Florida Travel

Hilton Hotels just turned 100 years old — and the guests are reaping the benefits

Happy birthday, indeed.

Hilton just turned 100 and fans of the brand are reaping the benefits. Up at the Hilton Orlando for example, random guests were surprised with such perks as a full tank of gas or a coupon for a free complimentary breakfast buffet.

In Miami, Hilton’s Caribbean and Latin America team recently came together to engage in a Random Act of Hospitality.

The staffers spent a day beautifying the gardens, patio and outdoor space at Miami VAHS Fisher House, a “home away from home” for families of vets and military Service members receiving care at nearby Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center.

The hotel chain also announced the creation of The Hilton Effect Foundation, investing in both organizations and people having a positive impact on the communities around the world.

The company was founded by New Mexico-born hospitality pioneer Conrad Hilton, who purchased the 40 room Mobley Hotel in the small town Cisco, Texas in 1919 (the 31 year old World War I vet was in town to purchase a bank and accidentally came upon the property, as the story goes).

The businessman managed to turn around that flagging hotel quickly and within a short time, expanded, building the first Hilton in Dallas in 1925.

A century later, the hospitality pioneer’s legacy is still being honored, and with good reason says historian Mark Young.

“Conrad, in my belief, was a marketing genius. He realized the value of having the celebrity culture nearby in some respect. They often had celebrities at the hotel openings — he would have chartered planes and would fly them in [in the mid-’50s],” he said. “This is a time period where opening a brand new hotel was a novel event and he would always have celebrities there, and then the cameras would be there, so he was very smart about adapting pop culture to the hotel opening.”

Hilton may have done well in the age of social media, much like his granddaughter, socialite turned DJ Paris Hilton.

“He understood public relations before other people really knew what that was.”