Hilton Worldwide fully opens its doors

April 23, 2013 | 15:17
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Hilton Worldwide recently opened its first Hilton Garden Inn brand in Southeast Asia in Hanoi and the group is looking to introduce more brands as part of its expansion strategy in the country.

William Costley, Hilton Worldwide’s vice president of Operations for South East Asia, puts VIR’s Ngoc Bich in the picture.

Where do you see your two properties in Hanoi in the group’s strategy?
It is true that the 11-storey hotel with 86 rooms and well-equipped facilities is the second  Hilton Worldwide property in Vietnam, after the first one, the Hilton Opera, also in Hanoi.

Our Hilton Garden Inn brand was founded in 1990. This award-winning, focused service hotel brand continually strives to ensure today’s busy travelers have everything they need to be productive on the road.
The brand now has approximately 560 hotels in operation all over the world—Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, South America and the Middle East, with another 160 hotels in the development pipeline. 
Opportunities remain within Vietnam and Hanoi, so we try to grow our brands. Firstly, it helps to have our brand presence. Secondly, we have got a database of millions of Hilton guests. And we want to develop more of Hilton Worldwide’s 10 brands within Vietnam so this is a great chance to introduce a new brand, rather than just Hilton. We will look forward potentially DoubleTree hotels by Hilton also in the country. Vietnam is a market with the rich potential and the nation’s economy has been like a rollercoaster in the last five years, that’s why it is important to get the right financial partner here.  
Have you set any specific figure for Hilton Worldwide’s properties in Vietnam at a time when Accor, one of your strong competitors, has been expanding very quickly here?
You are correct. It has more hotels in Vietnam than we have. Our strategy is that we manage hotels on behalf of our owners. For sure we are looking at other locations in Vietnam and other partners to do business with. I am confident we will grow.
According to industry experts, the supply of Hanoi hotels is increasing very quickly. Do you see the competition in different segments, with four and five-star hotels becoming tougher?
I think it depends on the location of the properties. However, the most important thing is that if we did not  have good services, we would not have good business and would fail to compete. To this end, to become  stronger, we will focus on providing the best possible services, and guests will come back to us. At the same time, they will become our sales ambassadors as they would advise their friends to stay at Hilton hotels when coming  to Hanoi. And hopefully when our customers come here – the Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi they will also feel exactly the same.
Can you reveal the occupancy rate of Hilton Opera Hanoi at the moment and what rate do you plan for Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi?
Unfortunately I cannot tell the occupancy of the hotel at the moment. When we manage within the hotel industry, we have an independent third party who will give such information and data. What I can tell is that the rate for Hilton Opera Hanoi probably declined a little bit, but the occupancy is still buoyant. I think that the business sentiment at the moment is probably better than it was last year, but the risk obviously remains challenging. But no matter of this, I see that the demand for four and five-star hotels in Hanoi is still good.

By Ngoc Bich

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