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This One Thing Is the Secret to Hampton by Hilton's 40-Year Reign In the Hotel Industry Hampton by Hilton has ranked in the Top 10 of our Franchise 500 for the ninth time — and the brand is still relying on something that's been there from the beginning.

By Carl Stoffers

This story appears in the January 2024 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Hampton by Hilton

To view our entire 2024 Franchise 500 list, including category rankings, click HERE

Started Franchising: 1984

Total Units: 2,919

Cost to Open: $12.8M-$24.1M

How would you celebrate your 40th anniversary this year? If you're Hampton by Hilton, the answer is: open your 3,000th worldwide location.

Travel companies must walk a tightrope — maintaining brand consistency while predicting their guests' ever-evolving needs — and Hampton by Hilton has mastered this. It's the largest of Hilton's 22 brands, and has been on our Franchise 500 ranking for 23 consecutive years, including 15 consecutive years in the No. 1 spot in its category. This is its ninth time in the Top 10; it stepped up from last year's No. 9 spot.

Related: What Hampton by Hilton's 14-Year Reign as the Top Hotel Franchise Can Teach You About Customer Service

You can almost taste its strategy in the ever-changing flavors (red velvet, strawberry, pumpkin spice) of those signature free Belgian waffles, or see it in the way its hotels adapt to their neighborhoods. "Our guests know what to expect, regardless of which of our hotels you go to," says Shruti Gandhi Buckley, senior vice president and brand leader. That includes, for example, its first-ever Hungarian location, which opened in Budapest in September. "The hotels may not look the same, but you're going to get an outstandingly clean room, and breakfast is going to be high quality."

At the same time, Hilton keeps a close eye on shifting needs. When a survey showed that 98% of U.S. travelers prioritize wellness activities on the road, the company partnered with Peloton in October 2022 to put a bike in every hotel fitness center. Then it expanded the program internationally in 2023. Similarly, after noting a rise in the anxieties of guests traveling with cats and dogs, Hampton by Hilton was among the brands that expanded pet-friendly stays by offering an online service connecting guests with experts at Mars Petcare, to ask pet-related travel questions.

This attention to detail has paid off for franchisees. As of the third quarter of 2023, Hilton reported a 12% increase in the number of properties opened over the previous year. And in 2024, more than 100 new locations are slated to open. "We continue to make sure that the business itself continues to be highly profitable while delivering strong margins for owners, and still keeping with the exceptional service so that our guests are going to pay a premium to stay with us," says Gandhi Buckley. Despite the turbulence around the world, she adds, "Hampton continues to perform."

Related: Find Out Which Brands Have Ranked on the Franchise 500 for Longest, Earning a Spot In our New 'Hall of Fame'

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Carl Stoffers

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Business Editor

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