ANAHEIM, Calif. / Oct. 26, 2000—Stephen F. Bollenbach, president and chief executive officer of Hilton Hotels Corp., today addressed the Travel Industry Association’s (TIA) Marketing Forum as the gathering’s keynote speaker at the Disneyland Hotel.
Challenging the group to ensure the continued satisfaction of customers, Bollenbach offered the audience of several hundred a ``top ten’’ list for continuing success in the travel industry, and maintaining strong levels of business.
“We’re in this incredible industry where business is really booming, and which is a major economic and employment force throughout the United States and the world,’’ Bollenbach said, citing the $3.5 trillion spent annually by consumers on worldwide travel, and the fact that one of every 12 people in the world are employed directly or indirectly by the travel and tourism industry. ``But the biggest mistake any of us can make is to rest on our past successes and become complacent.”
To further strengthen the travel industry, and maximize the success of the companies and organizations that make up the industry, Bollenbach offered a ``Top Ten’’ list of priorities:
10. Invest in technology. “Those who do will have a serious leg up on the competition.”
9. Anticipate outside influences such as currency fluctuations, political events and the cost of natural resources. “We can’t control these events, but we can move quickly to implement programs to mitigate the particular issue.”
8. Eliminate artificial barriers that impede travel. “We must ensure the free flow of tourism to and from the United States.”
7. Provide the best and most innovative products and services. “Today’s consumer wants—and deserves—more.”
6. Support aggressive and savvy marketing. “Our industry must anticipate, understand, and act on the desires and wants of our customers.”
5. Encourage strategic and economically beneficial consolidation. “Bigger companies can afford the significant expenditures and economies of scale required to serve the customer.”
4. Aggressively and cohesively promote travel to the United States. “Our country’s diversity is our strength.”
3. Attract and retain good people. “Everything is meaningless without dedicated, talented people.”
2. Invest in training and education for employees. “Give them the skills they need to advance in our companies and in this industry.”
1. Keep the customer number one. “We are a service industry and we exist to serve the customers.”
``Earning profits—which all public companies must do for their shareholders—and meeting customer expectations are not mutually exclusive,’’ concluded Bollenbach. ``In fact, each is a function of the other. By making sure we attend to our customers, we will reap the benefits, and achieve results for our shareholders, our employees, our business partners and our communities. Keep the customer number one and we keep our industry number one.’’
Hilton Hotels Corp. is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 1,800 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world’s best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Harrison Conference Centers, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Red Lion Hotels & Inns and Conrad International.