CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Hilton Reservations Worldwide (HRW) plans to open a new reservations call center in Streator, Illinois, 90 miles southwest of Chicago. The new center will be one of six the company operates in the United States and will initially employ 75 people. The other centers operate in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Washington and California, collectively handling HRW’s 30 million hotel reservation calls each year.
"I want to applaud Hilton Reservations Worldwide for their selection of Illinois for this facility," said Ryan. "I also want to recognize the efforts of the many local officials and members of the community who came together to make sure this project became a reality."
The reservations center will occupy ten-thousand square feet in Westgate Plaza in space formerly occupied by a store, and is expected to open in the Spring of 2002. The call center's primary focus will be to handle reservations for fifty metropolitan Chicago hotels owned by Hilton Hotels Corporation and Hilton International Co.
"The availability of qualified employees and the cost environment in Streator fits with Hilton's long term goals," said Russ Olivier, Senior Vice President of Hilton Reservations Worldwide. "The people of Streator and the State of Illinois fully embraced Hilton and have worked with us every way possible."
HRW is eligible for funds to train the new workers through the Industrial Training Program (ITP) which is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA). Funds from DCCA's Large Business Development program are also being used for site preparation.
"This is very positive news for both the area's workforce and for the hospitality industry in general," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "The hospitality sector has been negatively impacted by national events, but this is a clear indication that the industry is moving forward and preparing for stronger demand in the future."
The Streator Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry began work on the project over a year ago.
"Streator is honored that a quality company with a nationally recognized name like Hilton has chosen our community, and is relying on the strength of our available, quality workforce," said Mayor Raymond Schmitt. "Hilton's selection of Streator for this reservations center will be a sign to other companies that we are a location they need to consider."
HRW is owned by Hilton Hotels Corporation and Hilton International Co. Hilton Hotels Corporation, based in Beverly Hills, California, and Hilton International, a subsidiary of London-based Hilton Group plc, have a worldwide alliance to market Hilton, the world's best-known hotel brand. Collectively offering nearly 2,400 hotels in more than 65 countries worldwide, both companies are recognized as leaders in the hospitality industry.