by Dave Hunter
Hotel giant has plans for more hotels in the coming years
HOTEL giant Hilton Worldwide is to continue to expand its presence in Scotland in the next few years through a number of new developments.
Speaking to SLTN Steve Cassidy, area vice president for the UK and Ireland regions, said the company is currently “talking to developers in every major city in Scotland” about potential hotel developments, as well as keeping an eye out for acquisitions.
The firm is also poised to introduce economy brand Hampton by Hilton into Scotland with a new hotel in Glasgow within the next two years, and several more Hampton hotels are expected to follow shortly after.
The company’s Scottish portfolio currently includes Hilton, Doubletree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn properties, as well as Edinburgh hotel The Caledonian, which trades under the company’s luxury Waldorf Astoria brand.
“We’ve got 12 hotel brands that can fit a lot of market segments, depending on where the particular need is,” said Cassidy.
“In the regional UK and Ireland most of our development is coming in that economy end – in that Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn or Doubletree by Hilton brands. Scotland mirrors that.”
There is also scope for the company to expand its higher-end portfolio in Scotland, however, and Cassidy said there is potential to introduce another of its luxury brands – The Curio Collection – to Scotland in future.
The collection consists of long-established properties that retain their own brand identities as part of the Hilton group of hotels.
“In Scotland, where there are a lot of those legacy properties, that’s of interest,” said Cassidy.
Despite the global brands, however, Cassidy claimed the business is committed to retaining a local flavour in each of its hotels.
In Scotland, the company works with suppliers that include Tennent’s, Braehead Foods, Harviestoun brewery and Campbells Prime Meat.
“I suppose the message is global brands but with local relevance, and our food and beverage offer adopts that same mantra,” said Cassidy.
“We take advantage of the size, scale, strength and depth of our global engine to create the best food and beverage experience – and we’ll ensure it’s locally relevant products.”
Scotland has also played a key role in the launch of the company’s new mobile app, which allows customers to book rooms in Hilton hotels, choosing the specific room they’d like to stay in as well as pre-ordering items such as drinks.
The system was programmed largely by the company’s digital team in Glasgow.
And Hilton is also said to be upbeat about the future of the hospitality industry in Scotland after a strong year of trading.
Cassidy said: “2014 has been a great year for Hilton in Scotland, with huge growth.
“I recognise the contribution the events made – Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Homecoming – but what I’m more confident about is the underlying momentum of growth from business travel into Scotland and just leisure travel in general. I don’t see 2014 as being a one-off. I can see it’s a platform for further growth.”