as Bookings on Its Brand Websites Exceed
Call Center Volumes During Month of October
|BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Nov. 29, 2004 -- Hilton
Hotels Corporation (NYSE:HLT) has announced that bookings on its proprietary
brand websites during October 2004 exceeded call center bookings from 800
numbers for that month, representing a company first since the advent of
website reservations. During October, brand.com sites overall reported
more than 972,000 room nights, whereas approximately 863,000 room nights
were booked from 800 numbers through the 16 Hilton Family call centers
worldwide. The company also has experienced record-breaking revenues month
after month through its brand sites.
The Hilton Family of Hotels brand.com sites include: hilton.com, conradhotels.com, doubletree.com, embassysuites.com, hampton-inn.com, hiltongardeninn.com, hgvc.com and homewoodsuites.com.
"This milestone signifies our ability to drive bookings to our proprietary channels and reflects powerful brand recognition among consumers," said Tom Keltner, president - brand performance and development group for Hilton Hotels Corporation. "Currently with more than 13 percent of all reservations being booked through brand.com -- a 30 percent increase over last year -- we expect that figure to increase to 15 percent of all reservations by next year. Meanwhile, bookings on third-party sites, at approximately 2.5 percent of all bookings, decreased 3 percent since last year."
A trend it expects will continue, the company attributes the increase in brand.com bookings to the following consumer benefits:
"Stronger online bookings translate to cost efficiencies which are then plowed back into technology improvements that benefit all of our distribution channels," continued Keltner. "Additionally, increased consumer awareness of the brand websites for the Hilton Family of Hotels has resulted in more cross-brand bookings, which produces incremental business and higher market share for our hotels and increased revenue for our owners."
Despite declining 800-number bookings through the call centers, Hilton Reservations Worldwide continues to report unprecedented conversion of calls to booked reservations -- a 10-point increase in 2004 over 2001. Additionally, the call centers serve a critical function following the consolidation of all full-service individual hotel reservations into the centralized call centers. Total call center bookings year-to-date 2004, including 800 and consolidated hotels, are up 8 percent over 2003. Enhanced technology has enabled the call center agents to book reservations more efficiently with increased hotel and general information at their fingertips. In fact, the cost per call has stayed flat even in light of declining 800 calls, and remains among the lowest in the travel industry.
"There always will be a segment of the traveling community that prefers to talk with a friendly customer service agent, which is why our reservations centers will continue to play a critical role in our distribution strategy," continued Keltner.
Hilton Hotels Corporation is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,200 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties.
Hilton Hotels Corporation
|Also See:||Hilton Brand Websites Account for 10.4% of Total Reservations; Averages 15,000 Daily Online Reservations in June 2003 / July 2003|
|Hilton Hotels Corporation Initiates Electronic and Online Distribution Strategy; Rate Integrity a Cornerstone of Brand Integrity / April 2003|