Marketing director at La Senza, asks: More than ever, we are finding that we do business with less formality. How has Hilton, renowned for being a business hotel chain, changed and responded to this shift?
Paul Brown (PB) We want to make sure in our hotels – and it does differ by brand, but particularly for the Hilton brand – that any service is adaptable to what the customer wants. It used to be common practice that when somebody comes into the door, you immediately grab their bag and try to take it away from them and take it to the room. There are a lot of travellers that do not want that to happen, and so we are now training employees on how to recognise that.
We are focusing on “meeting unanticipated needs”. In most cases customers are looking for you to understand and recognise what they need and not force anything on them.
Rebecca Harwood Lincoln
Global travel retail manager at Polaroid Eyewear, asks: How do you ensure a consistent brand experience for your customers when the Hilton hotel brands are represented in over 80 countries worldwide?
PB The further you move down the price spectrum, the more standardised the products become in a market. Waldorf Astorias will look very different, as will Conrads and Hiltons. The more “luxury” you are, the more it should be about the environment that you are in, but we do have certain standards that need to be met in hotels regardless of where they are.
The challenge with Waldorf Astoria for us is continuing to find the core, the essence of the New York property and then make sure that that is appropriately translated around the world – but not be so literal about it that it looks like we are trying to put the Waldorf Astoria, New York in Shanghai.
When you move into the mid-market, you move into a more prototypical world. But we do not stamp a standard one-size-fits-all view around the world. Once we have defined that ideal product within a country, we try to keep it as standardised as possible.