For Joseph Berger, executive vice president and president for the Americas with Hilton Worldwide Holdings, few places in the world are as exciting as Latin America. "We're feeling really bullish on Latin America, we're seeing a significant amount of growth," Berger said in an interview with Latin Trade. Seventy hotels are currently in the pipeline, he added, including 30 new deals recently inked.
Of all the projects, Berger is most excited about one that also represents a lucky number for Hilton. "What better place to have a 100th hotel in Latin America than in Copacabana? It's just such a great moment for us," he said. A former Windsor Plaza that is among the tallest hotels in Rio de Janeiro, Berger feels the renovation will make it one of the most spectacular of all Hilton properties.
The hotel chain operates nine of 14 of its brands in Latin America, with its luxury brands--the Waldorf and the Conrad--part of the expanding portfolio. The Conrad in Punta del Este, Uruguay, is one of South America's most famous hotels.
Beyond signature properties, the mid-priced lodgings of the Hilton brand are also performing well. In fact, 60% of the properties in the Latin America pipeline are branded as either the Hampton by Hilton or the Hilton Garden Inn, aimed at leisure travelers and budget conscious business travelers.
The Copacabana project is a sign for Berger that despite Brazil's recent troubles, the country is moving in "real positive directions as relates to business...