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Hilton Hotels History.

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Hilton Hotel.

Founded by Conrad Hilton nearly a century ago, Hilton Hotels and Resorts has become an iconic, global brand with almost 600 luxury hotels in 78 countries.

Conrad Hilton was an American hotelier who founded the Hilton Hotels chain.
He was one of the first persons who introduced into this business 1-5 star hotel rating system. In addition, he managed to combine hotels with restaurants and casinos.

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Conrad Hilton.

Conrad Hilton was born on December 25, 1887. He was the eighth child in the family. His father, August Hilton, ran a small business – a grocery store.

We can not say that the store were bringing a lot of money, but the family did not starve and Conrad successfully received a higher education in the Mining Institute. He was an engineer by profession, but it did not attract him much. Since childhood Conrad Hilton wanted to become a bank manager. He saw himself among the people who were tossing millions of dollars. But the war came.

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Conrad Hilton.

In 1917, Conrad went as a volunteer in the army. Eighteen months later, he returned back home and found out that his father had died in a car accident. Conrad had to take care of his future on his own.

However, it was not so easy to start the business, which he was dreaming about. Conrad Hilton suffered one failure after another. When he was 31, his first bank went bankrupt, which lasted less than a year. The young man had a sum of 5000 US dollars and a head filled with dreams of banking. But Hilton was not destined to run a banking business.

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Mobey Hotel in 1920s.

Having arrived in Cisco, Texas, 31-year-old Hilton stayed at modest Mobley Hotel. Young entrepreneur immediately noticed queue that lined up, hoping to get a room. But there were no available rooms and the owner was so tired of the work and did not even plan to expand. Customer had to go looking for a place to sleep in the other hotels. The owner just wanted to retire.

It was one of those situations when a person is at the right time and in the right place (the same thing happened with Ray Kroc, when he entered to the McDonald brothers’ restaurant).

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Mobey Hotel in our days.

Having bought Mobley, Conrad began to improve the hotel. For a start he equipped the hotel with a large number of rooms thereby eliminating future queues. Then he came up with idea that he could earn more on guests by offering them some additional services and products that would entertain them (at that time most of the hotels were like boring coaching inns). Thus Conrad decided to place small shop windows in the lobby around the columns which featured a variety of daily consump-tion items (newspapers, magazines, razors, toothbrushes and toothpastes). Conrad later remarked that one shop window brought him US$8000 a month.

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Dallas Hilton Hotel with 300 rooms was built in 1925.

Conrad Hilton’s family was very surprised of his success, who had already considered him a loser after all his failures in the banking business. However, a year later after the purchase of Mobley Hotel, Conrad purchased his second hotel in Fort North and then some more. In 1924, Conrad Hilton became the owner of 350 guest rooms. He went up to the time when finances allowed to build his own hotel. And after a year, in 1925, there was a stunning opening (at the time) of Dallas Hilton Hotel, that had 300 rooms.

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It was a good time given that the Dallas Hilton was the first hotel, which bore the name of the founder of the company. However there was no time to relax.

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Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Three years after there was the economic crisis. It hit hard the hotel business:
people simply started travelling less and business travels declined. At one point, Hilton was almost forced into bankruptcy, having a debt of $500000.

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Waldorf-Astoria, New York, before it bacame Hilton's.

After few years, gradually Conrad Hilton regained his business. He redeemed hotels one by one. In 1949 he acquired one of the most luxurious hotels in New York – Waldorf-Astoria and opened his first hotel outside the U.S, in Puerto Rico.

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Conrad Hilton on the Time's cover.

In 1954, Conrad Hilton shocked the financial world, having made the largest deal in the history of America. He purchased Statler Hotels company for $111 million that was the main competitor to Hilton. Such acquisitions were possible for Conrad Hilton, because in 1946 his company went public, thereby obtaining additional capital injections from outside investors.

It is worth mentioning that there were already two companies in the hands of Conrad by that time: Hilton Hotels that was targeted to the United States and Hilton International – dedicated to the international business development.

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Hilton in Havana, Cuba, 1950s.

Hilton Hotels started to attract more and more guests. Company’s success they explained simply: rich people such as businessmen, royal personages or show business stars required unobtrusive comfort as ordinary members of the middle class. This was a major luxury.

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It was the fact which began to attract as well as millionaires, movie stars and ordinary middle class. They all liked staying at Hilton Hotels.

But one thing is to talk about comfort and quite another thing is to provide it.
What was done to it?
— First, nobody before had placed small shop windows in the hotel’s lobbies like it was done in Hilton Hotels.
— Second, nobody before had equipped its rooms with air conditioning, entrance doors with automatic control, alarm clocks and telephones that included such feature, as a direct dialing (no need to call the reception and
ask to be connected with a certain telephone number).
— Third, Hilton Hotels were built close to airports and seaports, thereby offering travelers special packages (transfers, excursions).
— Forth, there was a special reward system for guests called Hilton Honors.

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Hiltons were the fist hotels in the world with the automated phone service

In 1966, Conrad Hilton departs from works by passing control of the hotels chain to his son – Barron Hilton. He founded the Hilton Foundation charity and left all his property to it after his death in 1979, in Dallas, where he built his first Hilton Hotel.

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Hilton pioneered the electronic booking and reservation systems.

Conrad Hilton had had 3 marriges in 1925, 1942 and 1976, which left him 8 children and 100 grandchildren. Hilton died from natural causes in 1979,
at the age of 91.

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Preparing to travel to Havana in 1958, Mr. Hilton and Mr. Hilton’s son William Barron Jr.

It should be said that Barron Hilton, one of Conrad's sons, managed quite well hotel business after his father and made several key changes to the Hilton Hotels corporation:
— the company moved to a franchise model.
— in 1973, the company implemented a remote reference system, called Hilcron. The client had dial a hot line number, and he was getting all the interesting info from the talking robot, including the availability of the hotel rooms.
— merging hotels and casinos. The first casino hotel appeared in the late 60’s, under the guidance of Conrad Hilton in Las Vegas.

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In the XXI century the hotel business brought losses. But gambling business, was profitable and covered the losses of the hotel company.

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Hilton Hotels History.
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