Hilton Reservations Worldwide, which was the first central reservations center in the hotel industry, marks its 50th anniversary today. Since its inception, HRW has had an enormous impact on the growth of Hilton Hotels Corporation and Hilton International Corporation by shifting the task of booking reservations from operators at individual hotels to sophisticated call centers and Web sites that process reservations for Hilton Family hotels around the world.
Today, travelers book more than 1,600,000 reservations per month via HRW at more than 2,700 Hilton Family properties around the world. HRW employs 1,800 reservations specialists in 12 call centers around the world and features some of the most easily recognizable phone numbers and Web sites in the industry.
“Hilton Reservations Worldwide was the very first central reservations center in the industry, and continues to be the leader by providing our guests with more choice and convenience,” said Sam Perry, president of HRW. “As the central point of contact for booking Hilton Family hotels globally, HRW has played a vital role in building customer loyalty and satisfaction.”
When Conrad Hilton bought the Statler Hotel Company in 1954, he foresaw the need for a centralized reservations processing center that would enable guests to call one number and have access to many hotels. When HRW opened in 1955, it was known as HILCRON and utilized a staff of eight to process reservations for 28 Hilton hotels. The “Availability Board” measured 30’ by 6’ and listed room availability for a three-month period. Reservations agents processed 6,000 reservations in May 1955.
HRW today is available via the Web or telephone, and processes reservations for every brand operated by Hilton Hotels Corporation and Hilton International, including Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Scandic. HRW is jointly owned by Hilton Hotels Corporation, which owns, manages and franchises Hilton Family properties in the USA, and Hilton International, which oversees properties outside of the USA.
HRW provides sales and service to guests in 25 languages: English, Swedish, Japanese, Arabic, German, Finnish, Italian, Cantonese, Portuguese, French, Hindu, Spanish, Mandarin, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew, Malaysian, Korean, Thai, Urdu, Turkish, Greek, Estonian and Russian.
In October of 2004, HRW reached a new milestone when it announced that bookings on Hilton Family proprietary brand Web sites exceeded call center bookings from 800 numbers for the first time, representing a company first since the advent of Web site reservations. Meanwhile, despite increasing utilization of online booking channels over the call centers, HRW continues to report unprecedented conversion of calls to booked reservations, citing a 10-point increase in 2004 over 2001. HRW call conversion rates are higher than they have ever been in its 50-year history, and are recognized as the highest in the industry.
State-of-the-art call centers, and a focus on productivity, quality and customer service has enabled HRW to expand its services and provide even more value to its constituent hotels. Over the past several years individual hotels have begun “outsourcing” their in-house reservations to HRW. These hotels have eliminated their in-house reservations staff, and have achieved lower costs, higher conversion rates, lower abandoned calls, and better overall customer service. Today HRW handles “in-house” reservations for over 580 hotels around the world, with the number growing each month.
“Our team members have generated a staggering $50 billion of revenues for Hilton Family hotels over the past 50 years. With leading-edge reservations technology, highly trained and dedicated team members, and a commitment to excellent service, the future of Hilton Reservations Worldwide looks bright and the potential for growth is unlimited,” said Perry.