The landmark 25th Doubletree by Hilton has opened in the UK this week, with the launch of a 105-bedroom hotel in Nottingham.
Speaking to The Caterer, Simon Vincent (pictured), president, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide, said the full service brand which is known for presenting every guest on arrival with a warm chocolate chip cookie, is going "great guns" having launched in the UK in 2007.
"It is a very popular conversion brand with owners of independent hotels who like its winning formula," he said.
There are now 118 hotels under one of six Hilton Worldwide brands in the UK. Alongside Doubletree by Hilton, they include two luxury brands, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels & Resorts; a second full service brand, Hilton Hotels & Resorts; and two focused service brands, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton.
The number of brands from Hilton Worldwide in the UK is expected to expand later this year with the introduction of hotels carrying the company's latest badges - the Canopy lifestyle brand targeted at the millennial traveller and Curio, which will become a collection of individual hotels - which were both launched in 2014.
"Canopy has a strong neighbourhood connection and we expect to make an announcement about several in the UK over the next few months," said Vincent. "We've also had a lot of interest from owners about Curio which will enable them to tap into the Hilton engine, while at the same time remain independent with just a small gold plaque above the door."
Following what he said was "a stellar year" for Hilton Worldwide in 2014, Vincent is optimistic for the year ahead with the Rugby World Cup ensuring a strong performance across the UK, combined with a large number of cross-London conventions. "The year has already started off strongly with high single digit growth in the regions and low single digit growth in London."
Key new openings this year include the dual development - owned by Ray Kelvin, the founder of the Ted Baker fashion brand - of a 172-bedroom Hilton and a 100-bedroom Hampton hotel in Bournemouth. "These are two exciting new hotels with a high design, contemporary feel," said Vincent.
It is the second time Hilton Worldwide has been involved in a dual development, following the opening in 2012 of a Hilton and Hampton at St George's Park, the location of the Football Association's National Training Centre in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. "The two brands have significant synergies which allow integration back of office, with a separate management structure out front."
With an ever increasing pipeline, Vincent says it is vital that Hilton Worldwide is constantly providing innovations for its guests. These include the opportunity to check in digitally across the company's global network of 4,300 hotels, as well as guests being able to use a mobile device as their room key by 2016.