TopVet: Thomas L. Keltner, Hilton Hotels

Thomas L. Keltner

With more than 20 years of experience in the areas of hotel development, acquisition, disposition, franchising and management, the Navy’s own Tom L. Keltner is responsible for the development activities of all Hilton Hotel brands. Tom is helping to bring Hilton to a leadership position in the industry with the application of 21st Century technology.

As Executive Vice President & President/Brand Performance & Franchise Development, he oversees brand management and performance of Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Homewood Suites by Hilton, including brand performance, quality standards, marketing, franchise support, reservations and Hilton HHonors.

On the tech front, Keltner is filling more and more rooms through sophisticated online booking technologies, a critical and strategic focus for Hilton.

"We are passionate about taking care of our guests, providing them with more choices and flexibility through effective use of technology. Being the only hospitality company utilizing a single, common technology platform across all brands and sharing real-time information across every guest touch point -- the hotel front desk, reservations, the HHonors Service Center and our brand websites -- enables us to take better care of guests at every single point of contact while ensuring their privacy," said Keltner.

This past February, for instance, Hilton said 83% of its online bookings came directly through its own brand Web sites: www.hilton.com, www.conradhotels.com, www.doubletree.com, www.embassysuites.com, www.hampton-inn.com, www.hiltongardeninn.com, and www.homewoodsuites.com.

"Until not very long ago, the airlines depended on the ignorance of their customers for their success. … For us, we’ve got to assume that our customers have perfect information, and we have to recognize that and act accordingly," he recently said at a technology conference.

Keltner previously was president of the Brand Performance and Development Group for Promus Hotel Corporation. He focused on all aspects of brand management for the Doubletree Hotels and Guest Suites, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites and Doubletree Club Hotels. This position included overall responsibility for performance, quality standards, marketing, sales, reservations and franchise support for nearly 1,350 hotels. Additionally, he directed the effort to expand development activities in underserved markets, national advertising, and sales and marketing initiatives to ensure the viability and long-term growth of the organization’s core brands. Keltner joined Promus Hotel Corporation in 1993.

Before joining Promus Hotel Corporation, he was senior vice president and chief operating officer of the franchise hotels division of Holiday Inn Worldwide in Atlanta. He also served as president and managing director of Holiday Inns International in Brussels, Belgium, and senior vice president of Holiday Inns, Inc., in Memphis, Tenn. In addition, Keltner was president of Saudi Marriott Company, a division of Marriott Corporation, and was a management consultant with Cresap, McCormick and Paget, Inc.

Keltner received a master’s degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio University. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service.

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