- Özgür Töre
With travel restrictions continuing to ease across France and confidence in the travel market increasing, Hilton announced its plans for growth in the country.
As well as continuing to open more hotels in Paris, Hilton is increasing its focus on major resort destinations and provincial towns and cities with a development pipeline that will double the hotel group’s presence nationwide.
Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, EMEA, Hilton, said, “In the last 12 months, despite challenging market conditions, Hilton opened six hotels in France, ranging from exciting brand entries like Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero to openings in new regional markets, such as Hilton Garden Inn Tours Centre and Hampton by Hilton Tours Centre. As the travel market continues to recover, we are planning to accelerate that growth with a development strategy that will see our portfolio more than double in the next few years. While France is already one of Hilton’s strongest European markets, this strategy will further expand our French portfolio across a variety of brands.
“Across Europe, as we expand, we plan to open more than 60 hotels by the end of the year, while longer-term development will see 237 hotels added to our European portfolio. We are confident in the travel market’s recovery following a tumultuous two years and are well poised to take advantage of the growing confidence in travel by expanding our footprint with a diverse range of properties.”
Despite being a challenging time for the industry, Hilton’s European development efforts have shown strong resilience, growing from around 450 hotels at the beginning of 2020 to almost 500 hotels by the end of 2021. Hilton currently has 19 trading properties in France and, globally, ended 2021 with more than 6,800 hotels in 122 countries and territories, with a development pipeline of 2,668 hotels, half of which are already under construction.
Hilton’s lifestyle and collection brands have almost doubled their presence in Europe over the past three years, launching in resort locations and major cities. Hilton welcomed new hotels from brands such as Canopy by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton, with both brands making their debut in Paris last year. Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero, which opened in May last year, is located in Paris’ 16th arrondissement and overlooks the Parisian skyline, including the Eiffel Tower, from its roof terrace. A celebration of its local neighbourhood, the hotel’s design draws inspiration from Trocadero’s history and, with the offer of complimentary Canopy bikes, encourages its guests to explore the city. Hotel Camille Paris Gare de Lyon, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, in the 12th arrondissement, opened in September just a five-minute walk from Gare de Lyon station and offers a tranquil respite from the city, with a glass-roofed atrium and elegant décor throughout.
Hilton plans to continue its development of lifestyle and collection brands in France, with plans already underway to open Le Belgrand Hotel Paris Champs Elysees, Tapestry Collection by Hilton in the coming months, as well as new hotels in Dijon and Hyères. Ripe for conversions, which accounted for more than 30 percent of openings in 2021, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, along with Curio Collection by Hilton, allow owners of unique hotels to benefit from access to Hilton’s powerful commercial engines and award-winning guest loyalty program while still maintaining their individual identities.
As well as a concerted effort to introduce some of Hilton’s newer brands to the European market, the group also plans to open almost 130 hotels under its Hampton by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn brands. In France alone, almost half of all pipeline hotels are under these brands and, with 23 European openings last year including hotels in Tours and Le Havre, Hilton’s focused service brands present a unique opportunity for owners to maximise returns based on a well-developed regionally appropriate prototype and an industry-leading operating model.
As Hilton moves forward through 2022, there is a clear indication that travel is at the forefront of both consumers’ and business executives’ minds. With upcoming openings located near major business hubs, such as Hilton Rome Eur La Lama, and recent openings like Doubletree by Hilton Lyon Eurexpo, Hilton is demonstrating a show of faith in the recovery of the corporate travel sector, bolstered by features including carbon-neutral business meetings and EventReady Hybrid Solutions, allowing professionals to meet seamlessly both in-person and remotely. While initially recovery was spearheaded by leisure travel, events such as MIPIM are a clear example of the industry’s desire to return to business travel, a segment that Hilton is well-positioned to capture.