Hilton Hotels Corp. is taking hospitality beachside with a sponsorship of the 2006 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour.
The Hilton family of hotels—which includes the Hilton Garden Inn brand—is the tour’s exclusive hospitality partner through March 2007. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We looked at AVP participation as a way to put our brand in front of a younger demographic,” said Mary Beth Parks, VP-marketing, Hilton. “Through connection with this sport…we’ll be able to communicate our core brand message.”
Familiarizing youths with the Hilton brand is important “because we want to make sure the next generation of travelers are aware of who we are and what we offer,” Parks said.
The Los Angeles-based hotelier began its sponsorship activation of eight of the tour’s stops at the AVP Tempe Open last month. During the tour, the hotelier will host tournament attendees inside an 80-foot by 20-foot Hilton Family Hospitality Tent where VIP ticket holders, including city officials, celebrities, AVP sponsors and promoters, can gather above center court to watch volleyball action. There, attendees will be treated to free beverages, a buffet station and hors d’oeuvres. Members of the hotel’s loyalty program will also be invited to attend and experience the hospitality tent.
“This is an extension of the kind of hospitality we provide in our hotels,” Parks said. “One of our core business objectives is to find opportunities to be hospitable beyond the doors of our hotel,” she added.
To activate its sponsorship in local communities, the hotelier is working with the AVP to host a series of free Hilton AVP Youth Volleyball Clinics. The clinics will give local youth volleyball players and hotel guests in select tour stops the opportunity to meet and hone their volleyball skills from Elaine Youngs, 2004 Olympic medalist, and Rachel Wacholder, AVP’s reigning defensive player of the year. Hilton struck agreements with both athletes for the period of the AVP sponsorship.
Before each tour stop, Hilton will communicate its AVP partnership to the local press and send emails to its loyalty club members. Its local hotels will also provide guests with information about the tour.
Cohn & Wolfe Los Angeles handles.
Hilton’s sponsorships have also included the U.S. Olympic team’s participation in the Winter Games in Torino, Italy, earlier this year. It will be a sponsor of the team for the 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing.