Hilton Group plc and Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT) announced today the formation of a joint venture company to expand the Conrad brand of luxury hotels on a worldwide basis.
Owned equally by Hilton Group plc and Hilton Hotels Corporation, this joint venture for new Conrad hotels will be headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, with Clement Barter serving as president. The Conrad brand has earned a reputation for first-class style and service among both business and leisure travelers . There are presently 12 luxury properties operating in Europe, the Middle East, South America and Australasia, along with another two now under development. Building upon this existing reputation and goodwill as a foundation, the joint venture company will further enhance the brand`s presence in the luxury segment of the hotel industry on both sides of the Atlantic.
Conrad brand development will be achieved primarily through the securing of management contracts for new build hotels and conversions, requiring modest investment by the joint venture partners. Additionally, the companies are exploring designating the Conrad brand to specific portions of existing Hilton properties.
David Michels, group chief executive of Hilton Group plc, commented: “The creation of this joint venture demonstrates the continued strength of the alliance between our two companies. There is, without question, more room in the market for additional luxury hotels to complement the existing portfolio of Conrad properties, and we are now perfectly placed to expand the brand selectively throughout the world.”
Stephen F. Bollenbach, president and chief executive officer of Hilton Hotels Corporation, commented: “Since its inception, the Conrad brand has stood for the finest in lodging accommodations, and through this partnership—yet another example of the powerful relationship between our company and Hilton Group plc—we now have the opportunity to bring the Conrad style of hospitality and service to even more customers, while solidifying our presence in the luxury hotel segment.”
Anders Hansson, representing the owning company of the Conrad London, Blue Harbour Ltd. commented: “This new joint venture is a wonderful initiative for the expansion of the Conrad brand. It will provide additional global exposure to the Conrad Hotels` luxury product and will allow for more frequent business travelers to visit our hotels.”
Conrad Hotels are currently located on four continents, with properties in Istanbul, Turkey; Hong Kong; Singapore; Cairo, Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt; Gold Coast and Brisbane, Australia; Punta del Este, Uruguay; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Brussels, Belgium. Additional Conrad Hotels are under development in Jakarta, Indonesia; and Bangkok, Thailand.
This new joint venture further cements the alliance between Hilton Group plc and Hilton Hotels Corporation. Signed in January 1997, the alliance includes joint reservations systems, combined sales and marketing programs, a unified logomark and advertising campaign, and the industry-leading Hilton HHonors(R) loyalty program, which is expected to have 11 million members by year-end 2000.