Purpose At Work: Hilton Revives Room 702 to Launch an Impactful Future
While the Hilton brand has a founding legacy, sustainability goals and community impact work, the company is now leveraging its heritage to bring its purpose to life through a digital video series called Room 702.
Room 702 highlights Hilton team members living up to the legacy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Bed-In for Peace’ at the Hilton Hotel Amsterdam in 1969. While other hotels turned the couple away, Hilton embraced them because founder Conrad Hilton believed that “travel could bring people together and spread peace & understanding” around the world.
The first episode stars Serby Castro, a suite attendant in Orlando Florida who is deeply committed to Hilton’s partnership with Clean the World — an organization that recycles soap to have a huge effect on reducing child mortality rates in a place like Castro’s home country of the Dominican Republic. Another episode spotlights a Syrian refugee, Ismaeil Dawod, whose strength and work ethic as an apprentice inspired team members at Hilton Frankfurt.
What can other companies learn from Hilton’s purposeful storytelling and impact?
1. Ground your purpose and storytelling in what is unique and defensible to the brand.
Each Room 702 opens with a brief recap of Conrad Hilton’s dedication to international travel as a means to lasting global impact, as well as Lennon and Ono’s historic call for peace. Further, this dedication is backed up by the brand’s thought leadership. The Hilton Effect and its foundation have quantified the positive results the company has had over its 100-year history of innovating business travel and transforming communities that no other hotels would serve.
With history and proof points supporting the idea that travel changes the world for the better, Room 702 is both authentic to the Hilton brand and a celebration of the stories that continue to keep its legacy alive with guests, employees, the industry and the world at large.
2. Spotlight and reward the passion of team members.
Room 702 is more than a one-off digital video series — it’s an annual award that Hilton gives to remarkable individuals within their organization. Spoiler alert: Hilton and ‘Clean America’ named a soap recycling facility in honor of an employee, Serby Castro, and provided another employee, Ismaeil Dawod, with a free ride to a prestigious hospitality school.
By providing tangible rewards and featuring the real life stories of employees, as well as how they moved their co-workers each year, Hilton is fostering a positive culture that recognizes team members for bringing purpose to life. Room 702 keeps this attitude alive year-over-year and inspires team members to not only act purposefully themselves, but to lift each other up.
3. Point to the future.
While Room 702 is about the brand’s history, Hilton uses the series to point toward its future. That same mindset of planning for our shared future informs its sustainability platform and 2030 targets: Travel with Purpose.
Through Travel with Purpose, Hilton will Redefine Sustainable Travel across its operations, communities, and supply chain with ambitious 2030 goals to double its social impact investments and cut its environmental footprint in half. By calling on all its stakeholders to ‘Travel with Purpose’, Hilton is reorienting itself toward its envisioned future state. As Christopher Nassetta, President & CEO of Hilton, says, “Hilton was founded on the noble premise that travel can make the world a better place, and 100 years into our journey, this premise still guides us today.”
The result of such purposeful storytelling and impact is that Hilton was named Most JUST in their industry by Forbes & JUST Capital and ranked 2nd on Forbes’ World’s Best Regarded Companies list in addition to many other accolades and firsts. Looking forward, Room 702 serves as a living library of meaningful content that will rally stakeholders both inside and outside of the company to meet their 2030 goals and that will keep the Hilton legacy and purpose alive to build its growth, culture and impact.