A leader with a song in his heart: Conrad Hilton

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills,Profiles in Leadership

An Executive Leadership Time Machine interview

Hotelier Conrad Hilton converted a fleabag into a hotel empire that earned him the nickname “innkeeper to the world.”

In 1919, luck brought Hilton to a Texas hotel housing oil-field workers, its 40 rooms turning over every eight hours. A week later, Hilton owned it. He soon began buying and building hotels. The Dallas Hilton opened in 1925. By the late 1940s, Hilton owned the iconic Palmer House in Chicago and Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

Hiltons were the first hotels to put ­air-conditioning, TVs, ironing boards and sewing kits in their rooms. Modern hotel-reservation systems evolved from Hil­­ton’s 1948 prototype. Today, Hilton World­­wide owns thousands of properties.

EL: Welcome, Conrad Hilton. You had a vision of first-class hotels where none existed. What helped you think big?

Hilton: There’s a vastness in Texas and I believe that people born here breathe that vas...(register to read more)

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