Hilton Hotels Corporation's new disclosure policy created a furor among meeting planners when it was announced at January's Professional Convention Management Association meeting. The policy was designed to inform attendees when a hotel paid any fees or commissions to a third party, such as a housing vendor, or paid a rebate back to the association. When the directive was first announced, planners were told that a stamp informing attendees that such fees had been paid would be placed on guest folios--and some planners were incensed, declaring that it was up to the association, not the hotel, whether to disclose those fees to attendees. (See Are Housing Fees Being Abused? page 24, AM February.)
But the actual disclosure policy is much less volatile. Instead of appearing prominently on attendees' folios, the information is in the guest services directory. The one-paragraph item informs attendees that Hilton may have paid rebates, commissions, or other payments to their association or to persons the association employed, and directs attendees to check with their association for complete details.
Is the change in placement a response to planners' negative responses to the disclosure policy? "Not really," says Brian Stevens, vice president of sales and marketing, Hilton Hotels Corporation. The decision was made, he says, because "it slows down the check-in process to have something on the folio."
Hiltonalso include a clause stating that associations will disclose fees to their members. The policy was designed to protect Hilton from possible legal problems resulting from non-disclosure.