Conrad Hilton - World-class Lesson from a Hotel Magnate

Conrad Hilton - World-class Lesson from a Hotel Magnate
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 10 March, 2022


When you think about traveling in luxury and style, Hilton is definitely the first name that comes to mind for many. Since its founding in the early 1900's, Hilton Hotels has become one of the most preferred and respected brands in the industry. With more than 4,300 hotels and 715,000 rooms in 94 countries and territories, Hilton is one of the largest and fastest growing hotels in the world.

Conrad Hilton, known as "the father of hotel industries" made a name for himself not only from being the founder of the Hilton Hotels, but also for his role as a pioneer in creating one of the leading hotel companies in the world and a leader in establishing the first international hotel chain that ever existed.

Conrad underwent a precarious journey before he built his empire. He started his business venture at the age of 32 and was forced to endure various trials and tribulations before he could reap the fruits of his labor. Clearly, this company was not an overnight success, it took a lot of hard work and a keen eye to get where it is today.

Conrad had a slender beginning in the hospital industry. He started off by helping his father run an inn in New Mexico before he joined the army during the First World War. This inn came about after his father had the idea to see the family through financial difficulty by renting out the rooms of Conrad's seven brothers and sisters as they began to leave home.


Ironically, Conrad's first business attempt was to buy over a bank. He had raised a substantial amount of money and with the help of his friends he managed to save the total sum agreed on with the bank. As fate would have it, Conrad walked away from the deal as the bank manager upped his price at the very last minute.That night Conrad decided to put up a night at The Mobley, but the hotels were full and all the rooms were sold in eight-hour shifts. Seeing that there was a high demand for accommodation during the Texas' oil boom in 1919, Conrad made a preposition to Mr. Mobley, offering to buy over the hotel with the capital he had initially saved for his bank purchase. Without much hesitation from Mr. Mobley, the agreement was made and Mr. Conrad went into business immediately.By taking a strong interest in the needs of the customers, Conrad quickly went about developing the hotel's offerings and services. In a short period of a year, Conrad was able to make back his investment on The Mobley. Conrad saw that there was a need for better quality hotels, so he jumped on the opportunity to develop and expand his business.

With the business concept of luxurious settings and outstanding services firmly planted in his mind, Conrad opened the high-rise Dallas Hilton, the first hotel ever to carry the Hilton name. The hotel was an immediate success, which led this hotelier to scout for more locations to set up his hotel chains.

During the Great Depression, Conrad almost lost everything as he was in over $500,000 worth of debt and was forced to give up many properties. Despite suffering a huge financial setback during this period, Conrad managed to pull himself back up by paying off his debts through profits from oil leases he had bought years ago. While most people in his situation would throw in the towel, Conrad persisted and went on a path of national and global expansion as he stretched out his hotel chains.His unprecedented success came about as a result of his brilliant vision and innovation, he believed that each property should have its own individual style and not look like a part of a chain. The hotel's rich and intricate designs teamed with exceptional personalized services, made it one of the biggest names in the industry.

In 1949, Conrad began to expand his operations outside of the United States which signaled the formation of Hilton International, a separate corporation headed by him. Both the international and national company went on to make significant contributions in line with Conrad's initial vision and both were highly successful.

Conrad Hilton died on January 3, 1979, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. To this date, he is still remembered as a giant in the hotel business and for his lasting impact on the hospitality industry. Apart from his business accomplishments, Conrad created the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in 1944, which awards exemplary organizations that work to end suffering in the world. It also supports programs for the blind and the homeless as well as education initiatives.

"To accomplish big things I am convinced you must first dream big dreams. True, it must be in line with progress, human and divine, or you are wasting your prayer. It has to be backed by work and faith, or it has no hands and feet. Maybe there's even an element of luck mixed in. But I am sure now that, without this master plan, you have nothing" - Conrad Hilton.

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