Conrad N. Hilton – HALL OF FAME AWARD WINNER
Conrad N. Hilton (1887-1979)
Hilton Hotels Corporation
Conrad Hilton was one of the most innovative thinkers in the business world. In 1919, he bought his first hotel and changed the hotel and lodging industry forever. As time passed, Hilton bought more hotels around the country, but when the Great Depression hit, he temporarily lost control of some properties. But through his incredible work ethic, he regained his footing and began expanding from coast to coast.
Known for his optimism, honesty and fairness, Hilton created the largest and most profitable international hotel empire of his era. He purchased his first hotel in Texas during the 1919 oil boom, upon learning that room occupancy turned over three times a day. When Hilton Hotels Corporation acquired Statler Hotels in 1954, the real estate transaction was the world’s largest to date. His business acumen, built on a keen sense of property values, good timing, patience, skill in negotiating, an understanding of finance, and a talent for “picking the right man for the right job.” He attributed his success to his philosophy that “man with God’s help and personal dedication is capable of anything he can dream.”
Hilton Hotels developed the concept of franchising hotels, launched the first airport hotel, introduced the first multi-hotel reservation system and became the first U.S. coast-to-coast chain. Hilton’s decision to franchise most of the brand’s smaller locations allowed it to sustain a growth model that still exists today. Hampton Inn, a part of the system, is almost 100 percent franchised. When Hilton died in 1979, the company instilled his ideals for as long as it exists.
A fervent patriot, international statesman and ambassador of goodwill, he spoke often about world peace, and advocated international cooperation and progress in developing countries.
His concern for the disadvantaged was genuine, expressed by donating and raising funds to advance key causes. Catholic sisters were frequently a conduit for his philanthropy. Upon passing, he left his entire estate to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to alleviate human suffering through establishing a perpetual legacy of global humanitarianism.