Hilton Rolls Out Phase 1 of Its Personalized Members Program

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Hilton Hotels Corp., Beverly Hills, CA, said yesterday that it has completed the first phase of a Web personalization program for its Hilton HHonors program, the hotel chain's award-winning guest rewards program.


When the program's 6 million members log onto the www.hhonors.com Web site to check account balances or access program information about rewards, a greeting appears with targeted content about Hilton and its partners on the top portion of the screen.


"Now, Hilton can drive personalized messages to members that are coming across their Web site," said Bryan Kennedy, vice president of technology at Epsilon, Burlington, MA, the database marketing services provider that is running this program for Hilton. "This is ideal for cross-sell, upsell opportunities as well as for reinforcing recognition and valuing customers for their uniqueness."


Hilton formed a relationship with Epsilon in 1997 when the company switched Hilton's mainframe-based data warehouse to a client-server system. The tool Epsilon uses for Web personalization, called E•one, which is linked into the company's client-server system, allows Hilton to write specific rules about what types of members are going to get what kinds of messages.


"The idea is you look at behaviors that are predictive or important from a transactional standpoint, or you look at behaviors that you would like to reinforce, and regardless of what kind of messaging content you come up with, you can target that to be personalized down to an individual level when the member comes to the site," Kennedy said.


Hilton HHonors members earn points when staying at any of the more than 500 participating Hilton and Conrad International hotels around the world, when using a co-branded credit card Hilton has with American Express or when purchasing products and services from companies Hilton has partnerships with, including E*Trade, Countrywide Home Loans and AT&T. Members can receive miles for trips on 42 major airlines.


With www.hhonors.com, customers can manage accounts across the Web and check the last 18 months worth of account activity, including stay details, tier status for the four different levels of membership in the program, point and mileage bonuses, partner earnings and reward redemption history. Members also can redeem points online.


Previously, customers could only check current membership level, basic information on the last three hotel stays and total point balance.


"This was good information, but it was fairly limited," said Mary Beth Parks, vice president of marketing at Hilton HHonors Worldwide.


"One of the things that has been an outgrowth of moving toward a client-sever platform and then also working with Epsilon is being able to greatly expand the information that customers can have online."


Parks said that right now this program will not interfere with the company's traditional direct mail programs, which include targeted monthly membership statements, ad hoc direct mailing pieces surrounding promotions and newsletters. Currently, Brierley & Partners, Dallas, handles the direct campaigns.
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