Chapter 24: Hotelier Entrepreneur
24 Hotelier entrepreneur Kirk Frith A hotelier entrepreneur is an entrepreneur in the hotel business. Traditionally, an entrepreneur would own and operate one hotel. Conrad Nicholson Hilton (1887–1979) changed this when he created the world’s first international hotel chain. This entry will focus on Hilton. The business career of Conrad Hilton was beset with obstacles, including both the First and the Second World Wars, the Great Depression as well as personal difficulties including the untimely death of his father and the break-up of his first marriage. However, despite the very difficult and often uncontrollable circumstances under which Conrad Hilton had to conduct his business activities, he revolutionized the hotel industry, first in the USA and later, using the resources so acquired, across the globe. Although Conrad Hilton was keen to buy and build hotels that had distinctive characters, he pioneered the process of standardization that ensured guests would have a familiar and comfortable stay no matter where they were in the world. Conrad Hilton was born on 25 December 1887 in San Antonio, New Mexico Territory (now New Mexico). Born into a relatively prosperous immigrant family, Conrad Hilton was immersed in the business world from an early age. Conrad’s father, August Hilton, had built and lost several fortunes in spectacular style but had managed to maintain his flagship enterprise, a large general store, which allowed him to build and live in a large and comfortable family home. In response to financial difficulties and under the direction of young Conrad,...
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