I was in Austin, Texas for a conference, held at the Hilton Austin at 500 E 4th Street. Overflow rooms were provided for conference attendees at the Hilton Garden Inn (HGI) at 500 N. I-35, which is where I stayed. Needless to say, a combination of issues occurred, including the unfortunate timing of my conference with Austin City Limits, that made my visit at HGI unbearable.
(At this juncture, I will state that my conference is an annual one, and the organization books the hotels 2 years in advance.)
Normally, I do not hold Corporate responsible for the actions, or lack of action, of one of their sites. However, my experience has now shown me that the lack of customer service is not simply at the individual hotel level, but lies with Hilton corporate.
First, I attempted to address the issues with the staff at the hotel. In so many words, I was told to suck it up because there was nothing they could do. Okay, I appreciate that every hotel room in Austin is full because of ACL, but offer more than a shrug when a business customer is telling you they couldn’t sleep because of all the noise, both external, as well as internal. (And I was on the 17th floor, well above street level.)
I then tried to address my concerns through Hilton’s customer service portal on their website. No response. Finally, I tweeted my displeasure.
The tweets received an almost instant response asking me to Direct Message them, which I did.
Within minutes of my DM, I receive an email response asking me to provide details because they couldn’t find my initial email via their website.
I responded that same night, and to date, have heard nothing. Now it has been 1 week since I sent the email and 2 weeks since my stay. Today, I sent a follow-up email expressing my complete displeasure with Hilton’s lack of customer service.
In sum, my experience has taught me that Hilton only responds when the complaint is via public portal, like Twitter. Even then, I have learned that they don’t follow through, and they certainly don’t live up to their advertised Hilton Garden Inn Satisfaction Promise. If the hotel management, at the minimum, addressed my complaint with an apology and maybe tried to make some kind of conciliatory offer, that would have at least been something. But the only response I received was when I went public with my displeasure.
This is why I will never stay at any Hilton again.
Update: Prior to posting this blog, I had sent another Tweet out expressing that I would no longer stay at any Hilton because of the shoddy customer service. Again, within minutes of that Tweet, I received a mention. This just reinforces my finding that Hilton only responds when the complaint is public – otherwise, they simply don’t care.