The appointment is the culmination of a pitch process that began at the start of the year (PRWeek, 9 January).
Hilton director of corporate affairs Alex Pagett said the move was designed to improve efficiency: ‘We are hoping through time that we will transfer business to PN if it is right for each hotel. The regions have their own local agency but we are now guiding them to our preferred supplier.’
He added that PN is guaranteed a place at every pitch in the group but has not been retained to ‘keep everyone on their toes’.
It is expected that the number of agencies used by Hilton will be cut dramatically over the next 18 months.
‘We are confident that PN’s network will give it an advantage and it will have a better starting point then local agencies,’ said Pagett.
The group operates 400 hotels in 80 countries and plans to open another 40 hotels, mostly in Asia, over the next 18 months. PR spend is currently £500,000 a year – expected to increase when the new hotels open.
In November, the group announced plans to open casinos in Blackpool and Birmingham to capitalise on the liberalisation of the UK’s gambling laws.
The plans rely on the Government capping the number of ‘super-casinos’ allowed in the UK.