Hilton to focus on Africa expansion
Hilton has announced its intention to focus the efforts of a number of its key brands on further expanding into the African market. Hilton has had a prominent presence on the African continent for the past five decades, but this new initiative will encourage the growth of their brand across Sub-Saharan Africa and will see an investment of $50 million towards this end. The development is entitled the Hilton Africa Growth Initiative and uses a model that takes existing hotels across the continent and rebrands them as Hilton hotels.
The investment for the expansion plan will go towards converting approximately 100 operational hotels all over Africa to the Hilton brand, namely to Hilton Hotels and Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and the Curio Collection by Hilton. This spread of hard brands encompasses the core Hilton identity in its flagship brand, its luxury arm in the DoubleTree name and more recent foray into hotels that celebrate unique and local experiences with the Curio Collection. The new swathe of hotels in Africa will mean that Hilton will gain approximately 20,000 new guest rooms on the continent.
Converting existing hospitality premises into a big name brand has previously proved successful for Hilton, and enables big names to rapidly increase their portfolio without having to build a host of new properties. Patrick Fitzgibbon, Senior Vice President, Development, Europe, Middle East and Africa, says, “It enables us to rapidly grow our portfolio and delivers returns for owners by increasing exposure of their business to more international, inter-regional and domestic travellers, and specifically to our 65 million-plus Hilton Honors members, who look to stay with us in our suite of industry-leading brands. We see huge potential here in key cities and airports, as well as allowing us to develop our offering in resorts and safari lodges.”
Africa has seen a recent surge of investment across the continent, in particular in North African countries such as Morocco. The Nigerian city of Lagos has also been experiencing something of a boom, with new super-cities being constructed and many hotel brands opening new properties in the area. The TOPHOTELPROJECTS database has seen construction information for the continent steadily increased in recent times, and this shows no signs of stopping, given that the African economy is not only stable but thriving, especially in terms of hospitality. Africa is fast becoming a desirable holiday destination, and as tourism increases, so does the need for high-class accommodation.
The Hilton Africa Growth Initiative is reported to take place over the next five years. Fitzgibbon also said, “The range of brands we have at our disposal allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property. We have already deployed this initiative in the signing of two hotels: our first DoubleTree by Hilton property in Kenya, and our first hotel in Rwanda, and expect to be able to announce further additions before the end of this year.”
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