Most travelers who have stayed at hotels probably do not even give the hotel owners much thought, much less knew who they were. That is just the way things are; most hotel owners are quite unknown. Still, there are quite a few hoteliers that have managed to be in the spotlight, whether it be willingly or reluctantly. Let us run through some of them.
Perhaps no hotelier has as much fame as Conrad Hilton-both for the things he did and the things his great granddaughter and hotel-chain heiress Paris did. Conrad Hilton started out small, building an inn up with his father. Eventually, he was able to acquire a hotel in Texas. More growth led him to build the state’s first high rise hotel-the Dallas Hilton.
After establishing a chain of hotels in Texas, Hilton was able to expand outside the state and subsequently go international. These hotels formed the Hilton Hotels Corporation, followed by the Hilton International Company a couple of years later.
Although he lost some hotels during the Great Depression, he was able to buy back what he lost-a testament to the savvy of this particular hotelier. Hilton’s accomplishments were credited for fostering American tourism and overseas expansion for business, particularly during the post-war period in the 1950s.
For the contemporary audience, the hotelier with the most recognizable face is perhaps Donald Trump, famous for starring in his own reality show, The Apprentice. The man most commonly known as Mr. Trump also started small, but he already had the kind of background that made him suited for the industry.
After graduating from college, Trump joined The Trump Organization, owned by his father. He started out doing some residential projects, as well as taking the reins in the renovation of The Commodore Hotel, turning it into the Grand Hyatt. He then worked on the Trump Tower in New York City before expanding into several other business ventures, such as the airline industry, gaming (casinos), and real estate.
Today, The Trump Organization owns some of the finest hotels worldwide. A prime example is the 44-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York. He also owns other notable hotel establishments domestically and internationally. In addition, his name was also licensed for Trump World in Korea-being paid just so an establishment can be named after him is a good indicator of just how famous he is.
For the last hotelier on our list, we turn to the founder of some of the most famous hotels worldwide: Cesar Ritz. He founded the Hotel Ritz in Paris and also The Ritz Hotel in London.
In what now appears to be a common theme, Ritz also started small. He began his hotel career as a maitre d’hotel at a restaurant, before being a manager of a hotel in Lucerne and then in Monaco. He gained a reputation for his good taste as well as for being able to entice the wealthy patrons.
He opened a restaurant before being invited to manage the Savoy Hotel, which became a big success. After he was dismissed from Savoy due to his alleged role in a wine fiasco, he was able to open the Hotel Ritz in France in 1898 and then The Ritz Hotel in the United Kingdom in 1906.
Just to gauge how famous this hotelier is, we only need to consider the word ritzy, derived of course from his name and the name of his hotels-something mostly associated with being fancy and luxurious.
These three gentlemen are some of the most recognized figures in the hotel industry, in the past and in the present. They have allowed the industry to gain some momentous strides, and their legacy continues on with the culminating success of the global hotel industry.