What Hilton’s CMO Is Doing to Keep the 100-Year-Old Brand Fresh

Kellyn Smith Kenny is finding new ways to keep customer experience top of mind

Editor: Josh Rios

Kellyn Smith Kenny is comfortable with disruption. It’s that disruption, she told us when we chatted at Brandweek in Palm Springs, Calif., that inspires marketers to “innovate in service of the customer.”

So what’s top of mind for the global CMO of Hilton? All the ways in which its brands can build an emotional bond with consumers—and using data and tools like machine learning to do it. She noted that many of Hilton’s consumers are forthcoming with their preferences in exchange for a highly personalized experience.

“How can I make sure that the next time I show up at a Hilton… that [it] knows my preference is a 72-degree room and that I want my Netflix teed up and ready to go?” Kenny said.

The company is also taking its lead from guests and being mindful of those consumers who choose to “fly under the radar.” And with Hilton testing connected rooms—allowing guests to adjust things like lights, locks, and temperature from their phones—personalization is in the hands of even more consumers.

Watch for the latest from Hilton and the best career advice Kenny’s ever received—which is all about attitude and creating energy for change.

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