At the 2013 Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, Hilton Worldwide announced that it was launching Connect at Hilton Worldwide. “The new portal site, built from the company’s belief in face-to-face communications, is designed to provide the tools and resources meeting professionals value,” said Mark Komine, senior vice president and head of sales for the Americas, at a press briefing. “We wanted to support our meeting partners in the challenges they face, from sourcing and procurement to becoming a strategic partner in their organizations,” added Larry Luteran, senior vice president of group sales and industry relations for Hilton Worldwide.

One key feature of the site is Connect+, a hotel search engine that connects planners to 115 of the largest hotels in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio in the Americas; to be included, the hotel must be located in a destination city, have either 450-plus rooms or 40,000 square feet of meeting space, and offer a high level of meeting support services. Among the hotels featured in Connect+ are Hilton Anatole in Dallas, the Boca Raton Resort Club in Florida, and the Conrad New York in New York City.

The site also includes Meetings Simplified, a service that offers bundled hotel and services packages with per-person pricing designed for smaller groups; and Wish You Were Here, where meeting planners can win up to one million Bonus Hilton HHonors Points for bookings made between July 25 and September 15, 2013.

Luteran and Komine added that the site is a work in progress, and they are actively seeking feedback on how to make the site more valuable for planners. “Our vision is for it to be a tool planners want to plug into regularly,” said Luteran. “We want to provide what planners need to be more efficient and effective at their jobs."