6 years ago

ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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14 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Patricia Page-Champion Senior Vice President & Commercial Director EMEA for Hilton Worldwide The Power of a Brand Hilton Hotels Worldwide leverages ITB Berlin to promote an exceptional range of properties Having recently announced the landmark opening of a Hilton Hotel in Chad - which represents their 100th country - ITB Berlin News spoke to Patricia Page-Champion, Senior Vice President & Commercial Director EMEA for Hilton Worldwide, about the company’s ongoing status as a brand-leader. I am delighted to be at ITB Berlin, showcasing all of our 13 brands. We had a fantastic year in 2015 - we had one hotel opening every day last year across our global network, and we are looking to open one hotel in EMEA every week for the next two years. It’s a key message for us about how proud we are of all our brands. Also, in the last year we’ve developed the number one travel app, beating all our competitors. We’ve got a 4.5 star rating, beating not just other hotel brands but online travel agencies as well. With the app we’re really allowing customers the freedom of choice. Not only can you choose your room on the app, you can look at a map of the hotel and see where your room is going to be. Our regular customers now have a list of favourite rooms they use: it gives the customer the power of choice. The app allows you to check-in online. Last year 10 million people checked in online with Hilton. In the USA, we have taken it a step further: customers can go straight to their room, bypassing reception; the phone becomes their room key. In January alone 18,000 people walked into their hotel bedroom with this app! Our biggest campaign in our 97-year history is “Stop Clicking Around” - we’re really proud of that. It says to our customers if they book directly with us they get the best rate, free Wi-Fi and all the facilities. We are focusing on keeping ahead of digital technology. And it’s not just about keeping existing Hilton customers - it is definitely attracting new people. In January every 10 seconds someone downloaded our app. Customers challenge us to be innovative, and we develop our technology with them at the centre of everything. In such a fluid and growing industry, how does a brand like Hilton maintain its status? We welcome competition! The challenge is keeping yourself relevant, listening to customers, and acting on their feedback. We can’t be complacent. We have one of the most well-known, if not THE best-known, hotel company in the world and we’re proud of that. And that pride of the staff carries through to how we welcome our customers. Are there any new properties you’re particularly excited about? Our new hotel at Schiphol Airport is an amazing building, you can see it as you land on the ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW 15 WE ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF HOSPITALITY - YOU HAVE TO HAVE THAT IN YOUR HEART TO BE SUCCESSFUL. Hilton Schipol runway. It’s modern and innovative. We’re finding people are visiting just for the restaurant - the chef has sourced local bread, baked especially. Our philosophy is about trying to link that up - people coming for meetings, staying for leisure. Hilton Bournemouth is amazing - modern, in tune with the market, in tune with the location. We are doing different things with our big new properties, like Hilton Bankside in London too - a brilliant use of the space. How are Hilton’s MICE and business sectors evolving, in the current global climate? Meetings: that’s our bread and butter. People still want to meet face to face. We did some market research last year and found that 91% of people felt that scheduled meetings made a difference to their business. There’s lots of competition - not just other hotels, there are plenty of venues with different offerings, so we’ve got to stay relevant. It’s not just about the oldfashioned round table for ten and a powerpoint presentation either; that’s not what people want today. What we do best is listen to what the customer wants and offer an innovative solution. We have 92,000sq m of space across EMEA from big event hotels like the Conrad Dubai or the Hilton Prague. We are not immune to global security fears, but Hilton take the safety of our team members and customers and their property very seriously. We’re in 100 countries, 4,600 hotels, so we have different options depending on what people are comfortable with, and where they want to travel. There are now 13 brands under the Hilton umbrella - is there a danger that could dilute the brand? We’ve developed these new brands organically, strategically, over time - for example the DoubleTree or the Hilton Garden Inn - we’ve now got over 100 hotels under those brands. We’ve done that purposefully, allowing the customer to understand what the brand is. DoubleTree is amazing - we’ve got 40 hotels in London and 11 of those are DoubleTree. Customers love them. The DoubleTree Tower Of London has a fantastic sky bar, it’s a different offering to a Hilton. It’s about allowing the customer to understand what the brand is offering, under the Hilton umbrella. We’re not rushing out brands every day - it’s a purposeful approach. Why do you personally enjoy working in the Hotel Industry? Well you’re speaking to me on International Women’s Day - which is great day! I’ve been with Hilton 16 years, 30 years in the industry this year. The reason I stay is because the company is interested in people - their philosophy is about you, driving your own development with their support. I started at the Hilton in Heathrow, I’ve worked in regional roles, corporate roles, and I am proud to head up commercial services in EMEA with 405 hotels - with sales, marketing, e-commerce, revenue management, loyalty and partnerships - we feel like it’s a family at Hilton. Look at our sales force - the average tenure in Sales is over 12 years. People come to Hilton and stay because they feel loyal to it. We want to continue to have a pure brand, and continue to develop people to be the best. Personally, I went to hotel school. I’ve worked in every part of a hotel - cleaning rooms, maintenance, kitchens, front desk, F&B, I can flambé at a table - all of that! And when I found the commercial area I absolutely loved it. Revenue Management didn’t even exist when I joined Hilton… when I first worked as a Reservations Manager in London the strategy was coloured dots on the wall calendar! Today it’s an Uber-complex system - we run revenue WE’VE DEVELOPED THESE NEW BRANDS ORGANICALLY, STRATEGICALLY, OVER TIME management centres now where hundreds of our hotels are managed remotely by specialists. The pace of technology and change is massive - you’ve got to keep up with that to keep ahead. The magic of the trade is that I am now in this position having been immersed in the hotel industry my whole life. We are in the business of hospitality - you have to have that in your heart to be successful. Hall 9 / Stand 316 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

ITB Berlin News