Supplier Diversity at Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company and continues to be the fastest growing global hospitality company by number of rooms. SupplierEdge® had the opportunity to host a webinar with Fred Lona, Hilton Worldwide’s Senior Director Supplier Diversity. Hilton Worldwide’s mission is “We will be the preeminent global hospitality company – the first choice of Guests, Team Members, and Owners alike.” To uphold their mission, the company is committed to an inclusive workforce that fully represents many different cultures, backgrounds and viewpoints.

In case you missed the webinar, watch the recording below.

When looking for companies to partner with, Hilton Worldwide looks for ones who understand their unique needs, as well as are able to meet their criteria requirements. When they have open supplier opportunities, Hilton Worldwide uses their database of registered suppliers to look for companies that can compete in their competitive bidding process. Tweet This During the bidding process, suppliers are evaluated by whether or not they can:

  • Design, negotiate and administer contracts with global manufactures and other suppliers
  • Establish global programs with Brand Teams and the Hotel Operations Team
  • Manage procurement processes and systems on a global platform
  • Meet capital requirements for the opportunity
  • Meet insurance and bonding requirements

Hilton HotelIf you are interested in Hiltons supplier opportunities, here’s how you register:

  • All suppliers must register on HSM’s supplier registration portal
  • Suppliers will be evaluated by the appropriate commodity manager
  • There is a two phase supplier acceptance process (go/no-go)
    • Phase 1 – Determines if there is an interest
    • Phase 2 – Full vetting and evaluation

Once you make it to phase two be ready to give all your business’s financial information to prove that you will be able to provide the services needed during the entire length of the contract. Hilton Worldwide looks for suppliers who have done their homework and research about the criteria and requirements of the job being bid on.

Fred Lona believes you should do the following to best position yourself in the bidding process:

  • Offer more value than the current supplier
  • Know the market and it’s trends
  • Attend industry conferences to network and evaluate your competition
  • Have an updated and professional website that shows who and what you are I
  • f you are offered the job and decide your company is not the best fit or no longer interested, do not ignore the offer. Simply say, “no,” to stay on good terms and be in the position for different opportunities in the future

Following the webinar with Fred, he opened up the floor for questions:

I produce a product that I believe beats other products of it’s kind in terms of price and quality, but hotels don’t tend to look outside their current supplier, how do I go about positioning my product?

Start by selling to individual, local hotels first and get references from actual hotel buyers. 95% of the hotels are franchises and not chains, therefore they do not have to use all the same programs and products. Start small, sell locally, then move to regional sales once your company begins to grow and then continue to move to a global market if you can keep up.

What is the best way to apply for supplier diversity opportunities with Hilton?

Use the registration system that was mentioned previously (above). We use a priority list based off the suppliers who have registers in our database.

What do you look at when you’re judging a company’s financial capabilities?

We look at what you can really provide for us and what you’re going to do. We put you up against what the current industry can offer us and compare. You need to be able to show that your company can provide a better and less expensive, dependable, quality process.

With multiple areas of opportunity at Hilton, who do suppliers reach out to or how do they know are contacting the right person?

Look at the industry you are interested in and start with independently owned locations. If you want to start out globally, you must be a big company who can meet the demands of a global company. Hotels compare notes and share vendors in meetings, which give you the opportunity to find more partners through word of mouth.

Why Hilton

Hilton Worldwide was ranked in the “Top 25 Companies for Supplier Diversity” by HispanicBusiness in 2012. Over 1,50 companies were included in the assessment that sought to recognize companies that demonstrated “outstanding efforts to encourage supplier diversity across its global operations.” With over 3,800 hotels in 88 countries, Hilton is committed to partnering with diverse small businesses around the globe.

Who is Fred Lona?

Fred LonaAs Senior Director – Supplier Diversity for Hilton Worldwide, Mr. Lona directs the development, administration and execution of the Hilton Supplier Diversity Program. While ensuring compliance with the corporate-wide diversity strategy, he also seeks to incorporate innovative best practice programs in supplier diversity. Mr. Lona joined Hilton Worldwide in 2005, bringing more than 10 years experience in Supplier Diversity and 20 years in increasingly responsible management positions from AT&T, his prior employer. There, as AT&T Western Regional Director for Supplier Diversity, he developed and implemented corporate initiatives to accelerate MWBE utilization and business growth.Exemplifying his commitment to supplier diversity, Mr. Lona serves on numerous prestigious and diverse organizations that impact the industry, including: Chair of the NMSDC Hospitality Industry Group; Chairman of the Board Capital Region MSDC, Treasurer of the NMSDC Food & Beverage Industry Group; Chair of the ISM Supplier Diversity Group; Senior Executive Corporate Advisory Board member of United Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Lona has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including: “Corporate Champion of the Year” (United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce), “Advocate of the Year” (Asian Business Association), “Volunteer of the Year” (National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development), “Outstanding Corporate Board Member” (Rocky Mountain Supplier Diversity Council), “Top 30 Champions of the Year” (DiversityPlus), “Top 100 Leaders in Corporate Supplier Diversity” (WE USA), and AT&T’s “Creating Excellence Awards,” “Super Achievers Club,” and “Excellence in Customer Satisfaction Awards.” Under his leadership, Hilton Worldwide’s supplier diversity program has won recognition and numerous awards from several networks and magazines including DiversityInc, Hispanic Network Magazine, and DiversityBusiness.com.

Mr. Lona holds a BS in Marketing from California State University Long Beach and has completed two years of studies at the University of San Francisco Law School. Mr. Lona is also certified by the Institute for Supply Management as a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). He is based at Hilton Worldwide’s global headquarters in McLean, Va.

Photo Credit:  Prayitno, Fickr