How Hilton Got So Big

Chris Nassetta Hilton CEO skift global forum SGF23

Skift Take

Today’s podcast looks at Hilton’s ascent, Maui’s tourism pitch, and Breeze’s new loyalty program.

Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, March 27. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Hilton has built the largest pipeline of hotels in its history, an achievement CEO Chris Nassetta attributed to the power of the group’s brands. Nassetta touched on Hilton’s pipeline growth and more in an interview with Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill. 

Hilton has also seen membership growth in its loyalty program surpass that of its rivals in the last five years. Nassetta cited partnerships Hilton has entered into and improvements in the program’s app as reasons for the membership boom. He also addressed Hilton’s work to reduce carbon emissions in its franchised hotels. 

Next, Breeze Airways announced it’s launching a co-branded credit card and re-branded loyalty program, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. 

Chief Commercial Officer Lukas Johnson said Breeze was eager to launch the co-branded credit card as part of its effort to revamp its loyalty program. The credit card, in partnership with Barclays, would allow customers to earn 10 times the points for checked baggage and premium seating, among other services. Johnson said he was confident Breeze could attract enough sign-ups for the card. 

Meanwhile, Breeze’s loyalty program will be known as “Breezy Rewards” instead of “BreezePoints.”

Finally, Hawaiian officials recently launched a marketing campaign to reassure travelers that all of Maui is ready for visitors following last August’s wildfires, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

The campaign is called Mākaukau Maui, which means “Maui is Ready,” and it’s part of efforts to attract tourists amid the island’s slow recovery. Visitor spending in Maui fell 19% in January 2024 from the previous year. Maui lost an estimated $120 million in revenue.

In addition, Maui is facing fierce competition from other sun-and-sea destinations looking to lure American tourists. 

Producer/Presenter: Jose Marmolejos

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