“Let me make it 100 percent perfectly clear that we have no intention to do anything on the travel agency side,” said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Hotels & Resorts, at this week’s American Society of Travel Advisor’s (ASTA) Global Conference when asked about commission cuts.
Addressing a crowd of about 500 travel advisors at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood Beach, FL, Nassetta explained the decision behind the group commission cuts that occurred last year. “It’s complicated,” he said. Adding that, “We’re trying to balance the interest of a whole bunch of different stakeholders—our customers, our internal team, our different intermediators, and the owners.” He noted that all the decisions they make are done through the lens of delivering a great experience for the customer. However, Nassetta added, “We’re always trying to balance all those stakeholders…we were trying to rebalance those a little more to make sure that our stakeholders were all being treated fairly.”
“You guys are a critical and important part of the curation process of experiences for our customer.” — Chris Nassetta, President & CEO of Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Nassetta also stated that Hilton is “absolutely committed to working with our third-party intermediaries on the group side.” Adding that the company has strong relationships with many of these intermediaries, and they are “Doing more and more business and we will absolutely make sure that they are being fairly valued. Period end of story. We are absolutely committed to expanding those relationships…but we have to do it in the context of balancing all these stakeholders.” He added that, “What I do is not easy because you can’t make every body happy all the time.”
However, when it comes to travel advisors, he let the crowd know they have no intentions of cutting back on commissions.
Going forward he noted, “I see it as the way it works now is our intention for the way it works in the future.” Adding that the reason for this is that travel advisors play a very key role for the brand and their guests’ experiences.
“You guys are a critical and important part of the curation process of experiences for our customer,” said Nassetta. “You add a lot of value, and we think that the economics of that equation are fair and we have no intention of changing that.”
Creating the right experience for each of their guests “starts with the right setting, with matching a customer’s needs with one of our products,” he noted. “And, you guys are such an instrumental part of that journey,” said Nassetta.