Hilton in European expansion

Hilton Hotels Corporation has signed a Letter of Understanding with Belgravia Asset Management Ltd. to introduce 25 new hotels (comprising 3,000 rooms) across Russia as well as other Central and Eastern European markets.

Over the next five years, the agreement is expected to result in the introduction of both Hampton by HiltonT and Hilton Garden InnT, all of which Hilton will manage. The first property is likely to be a Hampton by Hilton hotel in St Petersburg, which is expected to open during the second quarter of 2008.

This represents the second major Russian hotel development announcement with a leading property partner this year, as the company concentrates on multi-unit deals in key emerging markets.  In June this year Hilton announced a deal with London & Regional Properties Limited to develop 25 new hotels, encompassing selected brands within the Hilton Family of Hotels, including Conrad®, Hilton®, Doubletree by HiltonT, Hilton Garden InnT and Hampton by HiltonT hotels.

Over the next ten years, Hilton anticipates it will open 70 Hilton Family hotels across Russia, not only focussing on Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also actively looking at opportunities in key regional cities.

Separate to today’s announcement, Hilton’s first hotel in Russia will be the 275-room Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya, which is scheduled to open early next year.

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“With the limited number of internationally branded properties in Russia, this alliance with Belgravia will help us accelerate our growth plans and make a significant impact on the Russian hotel market in a relatively short space of time, said Ian Carter, Chief Executive of Hilton’s International Operations. “The introduction of additional brands from the Hilton Family of Hotels will also enable us to meet rising demands for quality accommodation, as well as providing a hotel product to suit all sectors and budgets.”

Duncan Hickman, Belgravia Chairman said:  “As a result of extensive research Belgravia have confirmed that the Russian economy hotel sector offers tremendous growth opportunities. The choice of partner for this sector was critical and the global presence and respect for Hilton sealed our choice of partner; giving us the confidence to be sure that this alliance will be a huge success.”

Carter added: “We believe that Russia represents some of the greatest potential for hotel growth in the world at the present time and are delighted to be partnering with Belgravia to capitalise on this potential.”

Over the next five years, Hilton will offer travellers to Russia a choice of accommodation ranging from its well known hotel brand Hilton, which will be joined by Doubletree by Hilton in catering to demands for upscale accommodation. Today’s announcement means that in the near future travellers will now be able to stay in Hilton Garden Inn properties, the company’s ever-popular mid-market brand, as well as Hampton by Hilton, which is targeted at budget conscious travellers.

Whilst initial projects will be in Russia, it is likely that this agreement will also provide Hilton with further opportunities to introduce its Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton product in other Eastern and Central European countries where Belgravia currently has a significant number of projects underway.
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