Hilton Worldwide is taking on third-party sites by launching a new campaign to increase bookings directly via Hilton brand websites. Members of the Hilton HHonors loyalty program will receive exclusive discounted room rates, along with free Wi-Fi, by booking through direct channels, which include the websites, Hilton's reservation call centers or the HHonors app. Members also can receive the discounted rates and benefits by booking via preferred corporate travel partners or approved travel agents.
The discounted room rates that are part of the new "Stop Clicking Around" campaign represent the only truly new perk; the free Wi-Fi, Hilton HHonors points, mobile check-in, mobile room selection and Digital Key (at participating hotels) are benefits that previously were available to loyalty members who booked via those direct channels.
"Our customers don't need to worry about sorting through a dizzying array of websites, enduring hundreds of clicks and wasting hours of time," said Geraldine Calpin, chief marketing officer at Hilton Worldwide. "They can be assured that booking a room directly with us at any of our hotels doesn't require extensive searching and price checking to find the best prices online."
The campaign is a direct response to the mounting pressure and fees hotel companies are seeing from online travel agencies, which some hotel execs have pointed to as a significant factor in the mergers and general consolidation we're seeing in the industry.
According to a Hilton spokesperson, the new HHonors discount is similar to other promotions or packages, in that negotiated group rates could be higher or lower than those associated with the newly announced rate perk. In other words, attendees who are Hilton HHonors members could potentially receive a better rate and additional benefits by booking directly with the hotel, rather than via the negotiated room block.