. Nassetta expressed that the cash flow of the company is more than enough to finance what is required as a result of rapid global expansion.

“In order to continue to grow we have to work with partners that need to access capital through the debt and equity markets in order to build these properties and so we are keenly focused on accessibility capital because if they can’t access capital then we can’t grow,” he said.

The company’s decision to privatize in 2007 has been a strong contributor to their global growth. It allowed the brand to grow very rapidly and build a foundation for international growth in a way that would have been extremely challenging in a public format.

In an attempt to improve its standing in India, Mr. Nassetta said that Hilton has 20 hotels in the pipeline, and approximately 20 under negation. While they are still behind their competitors, the company sees this as a way to grow and improve simultaneously.

“From my perspective, the Hilton brand is the number one brand in the customer awareness in every region of the world, we have a very big pipeline, we are the fastest growing in this region of the world and it’s an opportunity,” said Mr. Nassetta. “Being behind gives you an opportunity to do more than you could have done, frankly, if you were ahead.”

MDG Advertising is a full-service South Florida advertising agency, with offices in Florida and New York, that specializes in developing targeted franchise marketing solutions, exceptional online executions, and solid branding and media buying strategies that give franchises a real competitive advantage. MDG Advertising handles creative, media, and interactive marketing for Coverall, one of the world’s leading commercial-cleaning franchising companies, with a global network of more than 90 support centers and 9,000 franchisees.

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