[photopress:hotels_Koos_Klein.jpg,full,alignright]Koos Klein, Asia Pacific Hotelier of the Year is overseeing the largest development pipeline in Hilton International’s history in Asia, with the group poised to open 300 hotels in the next nine years
For the company this is a time of great change – Hilton was acquired by the Blackstone Group late last year – and the intent of the new investors is clear. Grow the company and sell it.
Koos Klein said, ‘It is clear that Blackstone did not buy Hilton to hold on to it forever. They are acting as our balance sheet which is good. It means more money for development. But private equity is opportunistic and the company is extremely active in gearing for growth.’
Five of the six top leaders at Hilton International have changed after the acquisition.
The accelerated rate of growth of Hilton in Asia Pacific can be put down to the fact that the company is introducing its Hilton Family of Brands across the market segments.
When Klein arrived in 1998 to run Hilton in the area, Asia represented only 5% of the company’s bottom line.
In China, the company will operate 26 hotels in China by 2011 and has entered into a deal to franchise 25 hotels under its mid-scale brand, Hilton Garden Inn to RREEF Alternative Investments (the global alternative investment management business of Deutsche Bank) and H & Q Asia Pacific.
Efforts to develop the flagship Hilton brand continue, while the company expects to bring more luxury properties into the pipeline under the Conrad and Waldorf Astoria Collection brands.