Hilton Exploring New Boutique Hotel Brand for 2014

NEW YORK—Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., which began trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, reportedly plans to introduce a new hotel brand in 2014 targeting affluent, young travelers by emphasizing style and design, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta told The Wall Street Journal that Hilton is exploring plans for a boutique hotel or “lifestyle” brand, which would compete with W Hotels, a brand developed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., and Marriott International Inc.’s upcoming Edition hotels.

“Hilton Worldwide provides our guests with 10 exceptional brands for a wide variety of needs and desires. We will continue to speak with them about how we can exceed their expectations and provide them with the best possible experiences, including expanding our brand portfolio at some point in the future,” according to Hilton Worldwide.

“It’s something we’re working on,” Nassetta said in an interview at the stock exchange, where Hilton shares rose 7.5% to $21.50 on their first day of trading. Hilton sold 117.6 million shares Wednesday, raising about $2.35 billion. Hilton ended the day with a market value of about $21 billion, compared with $14 billion for both Starwood and Marriott.

The company’s stock opened for trading on the NYSE on Thursday, Dec. 12. Traders wore Hilton Worldwide bathrobes. Nassetta celebrated the company’s listing by ringing The Opening Bell this morning along with seven hotel team members and executives from the company as well as majority shareholder Blackstone.

Hilton Worldwide transformed the NYSE to display some of the company’s more than 4,000 hotels, including door and bell team members welcoming everyone at the entrances and food and beverage team members serving breakfast on the trading floor.

“We’re delighted to welcome Hilton Worldwide in joining the NYSE’s community of esteemed companies,” stated Scott Cutler, EVP & head of global listings, NYSE Euronext. “As a distinguished leader in global hospitality, Hilton Worldwide’s brand portfolio provides a distinct array of offerings to enrich customer experience. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership with the company and its shareholders.”