Q&A: Lesley Brasesco on Hilton Worldwide’s Idea Network

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Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, New York City
Art Deco touches greet guests entering the lobby of the legendary Waldorf Astoria, a landmark Hilton property.

Hilton Worldwide is listening to what meeting planners have to say to each other, whether they’re learning how to use an audience response app or sharing ideas for keynote speakers. And now, the hotel company has taken all this knowledge and created a comprehensive online educational program called Idea Network, which it launched in October.

The Idea Network is organized into four aspects of meeting planning: Creating Experience, Driving Results, Building Connections and Doing It All Responsibly. The information is produced by experienced meeting planners and Hilton’s in-house meeting experts and includes everything from how-to tips to in-depth white papers. Some topics are technical, while others are much lighter.

Prevue sat down with Hilton’s Managing Director of Sales Effectiveness, Lesley Brasesco, to learn more.

Prevue: What motivated you to create this project?

Lesley Brasesco: We listened to conversations that meeting professionals are having, either with their own teams when they’re developing content for their events, or with their hotels when they’re booking venues. We’re addressing all of their pain points by having people within the meetings community offer solutions. This isn’t about Hilton preaching, it’s about going out to the customer to find out who is doing something well or better, and sharing those best practices with the rest of the meeting professional community.

 What are your next steps?

“We’re also looking to expand with a news feed pulling in content from major bloggers and the meetings media industry. People want to hear from Hilton, but they also want to hear from the rest of the community, so we have a mixture.

 Tell us about how the Hilton Elevated Discussions videos that you started last year have evolved.

Hilton Elevated Discussions has evolved since its inception to include longer videos in different formats, including Q&As and panel discussions at major meetings industry events. Interviewees include leaders from many of the various industry associations, such as US Travel and PCMA. We’ve had an overwhelming response from the planner community. I think it’s one thing for a hotelier to come out and talk about something, but it’s quite another when you have a peer in your own industry talking to you about what they did that was so successful, and giving you step-by-step reasons why.

 How much new content are you planning to release?

Our goal is five new stories a week on the Idea Network, and 6 to 10 new videos per quarter for the Hilton Elevated Discussions.