Essays on Conrad Hilton as an Entrepreneur in the Hospitality Industry Case Study

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The paper 'Conrad Hilton as an Entrepreneur in the Hospitality Industry" is a good example of a management case study. Conrad Hilton (1887-1979) was one of the legendary entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry, having founded the coast-to-coast Hilton group of hotels in 1943, which has since 1949 grown to one of the largest global hotel chains. Hilton was born in New Mexico of a Norwegian father and a strict Roman Catholic German mother. Hilton was a typical product of the American Dream, having imbued the values of a devout Christianity and working hard to succeed personally as well as wanting to be a do-gooder (Telegraph, 2006). Hilton bought his first hotel in Texas in 1919 and became a major player in the United States hospitality industry only in the 1940s.

Conrad believed in the motto “ Be Big. Think Big. Act Big. Dream Big” and repeatedly bought properties in America and set up hotels abroad, running these through the company’ s own operations rather than franchising out thus developing the Hilton brand successfully. His first European venture was in 1953 and grew more international through the decade and the next.

During the Cold War years, Hilton saw his hotel chain as the icon of individuality and capitalist success that could combat communism that he, like the typical American of the day, saw as the greatest threat to society. However, in 1963, Hilton was forced to split his business empire in two – Hilton Hotel Corporation (HCC) in the United States and Hilton International in the United Kingdom as the US shareholders were wary whether such a huge international venture could be managed as efficiently.

Even though Hilton personally was not in favor of the split, he had to give in and he remained the president of the Hilton International which later became the Hilton Group. The two groups were reunited only in 2006, much after Hilton’ s death. When he died at the age of 91, Hilton left his property to a charitable trust but his father challenged the will and recovered the property (Telegraph, 2006). Personal antecedents In the 1960s, the psychological antecedents of a person were considered to be a major determinant of a successful entrepreneur.

Such a line of thinking regarding entrepreneurship has been focused on in the successive decades as well. Hence, psychologists attempted to analyze the personal behavioral patterns in terms of needs, responses, values, attitudes and beliefs that created a successful entrepreneur. In this view, a person who placed a high value to achievement not simply for his own personal success but for the organization made a successful entrepreneur. In this line of thinking, therefore, not just the owner of a venture, but even an executive in an organization could be rated as a successful entrepreneur (McCelland, 1971, cited in the Study Guide).

Besides the emphasis on achievement, the other characteristics of a successful entrepreneur are the ability to take calculated risks, tolerance to uncertainty and personal values like honesty, integrity, duty and responsibility (Alizedeh, 1999, cited in the Study Guide). Other scholars have pointed out to personal characteristics of creativity, original thinking, visionary, optimistic, hard-working and leadership qualities for an entrepreneur (Kuratko and Hodgetts, 2004, cited in the Study Guide).

Works Cited

International Labor Organization, Human Resource Development, Employment and Globalization in the Hotel, Catering and Tourism Sector, 2001,

Lashley, Conrad et al, Hospitality: A Social Lens, Elsevier, 2007

Shapero, A and Sokol, L, “The Social Dimensions of Entrepreneurship”, in Kent, C et al (ed), Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship, Prentice Hall Inc, 1982

Telegraph, Conrad's Hilton chain fulfils his global dream, January 1, 2006,

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