Re: USA Today
I'm not familiar with the systems at Hilton US, and my knowledge of Hilton UK systems is quite a few years out of date; but in the UK, the central reservation system is, or was, separate to the front of house system.
However, you book a room using the central reservation system. Most of the time, you don't actually pay for it at that point, they just do an authorisation-only transaction for the amount so that they can collect if you don't turn up. When you arrive at the hotel, they will do another authorisation-only transaction to cover any extras you might take while you are there, using the front of house system, and you pay the bill when you check out.
An airline who does a block-booking for staff or delayed passengers and doesn't allow any extras to be charged to their account would probably not be affected. Pretty much everyone else would be.