Hilton expects record online revenue

Hilton Hotels Corporation expects more than $2.5 billion in revenues generated from bookings on its proprietary websites for the full-year 2006 compared to $709 million five years ago, in 2002.
Bookings through its websites have increased at a steady 30 percent year over year since 2002, and accelerated to a 39 percent increase in the third quarter of 2006 versus the third quarter of 2005. This represents a 60 percent increase in revenues and a 43 percent increase in room nights for third quarter 2006 vs. prior year, according to the company.

It further shared that website bookings currently represent 17.2 percent of the company’s overall distribution of bookings, compared with 9.1 percent in 2002, making it the most dominant central delivery channel for the company. In contrast, contribution of third-party online agencies has remained flat at three percent of reservations, and now represents just 15 percent of the company’s Internet business.

Websites contributing to the record-breaking increases in bookings include: www.hilton.com, www.conradhotels.com, www.doubletree.com, www.embassysuites.com, www.hamptoninn.com, www.hiltongardeninn.com, www.hgvc.com, www.homewoodsuites.com and www.scandichotels.com.

Acknowledging that company’s brand site bookings have increased at a staggering pace since 2002, Tom Keltner, president - brand performance and development group, Hilton Hotels Corporation said. “With its acquisition of the lodging assets of Hilton Group plc and a growing international presence, website bookings outside of North America represent the next frontier for significant growth, where we are in the process of implementing our successful online distribution strategy and enhanced features.”

Bala Subramanian, senior vice president - distribution and brand integration for Hilton Hotels Corporation referred to Hilton Family of Hotels making numerous enhancements to its websites.

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“From a business standpoint, these enhancements will enable our company to continue increasing the percentage of website bookings across all of its brands. Already, our Hilton Family of Hotels websites collectively rank among some of the largest revenue-generating commercial/retail sites in the world, excluding those that generate advertising revenue,” said Subramanian.

The following online booking features have been introduced or enhanced within the past 18 months:

- e-Events is an industry first small group product that enables customers to go online and book anywhere from five to 25 Guest Rooms at any Hilton Family hotel.

- Calendaring is another first in the hotel industry, which enables customers with flexible travel dates to view at-a-glance a single hotel’s best available rates and discounted advance purchase rates for their preferred length of stay across a 31-day span, and mix and match options that work best for their schedule.

- Compare/Travel Cart features allow customers the option to compare hotels side by side, without the hassle of jumping from one page to the other, and the ability to store hotels in a “shopping cart” for future access.

- eCheck-in allows Gold and Diamond Hilton HHonors members the convenience of checking in on the web from two to 36 hours prior to their arrival regardless of method of reservation.

- Travel Agent Portal where any travel agent planning a trip can easily find all the hotel information they need including images/virtual tours, access the full-array of available Hilton Family products, as well as other convenient resources and agent services.

- Weddings Portal offers an easy and uniquely tailored experience for wedding planners and their guests, available on each of the Hilton Family of Hotels Websites.
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