Hilton experiences web site booking boom

Continued strong growth in online revenue predicted for the Arabian Peninsula

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By  Sarah Gain Published  December 15, 2006

Hilton Hotels Corporation has announced that it expects more than US $2.5 billion in revenues generated worldwide from bookings on its proprietary web sites by year-end 2006. Reservations through its web sites have increased at a steady 30% year-on-year over the last five years, according to the hotel group, and we site bookings now represent 17.2% of the company’s overall distribution of bookings, making it the most dominant central delivery channel for the company. “Our brand site bookings have increased at a staggering pace since 2002 and will continue to show compounded increases through the remainder of 2006 and beyond,” said Tom Keltner, president of the Hilton Hotels Corporation’s brand performance and development group. “With its acquisition of the lodging assets of Hilton Group plc and a growing international presence, web site bookings outside of North America represent the next frontier for significant growth,” he continued. “We are in the process of implementing our online distribution strategy and enhanced features.” While the uptake of e-services such as online reservation systems in the Middle East has been somewhat cautious to date, Samantha Wood, regional marketing manager — Arabian Peninsula for Hilton Hotels, told Hotelier Middle East she is confident this acceptance will continue to grow steadily over the next 12 months. “Web site bookings may not be as big here [in the Middle East] as in other markets worldwide, such as the US and Europe, but this medium is on the rise,” she confirmed. “For the Arabian Peninsula, we have seen a 39% increase in online revenue generated directly from our brand web sites between January and September this year compared to the same period in 2005,” Wood added. “We are expecting this figure to continue to grow steadily over the next year,” she added. Hilton has made a number of enhancements to its web sites in recent months in order to make internet-based reservations an easy option for potential guests, adding more detailed hotel descriptions across all its brands, and improving the usability of the general user interface. “[These improvements] place more choice and control in the guest’s hands, making it even more convenient for them to find the right hotel accommodations and services,” said Bala Subramanian, senior VP of distribution and brand integration, Hilton Hotels Corporation. “From a business standpoint, these enhancements will enable our company to continue increasing the percentage of web site bookings across all brands.”

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