The Mega Brands That Built America Recap for Suite Dreams Birth of the Modern Hotel

The Mega Brands that Built America Recap for Sneaker Head to Head

The Mega Brands That Built America Recap for Suite Dreams Birth of the Modern Hotel

-This week’s The Mega Brands That Built America is about the hotel business.

-The oil industry is booming during the  1920s.  During this time, a man named Conrad Hilton is in Texas with $5000 and a dream. He was planning on making a business deal with a bank, but the bank changes the amount of money they want. Conrad goes back to his hotel and comes up with a plan to make his own, better hotel.

-Conrad talks to the owner of the hotel and pitches his idea. He ends up buying the hotel for $40,000 and puts his all into making the hotel experience we all know and love today.

-His first idea is making cleanliness and hygiene a priority. He also tries to make prices affordable. At first, this change eats at his profits, but once a patron asks if they sell tobacco, he begins selling things such as tobacco, novelties and newspapers. This helps the hotel gain not only happy customers, but a profit.

-Meanwhile, restauranteur JW Marriott is looking for a way to save his struggling restaurant.

-Conrad’s hotel is doing well, so he wants to expand and make the hotel chain as grand as possible, building it from the ground up. He goes into debt opening one hotel a year, giving the MiniMax service….maximum service at a minimum price. He added TVs, full baths, restaurants and more….and opened the first Hilton hotel in Dallas. He went on to open more hotels in Texas, adding air conditioning to his one in Waco.

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-Within eight years, there are seven Hilton hotels. In 1929, he opens the El Paso hotel, which is his most grand hotel yet. However, the Great Depression hits and Conrad must cut costs, selling furniture, blocking off rooms and even closing several hotels. The only one he kept open was the one in El Paso and even moved into it with his family to avoid losing it all.

-Back in Washington, DC, JW is still trying to keep his restaurant afloat. He tries to find ways to keep his place open, observing his customers and listening to his wants and needs. He notices people getting food to go to take on flights and decides to use this to his advantage. His idea would lead to the birth of his hotel franchise….but first, he decided to make box lunches for flights. He created an industrial kitchen and would soon cater food for flights.

-Conrad goes to the West Coast to expand his empire. During this time, Pearl Harbor is attacked, causing a lot of fear in Americans. Conrad buys the Town House Hotel, confident that this will help put him on the map. Three years later, business is booming for him. He now wants to expand throughout the country and begins buying hotels in New York, the former Roosevelt being the first to have TVs. Hilton Hotels is now the first coast-to-coast franchise.

-Meanwhile, JW and his son Bill put their heads together to expand the family business. The airline food business is thriving, but Bill wants to take it one step further and open a hotel so their customers have a place to stay.

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-Conrad brings his sons into the business and they all work together to keep the business growing….by going global.

-By now, people are flying more for travel and Conrad hopes this will help him get more business. JW, for his part, wants to cater to people traveling by road. They give the amenities of a hotel with the convenience of a motel, opening in 1957.

-The Marriotts struggle during the winter and try to find a way to stay afloat.

-Conrad opens a location in Cuba with pools, suites and many amenities. While this seems like a good idea, Fidel Castro’s takeover puts a damper in his plans.

-The Marriotts continue to struggle, but soon decide to cater to business travelers, giving them everything they need for a convenient trip. They add meeting rooms and convention centers to appeal to the business world, which finally leads to them making a profit.

-Marriott expands their business while still trying to stay in the airline food business.

-JW steps aside and puts Bill in charge. Bill uses different places such as travel agencies and cruise ships to help fund the business, but this proves to be a disaster since so many are using Hilton Hotels.

-The Hilton family finds themselves struggling with their international hotels. Conrad’s son Barron decides to go into business with TWA airlines by selling the international hotels in exchange for TWA stock. This leads to him becoming president of the company.

-Barron’s success is short lived due to the TWA stock plummeting, putting the business into peril. Barron decides to save the business by putting a hotel in Las Vegas, opening two of them in 1970. However, he faces a lot of competition, so he adds amenities such as restaurants and pools to put them on the map. He also adds slot machines and video cameras, resulting in the hotels turning a very hefty profit.

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-Bill sells off the assets of the hotels but stays on as management. This allows them to make money by making buyers signing long-term management contracts. The franchise will go on to open different types of hotels for different kinds of travelers….the Sheridan, the W hotel, Courtyard and more. There are currently 8200 Marriott hotels in the world in 138 countries. They are the largest hotel chain in the world.

-Hilton has 7100 hotels in 100 countries.

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