Acquisitions & Hotel Openings

$272 M 600-key Cleveland Convention Center Hotel, Hilton Cleveland/Downtown Breaks Ground in Ohio

CLEVELAND – April 30, 2014 - Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson were joined by Ted Ratcliff, Senior Vice President of Operations, Eastern North America, at Hilton Worldwide, and other distinguished guests this afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony to formally recognize the start of construction on the largest hotel project in downtown Cleveland.

"The start of this construction project marks another step forward in Cleveland's rebirth, and puts Ohio's largest city in an even stronger position to compete for trade show and convention business," said County Executive FitzGerald. "I am especially proud that we are creating hundreds of new jobs for hardworking families in our region, and I thank all of our public and private partners for their unprecedented collaboration in moving this project forward."

"The groundbreaking for this hotel is yet another sign that Cleveland continues to improve itself in order to provide visitors and businesses with the finest amenities," said Mayor Jackson. "World class entertainment venues, great amenities and Clevelander's welcoming attitude are the things that will keep people coming to Cleveland to work and play."

The hotel will feature a 28-story tower filled with 600 guest rooms positioned atop a fourstory podium of ballrooms, meeting space, retail space, and the lobby. The hotel will feature a rooftop bar as well as underground connections to the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2016. "Hilton Hotels & Resorts is pleased to be entering the downtown Cleveland market with a property which will play to the brand's considerable strength in managing convention center properties. The hotel's location will undoubtedly be of great advantage not only to the Cleveland Convention Center but also to the Global Center for Health Innovation," said Ted Ratcliff, Senior Vice President, Operations, Eastern North America, Hilton Worldwide.

Situated on the site of the former Cuyahoga County Administration Building, the $272 million project is expected to employ 2,800 workers on the construction job and 450 full-time jobs at the hotel.

"Hilton's brand recognition, loyalty programs and national sales teams will add to Cleveland's growing reputation as a meeting and convention destination," says David Gilbert, President & CEO of Positively Cleveland. "Bringing Hilton to Cleveland marks an unprecedented increase in the number of hotel rooms available and adds depth and variety to the city's downtown market, creating a healthy competition between all of the existing hotel brands."

The hotel was designed by Atlanta architecture firm, Cooper Cary, and is being constructed by Turner Construction Company, Ozanne Construction Company, and Van Aukin Akins Architects. Cuyahoga County and Turner Construction Company have voluntarily compiled an inclusion plan for construction to include 25% small businesses, 7% female-owned businesses, and 15% minority-owned businesses. Cuyahoga County and Turner Construction Company are also committed to meeting or exceeding residency goals for employees hired during the construction project, including 40% Cuyahoga County residency and 20% City of Cleveland residency.

For additional information on the Hilton Cleveland/Downtown hotel project, including a time-lapsed video and photos of construction, please visit: http://www.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/Cuyahoga-County-Convention-Center-Hotel-Project.aspx

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Founded in 1919 as the flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide, Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues to build upon its legacy of innovation by developing products and services to meet the needs of savvy global travelers at more than 550 hotels across six continents. Hilton is the stylish, forward-thinking global leader in hospitality with Team Members shaping experiences in which every guest feels cared for, valued and respected. Access the latest news at news.hilton.com and begin your journey at www.hilton.com or www.hilton.com/offers for the latest hotel specials. View a list of official social channels at www.hilton.com/social. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide's ten market leading brands.

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Hotel Social Media: Engage, Promote, Personalize and Reward
The evolution of social media continues its rapid advance and integration into hotel operations. No longer condemned by some traditionalists as a "passing fad" or a "nice-to-have" by skeptical accountants, it is now a fully accepted customer engagement touchpoint that must be appropriately funded and professionally managed. And companies can no longer assume that merely having a "social presence" is enough. In order to capture the attention they seek and to achieve the returns on investment they desire, companies have to prove their value to social media users who are educated, empowered, vocal and selective. And the strategies for accomplishing this are diverse and distinct. Reputations need to be monitored and maintained on travel review sites, which are quickly evolving into "real-time" networks. Customer service issues and complaints are more frequently identified and resolved in public social forums. Hotels are obliged to choose which social networks best serve their needs (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus or Twitter) and to utilize them to engage, promote, personalize and reward their existing and prospective customers. Video is becoming increasingly popular as a communication tool and therefore must be professionally rendered, and blogging is now an accepted means to promote brand identity and thought leadership. And finally, effective paid advertising and marketing campaigns need to be devised to target potential customers on social media sites. The February Hotel Business Review will examine all these critical issues and explore how some hotels are successfully utilizing social media strategies in their operations.