Hilton Hotels: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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The last thing a loyal customer deserves is an excuse. Amid the myriad loyalty programs in the hospitality industry, caveats are as common as consumer cynicism. That provided an opportunity for Hilton Hotels Corp.

Offers in the hotel industry have been "a smoke-and-mirrors game," says Adam Burke, senior VP-customer loyalty at Hilton. His company has come out clearly with a simple, powerful message of "No blackout dates." The feature, launched last January, allows members of the Hilton HHonors program to redeem points whenever a standard room is available.

Marketing support ranged from e-mail and a home-page redesign to print and outdoor ads as part of its "Connections" campaign.

The plan has paid off. The Hilton loyalty program watched redemptions jump 35% in February, the month following the effort's debut, compared with the same period in 2007. For the year to date, redemptions have grown 18%.
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