April 2019 | Interview: Ted Middleton | Senior Vice President Development, Latin America, Hilton

SAHIC e-News Latin America - April 2019

Interview
Ted Middleton
Senior Vice President Development, Latin America, Hilton

1- Piña Colada was born in 1954 at Caribe Hilton Puerto Rico. Hilton was the first hotel in the world to install television in guest rooms and the first major hotelier to reach 50,000 fans on Facebook back in 2010. Can you really imagine what milestones can be ahead?
This is Hilton’s most dynamic year yet! No other company has reached its 100th Anniversary with the same growth and momentum. Hilton has the best-performing portfolio of brands in the business, with 17 brands positioned across more than 5,600 properties in 113 countries and territories. Hilton’s brands continue to serve any guest, anywhere they want to be in the world, for any travel need. We’ve grown our Hilton Honors loyalty program to more than 85 million members by building meaningful, direct relationships that deliver great value for our guests.

At Hilton, innovation is in our DNA and is pioneering the way for the next century of hospitality. Our signature inventions derive from embracing input from all Team Members and guests and our commitment to keeping guests at the heart of everything we do. From capabilities that range from using a smartphone as a Digital Key, to sleeping in Connected Rooms that allow for integrated entertainment, temperature and lighting controls, Hilton leads the way in developing game-changing technologies that enhance the travel experience for our guests.  And, Hilton is conceiving new, unique concepts for brands, including Motto by Hilton – a unique lifestyle solution for travelers seeking value, location and experience; the addition of LXR – a luxury collection brand offering a singular travel experience native to its place, history and tradition; and Signia Hilton – a dynamic new brand offering both meeting professionals and sophisticated business travelers an inspired, premier hotel option.

2- Hilton enters 100th year with huge accomplishments and successes worldwide. What are the ones that you would highlight in Latin America specifically
Hilton has a portfolio of nearly 150 hotels and resorts open and welcoming travelers in approximately 25 countries across the Caribbean and Latin America, and currently has a robust development pipeline of more than 80 hotels throughout the region. In 2019, Hilton plans to celebrate approximately 20 new hotel openings in the Caribbean and Latin America with more than 2,500 rooms across seven brands and 10 countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru. We are growing rapidly and fiercely.  

3- How has Hilton contributed to the development of hotel industry in the region?
In 1949, we opened the Caribe Hilton as our first Hilton International property, and in many ways, helped pave the way for tourism in Puerto Rico. Since then, our portfolio has grown from one to 17 brands, from being in the US to now being in 113 countries and territories. Over the last century, Hilton has profoundly and positively altered landscapes, economies and countries across the globe and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests, helping to drive more than $1 trillion in economic impact. Our focus on the Caribbean and Latin America has never been stronger. Over the last five years, we have doubled our estate in the region. The strength of our high-quality brands combined with the magnitude of our global presence creates a powerful network effect that reinforces our strategy to deliver value for our customers, hotel owners, and shareholders.  

4- What are the main markets in Latin America for Hilton?
We see opportunity across the region and have exciting projects in more than 20 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America.  However, our main markets in Latin America based on current portfolio and upcoming expansion are Mexico where we have more than 60 hotels open and nearly 30 in development; Colombia where we recently opened our 20th hotel with the debut of Hilton Bogota Corferias and have four hotels currently under construction; Peru where we have six hotels open and nearly 10 properties in our pipeline; and Brazil is on the rise, where we have seven hotels open and five under development.

5- What can you say about Hilton´s expansion plans in Latin America? And about its brands strategy in the region?
We are expanding with the right brand, in the right place, at the right time.  In the Caribbean and Latin America we are represented in approximately 25 countries, with nine brands. Expansion plans in the Caribbean and Latin America span 12 of the company’s brands across more than 20 countries.   

6- Over the years, Hilton has opened hotels in places where there was none before and continuously opens hotels in countries for the first time. What is the last opening that you would like to mention and why? Any new spot or destination in sight? 
The Hilton Effect is the positive impact that Hilton has had, and continues to have, on billions of lives and thousands of communities around the globe – pioneering new travel markets and bringing people and cultures together to make the world feel smaller, while expanding horizons and opportunities. Hilton Buenos Aires is one example of this positive, world-altering impact. In the middle of the 2001 Argentina crisis, Hilton landed by the hands of the visionary entrepreneur Alberto González in the empty Puerto Madero neighborhood, being the pioneer of a region that soon has become one of the most emblematic and modern in Buenos Aires. Hilton Buenos Aires turned an abandoned area into one of the most chosen areas by tourists and the Argentines themselves, highly valued by business travelers and celebrities, and with the best restaurants in the country.

We continue to add hotels in our portfolio to complement our existing offer in the region. In April, we debuted Hilton Bogota Corferias as our 20th hotel in the country and the largest international branded hotel in Bogota´s International Fair & Convention District with 410 spacious and luminous guestrooms overlooking the city; Hilton Pilar opened in November of last year and provides travelers an exclusive and relaxing resort experience in Greater Buenos Aires; Conrad Cartagena opened in late 2017 as our first Conrad Hotels & Resorts property in Colombia, amongst many others.  

7- In your opinion, what are the trends in hotel development in the region? What do you think are the segments with greatest potential?
There is an increase in opportunity for branded hotels across various market segments and with 17 leading brands, Hilton is positioned to offer the right brand, in the right market. Our flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand is always top of mind, but Hilton is also growing rapidly with focused service with brands like Hampton and Hilton Garden Inn. We just opened the first Hampton by Hilton in Chile and we will debut several first in country with Hampton by Hilton in Argentina, Brazil, and Peru. We also see opportunity for All Suites products like Embassy Suites by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton, as well as for soft brands like Curio Collection by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton, where owners want to maintain the unique attributes of their hotel but be backed by the reassurance of a company like Hilton. 

8- You have been a key supporter for the development of SAHIC since its inception in2008. In your opinion, how does this type of conference contribute to the hotel industry?
This conference offers a unique opportunity for networking, and access to industry experts and Influencers. It is a great opportunity to hear about the latest trends, discuss the opportunities within the industry, and engage in productive business conversations that deliver success in the region.

9- Which social network do you use most often and why?
I prefer LinkedIn because of the professional content, business related news and networking opportunity.

10- When you travel for pleasure, where do you choose to stay: in a hotel or in an Airbnb?
I stay in hotels - always at one of Hilton’s industry leading brands and enjoying the incredible team member rates and benefits that Hilton provides. 

Profile:

He was named Senior Vice President for Hilton in 1996. His responsibilities include overseeing the managed and franchised development of Hilton’s family of brands in Latin America and the Caribbean. He also assists Hilton Grand Vacations Company with timeshare development.

Prior to joining Hilton, Mr. Middleton served as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Finance for Host Marriott Corporation where he successfully completed numerous hotel financings, acquisitions and dispositions.

Middleton joined the Marriott Corporation in 1986 as Director of Feasibility and Market Planning and later served as Regional Vice President of Development for Residence Inns.

Middleton has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from LeMoyne College and his MPS degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University.

 To contact Ted Middleton: Development.CALA@hilton.com

To learn more about Hilton, visit: hilton.com

Camila Lavori