MCLEAN, Va. – October 7, 2014 – Hampton Hotels, Hilton Worldwide's global brand of mid-priced Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Hampton by Hilton hotels, today announced the 25th anniversary of its industry-defining satisfaction commitment, the 100% Hampton Guarantee.
Invoked for anything from missed wake-up calls, a broken bottle of cologne, bedding too soft for a guest's tastes, or the late-night mooing of an un-milked cow, the unconditional money-back guarantee has seen not just millions of dollars in free room nights honored over the past quarter-century, but millions more saved as Hampton team members learned to "Be the Guarantee" and solve any issues before they become problems.
"When we introduced the 100% Hampton Guarantee 25 years ago, we certainly faced some skepticism, not only from others in our industry, but also from some within our own company," said Phil Cordell, global head, focused service and Hampton brand management, Hilton Worldwide. "But as time went on and our guests – and others – began to realize we truly meant it was an unconditional money-back guarantee, the idea caught on and others followed suit."
The100% Hampton Guarantee marks the gold standard of "Hamptonality," a term used to define the proactive, friendly service that Hampton hotel team members have offered guests over the past 30 years to foster a unique culture of hospitality, which includes other industry-leading initiatives, such as the first complimentary breakfast and first in-bedroom ironing boards and irons.
The 100% Hampton Guarantee came about after then-company president, Raymond E. Schultz, read an article written by Dr. Christopher Hart, a professor at Harvard University's Business College, who had worked with brands like Lands' End on their lifetime guarantee. Schultz contacted Dr. Hart to consult on the implementation of the guarantee, which was trialed in 24 properties throughout the country.
The Guarantee began in 1989 with a test group of Hampton owners who were eager to offer some type of pledge to their guests. These pioneers were concerned about abuse of the guarantee, but history has proven that is not the case.
"At that time, standard thinking not just in the hotel industry but in all service industries was that the concept was doomed to fail through abuse of the offer and lost revenue," Cordell said. "But today the 100% Hampton Guarantee is considered a customer service best practice that actually increases business rather than detracts from it."
Cordell estimates that only one percent of total revenue goes towards honoring the Guarantee, and of that one percent, only about a half of a percent could be attributed towards guests taking unfair advantage of the promise.
The original reasons for invoking the guarantee were a sign of the times, with the Hampton Inn in Reading/Wyomissing, Pa. giving a refund to a customer who requested a non-smoking room, when none were available. At other properties, old clock radios or CRT televisions did not work properly.
As time has passed, Hampton has seen its fair share of creative invocations of the Guarantee. When a Hampton team member received complaints of a constant "mooing" in the parking lot, he investigated and found a noisy cow left in its trailer and the owner's "Do Not Disturb" sign posted on the room door. Raised on a farm, the employee decided to deliver the signature Guarantee-service and found the cow had not been milked. He took the initiative to milk the cow himself; removing its discomfort, stopping the mooing, and helping all guests to have a peaceful night's sleep (cow included.)
The brand has found that most guests with complaints did not want their money back, they merely wanted the management to know about the problems. The Hampton Inn in Chester County, Pa. was asked for only 10 refunds out of about 8,500 guests – or about one percent – during the trial run in that summer of 1989.
More than just figures on a spreadsheet, Hampton's satisfaction guarantee has converted many unhappy guests into satisfied customers across the globe as Hampton team members quickly learned to honor the brand's promise by actually correcting the guests' issue – rather relying on a cash refund to make them happy.
Added Cordell, "the 100% Hampton Guarantee concept not only changed the way hotels operate, it empowered all of our team members – from the general manager to the housekeeper – to refund a guest's money if he or she was not completely satisfied with a stay. By eliminating the bureaucracy and layers of red tape, every team member can evoke the guarantee and fix any guest's issue."
Today, the Guarantee continues to be a key driver of incremental business for the brand, with about 75 percent of all hotel guests aware of the offer and about half reporting that it has some influence on their hotel choice. Those that are aware of the Guarantee are 30 percent more likely to be loyal to brand, return, and recommend it to their family and friends.
"For us, it really is all about the team members and how they embody Hamptonality," said Cordell. "And while others have introduced something similar throughout the years, the things they can't copy are our people. It's not about a money-back guarantee; it's about empowering people that have helped Hampton become the unstoppable brand with the irresistible personality that is part of our DNA."
For more information about the 100% Hampton Guarantee and to access media assets, please visit the Hampton's Global Media Center at http://news.hampton.com/.
*Based on research conducted on 2012 performance.
Hampton Hotels, including Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Hampton by Hilton, is an award-winning leader in the mid-priced hotel segment, serving value-conscious and quality-driven travelers. With over 1,900 properties totaling more than 195,000 rooms in 17 countries and territories, Hampton Hotels is part of Hilton Worldwide, a leading global hospitality company. All Hampton hotels offer a friendly service culture, defined as Hamptonality, delivered by more than 50,000 Team Members and backed by the 100% Hampton® Guarantee, reinforcing its commitment to providing excellent service to business and leisure travelers alike. High quality and consistent accommodations and amenities, such as complimentary Wi-Fi, Hampton's On the House® hot breakfast, the latest technology and innovations like multi-unit Power Cubes and the brand's signature Clean and fresh Hampton bed®, combined with numerous locations globally have made Hampton a leader in its segment and one of the fastest growing hotel brands worldwide. Please visit www.hampton.com, http://news.hampton.com or www.hamptonoffers.com for more information and connect with Hampton Hotels online at www.faceboook.com/Hampton, http://twitter.com/Hampton or www.youtube.com/Hampton.
Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and focused-service hotels. For 95 years, Hilton Worldwide has been dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences. The company's portfolio of eleven world-class global brands is comprised of more than 4,200 managed, franchised, owned and leased hotels and timeshare properties, with more than 690,000 rooms in 93 countries and territories, including Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton HHonors®. Visit news.hiltonworldwide.com more information and connect with Hilton Worldwide at www.facebook.com/hiltonworldwide, www.twitter.com/hiltonworldwide, www.youtube.com/hiltonworldwide, www.flickr.com/hiltonworldwide and www.linkedin.com/company/hilton-worldwide.
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