Hilton's Nassetta promises travel advisors: No further cuts to commissions are planned

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CBS reporter Wendy Gillette interviews Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta during the ASTA Global Convention 2019.
CBS reporter Wendy Gillette interviews Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta during the ASTA Global Convention 2019. Photo Credit: TW photo by Jamie Biesiada

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A little more than a year after Hilton cut commissions on group sales like some of its competitors did, president and CEO Chris Nassetta said the company has no plans for further changes to its commission structure.

"You guys are a critical and important piece of the curation process, of the experience for our customer," Nassetta told travel advisors on Monday during the ASTA Global Convention at the Diplomat Beach Resort here. "You add a lot of value, and we think the economics of that equation are fair."

The Hilton chief was interviewed at the event by CBS News reporter Wendy Gillette.

Group sales are "complicated," Nassetta said, because Hilton finds itself trying to strike a balance between a number of stakeholders: customers; its internal sales force; intermediaries like travel advisors; and hotel owners. He said Hilton remains committed to working with intermediaries on the group side and is working to deepen and expand its strongest relationships.

"We are absolutely committed to expanding those relationships, but we have to do it in the context of balancing all the needs of all these stakeholders," he said.

But, he added, "We have no intention to do anything on the transient side."

Asked by Gillette what the future of commission payments looks like, Nassetta said it will mirror today, emphasizing the value advisors bring to the equation.

He called advisors a "critical component" of matching travelers to the right brands and destinations.

"With a certain type of customer, we cannot do it without you," he said.

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