Chapter 7 / Electronic Business Systems ● 215
R EAL WORLD
Hilton Hotels Corporation:
D ata-Driven Hospitality
ilton Hotels Corporation has learned that customers
are more satisﬁed when they have a problem and the
hotel staff takes care of it than if the stay goes ﬂawlessly. Giving hotel staff the information to make critical recoveries is the reason Hilton, during one of the industry’s worst downturns in decades, piled $50 million into a custombuilt customer relationship management (CRM) information system that has been integrated to cover 22 million guests in every property across the eight brands that Hilton owns. “The hospitality industry is a people business,” says CIO Tim
Harvey. “It doesn’t do any good to have great customer information that’s only in the reservations system and available to the call center. We need to have it common across all systems.” Hilton is putting its CRM system, called OnQ, to the
test in a high-stakes expansion program. As the industry regains momentum, Hilton is opening an estimated 275 hotels by the end of 2005. OnQ is the IT centerpiece of a 2-yearold Hilton CRM strategy, ofﬁcially known as “Customers really matter.” The strategy is pinned on the idea that
employees with a clearer idea of who customers are and what
their past Hilton experiences have been can engineer constant improvement.
There are plenty of risks in the strategy. For one, Hilton
needs to present its deep customer histories clearly enough
that employees at the front desks, where turnover averages
more than 100 percent a year, can put it to use. And Hilton is trying to use the integrated information system to build loyalty with customers across an incredibly diverse mix of eight hotel brands—so the same customer is recognized checking
into a $79 room at Hampton Inn in Davenport, Iowa, or a
$540 suite at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu.
The risk Harvey and his...