Home' Hotel Management : HM FEB 2017 Contents After a year of much geopolitical change and uncertainty in the world, the travel and
tourism sector remains incredibly buoyant and full of even greater potential. Contributing
nearly 10 per cent of global GDP and one in 11 jobs worldwide, our great industry has a
huge role to play.
Looking at Asia Pacific, it is a highly dynamic part of the global economy. When
analysing the most recent data from UNWTO, it’s clear to see Asia Pacific continues to
lead the charge in a growing industry whose centre of gravity is shifting. With nearly 1
billion international tourist arrivals globally in the first nine months of 2016, Asia Pacific
saw an increase of more than 9 per cent compared to a 4 per cent global average.
Within those figures lie some incredible individual stories, with the likes of Japan,
where Hilton has a significant presence, growing 24 per cent. In Vietnam, where we
recently signed our first dual branded hotel in the country, arrivals grew 36 per cent in the
same period. Of course, China continues to represent one of the greatest opportunities,
with a 19 per cent increase in outbound spending and we remain highly focused on the
Following such a positive performance in 2016, I expect this to continue through
2017 and beyond. Robust labour market conditions, lower commodity prices, and
disposable income growth, along with macroeconomic stimulus to boost travel and
tourism within certain countries, all point to a positive outlook for the region.
Hilton’s own story is equally upbeat. Back in 2007, at the time of the Blackstone
acquisition, we had 79 hotels trading and under development in Asia Pacific. Fast-
forward to our most recent quarterly announcement in November 2016 and that figure
has leapt to 461 hotels.
That growth is helping achieve our goal of being the most hospitable company
in the world, serving customers wherever they need us to be. Our strategy is based
upon creating shared value for owners, heartfelt experiences for guests, meaningful
opportunities for all our team members and a positive impact on the communities in
which we operate.
As we look at what is a highly diverse region, there are individual markets with great
potential. It’s no surprise that we see China continuing to present huge opportunities.
It is an example of an organic growth market driven by the staggering demand for
domestic, as well we outbound, travel. China’s domestic tourism now sustains an average
of 10 per cent growth each year, and generated USD$350 billion in revenue just in the
first half of 2016.
To capitalize on this, we have built on our luxury and full service offering by
introducing mid-scale and focused service brands that meet Chinese travellers’
requirements, not just in coastal cities but also in key tier two and three cities. In
November 2016, we celebrated an important milestone with the opening of our first
Hilton Garden Inn in Hong Kong. We now have a strong pipeline of 52 Hilton Garden
Inns in Asia Pacific and 51 Hampton by Hiltons, the latter supported by our partnership
with Plateno Hotels Group in China.
Beyond China, there are many markets that draw our attention across our portfolio of
brands, having recently opened hotels and signed deals everywhere from Fiji to Bali and Hanoi.
In a rapidly changing environment, where guests are
increasingly seeking personalization, we are constantly
innovating on ways to provide those exceptional
experiences. Recognizing that more guests, including
millennial travellers, prize unique moments over material
comforts, we are regularly refreshing our loyalty program
Hilton HHonors, which already offers exclusive discounts
and free WiFi when members book direct, with money-
can’t-buy experiences spanning music, sports and the arts.
Room features, design, and technology, delivered with the
Hilton touch, form the complete guest journey.
That journey is ultimately delivered by our team
members, who are the Heart of Hilton, delivering the highest
standards of excellence. In looking at our future workforce,
such a diverse region as Asia Pacific does face its challenges
around the skills gaps and gender equality. Creating a great
environment with the potential to build a great career,
taking advantage of great benefits, can help overcome these
challenges and helped us to be recognized as one of the
World’s 25 Best Multinational Workplaces in 2016.
One key component is our commitment to promoting
women in leadership. It’s been calculated that gender
diverse businesses are 15 per cent more likely to
outperform their competition. Part of our efforts in this
space, whereby 43 per cent of our global workforce is
female, includes the organization of special events across
Australasia, Greater China, South East Asia and India to
train promising female leaders. All senior leaders in Asia
Pacific also attend further training aimed at enhancing
awareness towards eliminating biases. Flexible working
initiatives in all corporate offices across Asia Pacific also
gives us a platform to support greater gender equality in
the society at large.
Admittedly, 2017 brings with it yet more geopolitical
challenges that warrant close monitoring. The long-term
economic prospect of Asia Pacific, however, remains
unrivalled due to its growing middle class and long
growth runway, with travel and tourism expected to
contribute close to 10 per cent of GDP by 2026. Hilton
will continue to seize these opportunities in Asia Pacific,
not just by thriving on size and scale, but on timeless
excellence and quality – as the most hospitable company
in the world.
President - Asia Pacific
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