Continually growing with the number of hotel properties each year, the Hilton Corporation’s brand and brands of hotels total over 3400 properties and can be found in 76 nations worldwide. There are 300 additional properties in development for future openings. Never did the founder of the Hilton Corporation, Conrad Hilton, imagine that his brand name, Hilton Hotels would expand rapidly and become an industry leader for business and vacation travelers worldwide.
Starting out in Cisco, Texas, in 1919, Conrad Hilton purchased his first hotel. With rapid success of managing the Mobley Hotel, Hilton expanded and bought two more properties in Texas. With financing by the wealthy Moody Family of Galveston he purchased the Melba, in Fort Worth, and the Waldorf in Dallas in 1920. In 1925, Conrad Hilton built his first hotel that carried his name in Dallas.
National Hotel Company
Defaulting on a loan due to the impact of the Great Depression, Conrad’s properties were quickly confiscated by theMoody family in 1931. The National Hotel Company was formed with the Moody family as the owners; it was managed by Conrad. This arrangement was short-lived, ending up in litigation in 1932 over the formation of the original agreement was formatted between Hilton and Moody. With a struck of luck for Conrad, Moody defaulted on a major loan, opening up an opportunity for Hilton to raise the money and purchase all of National’s properties.
Conrad purchased his first hotel outside of Texas in 1938, the Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco. He quickly added three other properties, one in Los Angeles and two in New York. Incorporating in 1946, the original Hilton Hotel brand became the first hotel on the New York Stock Exchange as Hilton Hotels Corporation.
Conrad Hilton began to seek other properties that would bear both his name and the insignia of Hilton. Always amazed by the grandeur and luxury of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, Conrad desired to one day own it. His dream was not far-fetched; he finally purchased the Waldorf Astoria in 1949 and developed the Waldorf Astoria brand for the Hilton Corporation.
Global Presence Reached
Opening the first European hotel in Madrid, Spain, the Hilton Corporation grew not just as a coast-to-coast hotel chain but one with international presence as well. Blending seamlessly throughout the tourism industry, the Hilton name became a household name domestically and internationally.
New Brands Added
In place for several decades, Waldorf Astoria and Hilton remained joint leaders in the hotel industry. It was not until the 1990s that other brands were added to the Hilton Corporation’s collection. The expansion included Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Grand Vacation, and Homewood Suites brands, as well as acquiring the Promus Hotel Corporation at the end of the decade in 1999.
In less than a century, from one minor hotel in Cisco, Texas to thousands globally, one man developed a major corporation. Sales have climbed to over $800 million per year, with number of employees peaking at over 135,000 people. Hilton Hotels Worldwide even ranks in the top fifty of the Forbes Largest Private Corporation’s list.