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Five Industry-Leading Awards From The American
Hotel & Lodging Association Presented
to Hilton Managers/Hotels
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 21, 2004 – Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT) has announced that its Family of Hotels was recognized more times than any other major hospitality group for outstanding achievements in the lodging industry at the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)/Diner’s Club Stars of the Industry Awards luncheon, held during the Las Vegas International Hotel & Restaurant Show last week. 

The awards program recognized outstanding accomplishments and exceptional service by individuals and hotels during 2003. Many of AH&LA’s member state associations choose their own property award winners, which are then submitted to the association for national judging. 

“Our entire Hilton Family of Hotels is truly proud of our one hotel team and four individuals who were acknowledged at the Stars of the Industry Awards,” said Dieter H. Huckestein, president – hotel operations, owned and managed for Hilton Hotels Corporation.  “It is extremely rewarding for all of us to celebrate the incredible initiative each of these team members took on during 2003 and how their hard work has been recognized with award-winning results.”

Outstanding Manager of the Year award winners for medium sized properties included Brandy Van Horn, CMP, Doubletree® Hotel Modesto in California. and William Leverenz, Embassy Suites Hotel® Seattle/Tacoma International Airport in Washington.  As director of catering, Van Horn, hosts “dream” weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and community fundraisers. Under her leadership in 2003, catering surpassed its financial goals by 128 percent. With a strong commitment to the Modesto community, Van Horn has “rescued” charitable events by organizing a group of hotel staff to step in when a volunteer team failed to report to the event.  Sharing in the award is Leverenz, who helped open the Embassy Suites Hotel Seattle in 1990. After an earthquake, he stayed in the hotel to assist the property’s chief engineer for 36 hours, repairing damage and ensuring guests’ safety. 

Outstanding Community Service Program for hotels with more than 150 rooms was awarded to the Doubletree Hotel Downtown Tulsa in Oklahoma.  The hotel hosts fundraisers on most major holidays to support a local or national charity.  Special events benefiting the American Heart Association, Easter Seals, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Big Brothers and Sisters of Green Country, Neighbor for Neighbor, and Meals on Wheels of Tulsa are preceded by regional media campaigns highlighting the various organizations and causes.  Also, each Thanksgiving Day, the hotel sponsors a special event to support The Salvation Army’s neediest local families.  Tulsa citizens, employees, and guests can each purchase a single electric candle to place in a guestroom window.  At Christmas, candles fill the 417-room hotel and an average of $3,000 is raised annually for local families.

Outstanding General Manager of the Year award winner for large properties was proudly received by Carlos Abaunza, Hilton Suites & Hilton Oakbrook Terrace in Illinois.  Abaunza reached out to other local Hilton brand hotels, coordinating sales, marketing, and revenue strategies to help increase market share for all. Nominated by his entire hotel team, Abaunza’s employees look to him as a mentor and role model who coaches them toward personal and professional advancement. In addition to serving his staff, Abaunza lends his time and talent to local students.

The prestigious Lawson A. Odde Award was presented to Gerhard "Gary" Seibert, area vice president – hotel operations, Chicago for Hilton Hotels Corporation and general manager of the Palmer House Hilton.  The Odde Award is given annually to a member of the AH&LA board of directors and is chosen by a vote of past Odde Award winners. The award recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to the lodging industry as well as maintain strong relationships between AH&LA and its member state associations. With nearly 30 years of experience with Hilton Hotels Corporation, Seibert is among the foremost authorities on hospitality, tourism and hotel operations within the hotel industry. He has served AH&LA through its various committees as well as contributed significantly to the success of the association's annual events. Among his many honors, Seibert was the recipient of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association's Most Valuable Award (1999) and the Hilton General Manager of the Year award for three consecutive years. 

About the American Hotel & Lodging Association
AH&LA is a 94-year-old dual membership association of state and city partner lodging associations throughout the United States with some 11,000 property members nationwide, representing more than 1.5 million guest rooms.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., it provides members with advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other services to ensure a positive business climate for the U.S. lodging industry.  Individual state associations provide representation at the state level and offer many additional cost-saving benefits.

About The Hilton Family of Hotels
The Hilton Family of Hotels includes many of the world’s best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations Club and Homewood Suites by Hilton.

Thomas Wingham
Hilton Hotels Corporation
Also See: Day Hospitality Group Earns 25 Top Honors for Accomplishments with Marriott Branded Hotels / April 2004
Hilton Garden Inn Names Performance Award Winners for 2003; Rita Arnold, Hilton Garden Inn Orlando East -- Florida, Receives Brand's General Manager of the Year Award / February 2004

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