Hilton Tries to Entice Planners to Book Early

By Matt Swenson, January 22, 2016

With group hotel rates expected to rise by about 5 percent this year, Hilton Worldwide stands to benefit as much as any company from that trend. But rather than cash in the seller’s market, and perhaps sensing some growing resentment from the buyers it covets, Hilton is offering some respite to planners who act quickly.

Through the end of January, the hotel chain is attempting to woo event professionals with its Great Rates and Rebates promotion. Rates start at $99 and rebates go up to 5 percent for planners willing to act fast.

“While attracting customers is a focus for us, we are putting more emphasis on serving as our customers’ trusted partner and helping them focus on the experience as well as the budget,” says Andrew Flack, Hilton’s vice president of global marketing.

Hilton’s olive branch also comes at a good time. Last November, the company tested a more restrictive cancellation policy across 20 of its properties, charging $50 when a reservation was cancelled any time after it was made. Not surprisingly, Hilton caught some flack from planners. Previous media reports indicated the trial would run into early 2016, but Hilton said in a release that the experiment is already over and it is collecting data from the test.

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