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Out in the open - new ways for companies to save on meeting costs?

( SYDNEY, SINGAPORE&TOKYO – Budget-conscious business executives took cost-cutting to new extremes yesterday with a trial of free outdoor meetings at Sydney’s Bondi Beach, next to Singapore’s iconic Merlion and on Japan’s famous Niseko ski resort’s slopes.

The less-than-successful innovation was an event created by Hilton Hotels Corporation (Hilton) to highlight the hazards of taking cost-cutting too far.

Speaking of the al fresco meetings, Andrew Flack, vice president, sales and marketing for Hilton Hotels Corporation - Asia Pacific, said the company wanted to get it out in the open that there is no need for companies to go to such extreme lengths.

“These fun events highlight that the wrong environment for a meeting can really play havoc with the agenda. The executives found it extremely hard to concentrate on the business in hand, as have many others who tried to save costs by holding their meetings in ill-equipped venues,” Mr. Flack said.

The staged outdoor meetings also highlighted that a more practical solution to reduce meeting costs would be Hilton’s Meetings For Free promotion. Anyone making a bedroom booking from now until June 30 for any date in 2009, will be eligible to receive a complimentary meetings package as part of Hilton Meetings for Free including meeting room facilities, refreshments, and lunch. The offer extends across all Hilton Family hotel brands in Asia Pacific: Hilton, Conrad, and Doubletree by Hilton.

Hilton Family’s Meetings for Free applies to any conference, training, or sales event held at any one of 47 Hilton Family hotels across 14 Asia Pacific countries for meetings from as few as two to as many as 100 residential delegates. The promotion is open for bookings made during a limited period between April 15 and June 30, 2009 for events taking place throughout the year until December 31, 2009.

Mr. Flack continued, “There really is no substitute for a good quality face-to-face meeting in the right setting with the right facilities. Because budgets are getting tighter, Hilton has created a more sensible way for businesses to save costs through Hilton Meetings for Free promotion meaning that sunburn and hyperthermia need no longer be on anyone’s meeting agenda again.”

Faith Thoms, Director PR & Communication Hilton Hotels Corporation – Asia Pacific Tel: +65 6833 9762 Email: Rachel Faulkner, Senior Consultant Baldwin Boyle Shand Tel: +65 6833 4108 Email:

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