Love to travel? Believe it or not, there’s a hospitality company out there that not only offers paid time off so employees can take vacations, but actually helps them do just that. And it’s Rick Morrow’s job to make booking these getaways an easy and seamless experience.
As Senior Director of Go Hilton Travel Programs, Morrow heads up a team that provides Hilton employees (and their friends and families) access to discounted hotel rates and travel perks at the company’s collection of nearly 6,000 properties around the world—brands ranging from Hampton Inn to DoubleTree to Curio to Waldorf Astoria. According to Morrow, more than 10,000 Go Hilton rooms are used on any given day.
“We want our Team Members to be able to experience firsthand the same great Hilton hospitality that we provide to all our other guests every single day,” he says. “And I love seeing the positive impact Go Hilton has on our Team Members’ lives-whether they are using the rates for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or weekend travel for a school sports tournament.”
Read on to get an inside look at what it’s like to work at one of the world’s biggest hotel groups (and according to Fortune, one of the world’s best companies to work for), and how Morrow gives fellow employees the tools to plan trips of their dreams—plus he reveals the best career advice he’s ever received.
What attracted you to work at Hilton?
I kind of fell into the hospitality industry, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for it. I majored in finance, investments, and communications in college, and I’ve held several analytical roles throughout my career. I spent the beginning of my career in the financial services industry, eventually moving into an analyst role in another hotel company’s benefits department. After 10 years there and moving my way up to a director-level position, a professional contact of mine from Hilton reached out to me about a new position he thought I would be a good fit for: a director-level role responsible for revamping and improving Hilton’s Team Member travel discount program. It sounded like a great opportunity, so I took it!
Everyone I met during the interview process was top-notch, and the culture I observed was extremely appealing. There is just something special about the hospitality business in general. At Hilton, we like to say that we are a business of people serving people, and that’s exactly right. I knew I wanted to stay in the hospitality industry, and what better place to do that than with the most legendary name in the business?
What are some elements that make the Go Hilton perks so innovative and special?
Everyone feels good about getting a great discount, which is of course part of the appeal. However, every Team Member has different reasons for using Go Hilton—some big, some small, some exotic, some of the everyday variety, like staycations or traveling for kids’ sporting events—but all are very important to each Team Member in different ways.
One Team Member used Go Hilton for his honeymoon at one of our luxury hotels in the Maldives; another used it for road trips to visit his grandchildren all over the country; another took his parents on their first ever trip abroad. One used the program so that she could stay near her newborn son when he had to be transferred to a NICU far away from home; another fulfilled his boyhood dream of visiting a number of major cities in Europe; yet another visited every Major League Baseball park with friends. My own family and I have used Go Hilton on road trips to visit many of the beautiful National Parks around the U.S.
So, the true value and power of Go Hilton is in the impact it has on Team Members’ lives, especially in helping them experience the signature Hilton hospitality that our valued guests experience in our hotels all around the globe every day. Many Team Members would not be able to have these experiences without Go Hilton, so it means the world to them. Many others even say it makes them better at their own jobs because they can see how other hotels run their operations, and take the best of those ideas back to their own hotels to be implemented, further improving guest experiences for all.
What are some recent achievements that you are most proud of?
We launched Go Hilton about 3.5 years ago after revamping the previous version of our Team Member travel program, which had been around for many years and definitely needed much improvement based on feedback. We are thrilled with how well-received it has been, generating tremendously positive feedback, with many Team Members saying it’s their favorite perk of working with Hilton.
However, what we’re most proud of is that, from senior leadership on down and across many different functions, this has not been a “set it and forget it” proposition. We still gather feedback from both Team Members and hotels to come up with ways we can improve the program for everyone. In the 3-plus years since launch, we have implemented a few great enhancements, like allowing Team Members with lengthy service to continue accessing the discounts even after they leave Hilton (we even recognize portions of military service toward the long-tenure criteria); creating a Go Hilton “Concierge” team to assist Team Members with their program questions and trip planning; and increasing the number of rooms Team Members can offer to others under the discounted Family & Friends rate.
What do you love most about your job?
I feel like I learn something new almost every day, and I am able to meet colleagues from all over the world, even if only virtually. Since Go Hilton interacts with a number of other functions at Hilton and spans the globe, we had to get a number of different pieces right to make the program operate effectively, from pricing to forecasting to operations to communications to nuances in different parts of the world. It was and is an enormous team effort with many, many Team Members across the enterprise who are committed to making this a best-in-class program. Being able to learn so much about other parts of the business and work with so many great people has been and continues to be a fantastic experience.
What do you like best about the company culture at Hilton?
Like I said, there is definitely something special about working in the hospitality industry, but Hilton takes it to another level with the amount of camaraderie, service, respect, and genuine caring I see within my own team and across our hotels and the company as a whole. We’re able to accomplish great things as a team here due to the hospitality we all show each other. It’s inspiring to see what happens when an organization is truly committed to being the most hospitable company in the world. It transcends everything.
I also really appreciate how our culture prioritizes helping Team Members thrive both at and outside of work, giving us tools, programs, and encouragement so we can be our best, whole selves in all spaces. Go Hilton plays an integral part by providing all those wonderful opportunities for leisure travel so we can relax, recharge, and reconnect.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Never forget you are your own best advocate. Don’t be afraid to take your career by the horns and lead it in the direction you want it to go. Even if you’re doing a fantastic job, it’s entirely possible that all of the details are not entirely known or understood to others. In a busy environment, there are a lot of different things swirling around and a lot of subjects competing for attention. Never be afraid to call out your accomplishments, interests, or whatever it is that you think can help you take that next step.
Granted, there is a right way and wrong way to do this. You clearly don’t want to come off as bragging or just calling attention to yourself. Be mindful of how you present it. For example, detailing what you achieved in performance reviews, regular one-on-one meetings, or other such settings is not bragging; it’s simply pointing out what you’ve done, what your plans are, and what you’d like to do next. Don’t be afraid to have these kinds of discussions. You are your own best advocate. Act like it.
Photo of Rick Morrow, Senior Director of Go Hilton Travel Programs, courtesy of Hilton.
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