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The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is praising Hilton Worldwide in wake of the company's new "Stop Clicking Around" campaign, which promises exclusive discounted rates and benefits to HHonors members who book through its own channels, including approved travel agents.
"Representatives of ASTA and Hilton have recently held discussions on a variety of industry issues of mutual concern. These discussions have been productive and we are appreciative of Hilton's willingness to engage with us," ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement issued Thursday. "Hilton's recognition of the contribution the agency channel makes to Hilton's success has not gone unnoticed. ASTA applauds Hilton for this action and we look forward to continued dialogue and progress on this and other topics."
Lee Smolinski, the CEO of ASTA Premium member Palm Coast Travel echoed those sentiments, calling Hilton's campaign a "proactive move."
"Being a partner with Hilton rather than simply a supplier is important to the substance of what we bring to our shared end-customer: the consumer," Smolinski concuded in a statement.
In her own statement, Hotels & Resorts at Virtuoso managing director and ASTA Hotel Distribution Advisory committee member Karen Goldberg said "Hilton's reward and recognition of the value travel advisors bring to the table is smart and will ensure the traveler gets far more than if booked in any other way - more support, better advice, more cost and time savings - a better value to the traveler overall."
Speaking to TravelPulse last week, Hilton's Vice President Of Global Marketing Andrew Flack said the company has "always been 100 percent committed to the travel agent community."
"And we have for a long time now offered access to the same rates and the same set of HHonors-related benefits for bookings coming through those channels as through our own direct channels like Hilton.com and our call centers."
Launched on Feb. 16, Hilton's largest campaign ever aims to challenge the misconception that the best hotel deals live on third party websites by encouraging customers to book directly.
However Hilton made it clear that the perks of booking direct would be passed down to travelers who not only booked through its brand websites and call centers, but through preferred corporate travel partners and approved travel agents.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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