Hilton does the hustle

All of us who didn’t go to Harvard Business School are, of course, always looking for top tips to improve our businesses, make more money and edge ever closer towards that gold helicopter. But with close to 50,000 TED Talks having been given by the time you read this, how to sort the wheat from the chaff?

Residents of the UK were lucky enough to have been told by their leaders that if they wanted more money then, well, they could just work more, preferably around the clock and this week earnings season kicked off proper with Hilton president & CEO – and alarming optimist – Chris Nassetta chucking in his tuppence on the impact of what may prove to be a tricky economics moment.

Nassetta, when asked about whether fears of grey clouds might impact trading, replied: “While people are worried about where the macro environment is going, they have got to run their businesses. And in fact, the more worried they are, the more they realise they have got to get out there and make sure they are hustling”. 

So there you have it, the American Dream in a paragraph. Get hustling, people.

Hilton’s development executives have certainly been getting their hustling on, with a full-year NUG of 5% expected, and signings to exceed 100,000 rooms. This was off previous peaks of around 116,000, but, as Nassetta pointed out, this was also without the help of China, so no sniffing in the back rows, please.

As for trading, he reported that “Europe is on fire” and thanks, we know, and we’re ditching the ‘planes for trains to try and counter it. Those of us living in tourist hubs can confirm that being stopped and asked for directions and complemented on our English is adding an extra 10 minutes to every trip out of the house and, after Covid’s desolate streets, long may it last. Hilton expected Europe would be ahead for the full year of 2019 in terms of revpar and Nassetta had been talking to his CEO mates in the airline world about sorting out capacity, so all was well there.

Other areas of capacity where Nassetta was chipper was Airbnb, which, he said, was in some markets where Hilton wasn’t, so no harm no foul there. In fact, he wasn’t seeing any impact from the sharing economy behemoth, which only has six million listings, so how could it be hitting trade? It was, he said: “generally for different types of stay occasions”.

Hilton’s stay occasions, the group was happy to report, were slithering back towards business. In 2019, 55% of system revenue came from business transient, 25% from leisure transient and 20% from group. In the depths of Covid, it was 35%, business, 55% leisure, and 10% group. In the second quarter, it was almost 50% business transient, 34%, leisure and 16% group.

So not need to worry about getting Airbnb’s leisure customer (and Motto isn’t trying compete with that after all, is it?) because business is back. Despite inflation. Despite a possible recession. Right? Do the hustle. 

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