Congratulations to the Hilton family and Drew Nieporent, owner and founder of Myriad Restaurant Group—which operates Tribeca Grill, Nobu New York City, Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu London, Nobu Next Door, Corton, Centrico and Crush Wine & Spirits—for being honored with the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration’s Third Annual Icon of the Industry Award and the Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award, respectively. Both awards were presented during a dinner held in each of the recipient’s honor on June 7, 2011 at the legendary Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York.
For nearly a century, few families have found themselves donning the headlines of both business and consumer publications as the Hilton family. Within the hospitality business, Hilton Worldwide continues to be one of the world’s most powerful lodging companies encompassing over 3,600 hotels, with some 600,000 rooms in 82 countries. The company owns, manages or franchises a portfolio of brands, including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations Company, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and The Waldorf-Astoria collection.
Members of the Hilton family, as well as the iconic Hilton brand, continue to be featured players outside of the hotel industry establishing a presence in American entertainment and pop culture. Conrad Hilton is even featured as a major character in the third season of “Mad Men” as lead character Don Draper creates a series of ad campaigns for Hilton Hotels.
At the rotating wheel space station in Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” visitors can stay at a Hilton hotel. Hilton’s logo appears prominently in the space station’s lounge.
And in the 2009 film “Up in the Air,” the popular Hilton Honors guest loyalty program was featured as means of product placement in which various characters present their branded Hilton Honors membership cards to check into Hilton hotels throughout the film.
Sure, over the years certain Hilton family members have had their fair share of less than flattering headlines. However, if reporters were to write stories about the many charitable and philanthropic acts that the family has been involved with during the same time period, it would be safe to say there would be just as many positive headlines. As a matter of fact, since its inception, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation alone has given away nearly a billion dollars to non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people throughout the world.
Simultaneously, another industry giant will be honored on June 7th in New York City. Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG) president & CEO Eric Danziger will be recognized by the New York Hospitality Division of the UJA Federation at a cocktail reception being held at the Marriott Marquis. During Danziger’s two-plus year tenure at the helm, WHG has realized significant worldwide growth across its multiple line-up of brands.
The UJA Federation and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration couldn’t have selected more worthy recipients for these prestigious awards. I am looking forward to being in New York City in June to watch Mssrs Danziger and Nieporent, along with the Hilton family, receive their well-earned awards.