Hilton’s Jonathan Witter: “The future of hospitality has to feel customized and personal”

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
May 19, 2019 · 13 min read

…It has to feel personal. There is no “one size fits all” approach to hospitality. Customers are increasingly looking for truly personalized, one-of-a-kind experiences that feel as though they’re made just for them. This is why it is essential to create and foster a culture that is focused on people serving people — one where team members are inspired and empowered to go above and beyond for customers. Add to this the fact that customers are more and more willing to share their data (within reason), and we have a prime opportunity to truly understand who our customers are, what they like and why they’re traveling — and to do something positive with that information.



  1. It has to feel personal. There is no “one size fits all” approach to hospitality. Customers are increasingly looking for truly personalized, one-of-a-kind experiences that feel as though they’re made just for them. This is why it is essential to create and foster a culture that is focused on people serving people — one where team members are inspired and empowered to go above and beyond for customers. Add to this the fact that customers are more and more willing to share their data (within reason), and we have a prime opportunity to truly understand who our customers are, what they like and why they’re traveling — and to do something positive with that information.
  2. Seamless integration of physical and digital is critical. Travelers will always look for that outstanding travel experience — the hotel employee who made them feel extra well cared for, or that knockout property, or a “can’t miss” view. At the same time, our society is becoming more digital in everything we do, and it is important that we use technology to help digitally connect customers to those physical components of their guest stay. For example, we offer a digital check-in experience for those guests who want it, where they can check-in, pick their room, request an upgrade and unlock their door all through our Hilton Honors app. Not only does this offer our guests an option to check-in when and how they like, it also frees up our team members to focus even more on what they do best: delivering exceptional hospitality.
  3. Physical design is more important than ever. Customers have a discerning eye for design, and they are increasingly telling us that they want their hotels to feel less homogeneous. There will always be a place for brand standards and consistency, but you will see more hotels getting creative with how they reflect their communities in their design.
  4. Customers want to spend money with brands that share their values. According to a survey of 72,000 Hilton guests, social, environmental and ethical considerations are central to their buying preferences, especially guests younger than 25 years old. We have always been focused on investing in the people and communities we serve, and last year we laid out ambitious new goals to significantly increase our impact by 2030 by cutting our environmental footprint in half and doubling our social impact investments.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Candice Georgiadis

Written by

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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