In a video interview with Hotel News Now, Juan Corvinos, VP of development for Latin America and the Caribbean at Hilton, spoke about opportunities in brand development in the region.
QUITO, Ecuador—For Hilton, introducing and expanding brands to markets in South America is as much about capturing its share of visitors to the region as it is about making those brands recognizable for South Americans traveling outside the region.
According to Juan Corvinos, Hilton’s VP of development for Latin America and the Caribbean, brands that are resonating in the region include Hampton by Hilton, and collection brands Curio and Tapestry.
“This year, we’ve opened Hampton by Hiltons in four countries,” he said, noting projects in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil. “It’s the largest American brand in the region.”
“Our collection brands, Curio by Hilton and Tapestry by Hilton, are seeing a lot of interest. Most of these countries have had, historically, smaller boutique hotels. … We’re about to open the first one in Uruguay this year in Montevideo; we have a bunch going up in Lima, Peru, and are working on several things also in Columbia.”
Brazil, which historically has been a struggling market for Hilton, is turning around and is a focus for brand development, Corvinos said.
“We’re in a very good place right now (in Brazil),” he said. “We’ve had good success with some local alliances. We’re trying to play as locals, which is what the market requires. We’ve been working very hard to make Brazil work for Hilton because all of their travelers are going to the U.S., so they want to know our brands.”
In Sao Paolo, Hilton is set to open its first Canopy hotel, and also recently introduced the Hampton Inn brand, “which we think is also going to be a huge hit for the Brazilian market, because they know Hampton, but this is the first one that they have there.”
Corvinos said overall, Hilton feels very optimistic right now about opportunities in South America.
Argentina, another market that “historically … has had smaller production for (Hilton),” now is opening new hotels, he said.
“We are doing quite well. We are opening Hampton by Hilton Bariloche, we are opening Hilton Garden Tucuman,” he said.
“In the past, I would have told you Argentina’s situation regarding peso worries me. They are going into a period of elections, and we just need to let it play out, and commerce will continue.”
Noting other markets which are experiencing some resurgence, he pointed to Peru.
“Some people are concerned about oversupply in Lima, and we are as well. But the government has taken actions to resolve that. They started the new runway, which will increase arrivals and was long overdue. But they knew; they were just focusing on other big infrastructure items, and now they’re there. That will resolve itself. There are some projects in the pipeline that will not happen, some that will happen. It is the natural cleanse,” he said.
“Overall, I’m feeling pretty positive about South America, quite honestly. I’ve been taking a five-year approach—a 10-, 15- and 50-year approach, to be honest. We’re hospitality. We have to be apolitical. Things can change. We’re there just to provide lodging and hospitality for people who come into the market for any reason, be it business, leisure, medical tourism. We’re there to receive guests. We’re guests in somebody else’s country, we’re just trying to work hard. That’s how I see it. You can definitely not plan for one year. It has to be longer than any political term. It happens all over the world.”
For more on Hilton’s plans for brand development in South America, watch Hotel News Now’s interview with Corvinos at the South America Hotel Investment Conference: