Hilton Honors VP Takes Your Questions

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jul 29, 16, 5:46 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: missamo80
Wiki Link
Here is the full response from Aaron, cleaned up from the original reply.

Hi all,

Aaron and I really enjoyed reading through all your posts - it was great to receive such constructive feedback. After reviewing them, we wanted to address a number of the popular topics you raised. Please find Aaron's initial responses below.

Thanks again for participating!
Lauren


--

Hello FlyerTalkers,

I couldn't be more thrilled to be here and to connect with some of our most active members. When Lauren and I initially discussed this Q&A session, we knew there would be some interest. But the outpouring of comments - and your excitement about the future of Hilton HHonors - has truly exceeded our expectations.

Our top priority is to put members first, and at the heart of everything we do here at Hilton. That means we will continue to evolve and grow the program for you - based on your feedback. Through our new brands, new hotels and game-changing digital innovation, we are focused on creating lifelong relationships with our members by delivering exceptional, personalized experiences.

With that in mind, it's been incredible to see all your direct feedback on what's going well and what we can improve.

Hilton HHonors Promotions
Our team has been hard at work over the past year improving our offers and simplifying our approach to Hilton HHonors promotions. Many of you took note and it's great to hear your positive feedback. We've strived to make our promotions simpler, straightforward, asterisk-free, and inclusive of all properties - and it's clearly resonating with you. To keep up the momentum, we've got another promotion coming soon that we think you will enjoy.

Hilton HHonors App
When I joined Hilton, one of the things I was most excited about was our amazing Hilton HHonors app. We love it and based on your comments, so do you! It's amazing to hear all the ways it has improved your stays - whether choosing your own room or going straight to your room with Digital Key. As a road warrior myself, I've become a devoted fan - counting down until check-in time, browsing the floor map for green dots, and then picking my favorite room. We're also excited about more app enhancements coming soon, and the expansion of Digital Key to even more of our hotels across the world.

Gold and Diamond Tier Benefits
We received a lot of feedback on what you most like about each tier and our opportunity to think more about the progression from Gold to Diamond Elite. Our aim is to offer our Gold Elite members a choice of benefits from among the areas you've indicated are most important to you. Our Diamond tier takes these benefits to the next level - from upgrade priority, even more Bonus Points, a dedicated Diamond Desk at our Call Center and our up-to 48-hours room guarantee. That said, we've heard you and will continue to find ways to evolve both elite tiers

Lifetime Diamond
Launching Lifetime Diamond last year was a historic milestone for the program, and our inaugural "Class of 2015" and this year's "Class of 2016"" has shared incredible feedback. We also know that more of you want to achieve this exclusive status. While we are not ready to announce any qualification changes at this point, we are reviewing the status earning criteria with your thoughtful feedback in mind.

Room Upgrades
Complimentary room upgrades are certainly something we spend a lot of time thinking about and working on. We know you want more of them - and so do we. As you might imagine, there are many considerations in awarding upgrades across over 4,660 properties worldwide. But we hear you and will be looking for more and new opportunities to address your suggestions.

Breakfast/Waldorf Astoria MyWay Benefits
Breakfast benefits - whether part of the Hilton HHonors program or a standard offering of our brands - are an important part of our members' stay experiences. As you many of you know, we offer a full or continental breakfast for our Hilton HHonors members at the vast majority of our hotels. That said, we're not at 100% of our brands - namely Waldorf Astoria. While we do offer food and beverage benefits at Waldorf, we understand your perspectives and will be discussing it further with our teams.

Hotels Benefit Delivery
We will continue to focus on how we consistently deliver your Hilton HHonors benefits at each hotel. Our aim is deliver a more consistent, rewarding experience at all hotels by finding new ways to enable and empower our hotel Team Members across the globe. We relentlessly track performance at each hotel and work to quickly address the gaps you share. We also encourage you to provide "in the moment" feedback through the Hilton HHonors app and have our commitment that the hotel will respond rapidly during your stay to make it right. Keep your feedback coming - to the hotels and to us - and we'll keep evolving our approach.

Partnerships
We're proud of our partnerships and the opportunities to redeem Points for exclusive events -- from Live Nation concerts and exclusive artists experience to unprecedented McLaren-Honda VIP access races to rock-star-like access at The GRAMMYs. Glad you are enjoying them too - keep an eye on our auction website as we continue to add once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the mix.

Additional Suggestions
You shared feedback on a number of other areas - some more general and some very specific. We need a bit more time to consider these items, but it's incredibly helpful to know what you value most so we can prioritize accordingly. We'll use these insights for developing future changes to the program.

In closing my first Q&A with you, I'm reminded of what an exciting time it is to be at Hilton. My first job - many years ago! - was at a Hilton hotel. As such, I have a strong emotional attachment to this company and a passion to ensure Hilton HHonors continues to lead the industry. Even more importantly, I'd like to recognize our amazing Hilton HHonors team - the most talented, committed, and enthusiastic people in the business - and the 300,000+ Team Members who deliver exceptional experiences to you, our members, every day.

Warm regards, and I look forward to staying connected.

-Aaron
Print Wikipost

Old Jul 18, 16, 1:01 pm
  #1  
Company Representative - Honors by Hilton
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Programs: Hilton Honors
Posts: 1,150
Hilton Honors VP Takes Your Questions

Hi all,

When our new Vice President of Hilton HHonors, Aaron Glick, started a few months ago, I knew I had to find a way to get him involved with FlyerTalk. Now that we’ve given him some time to get settled, he’s ready to take your questions and wants to hear directly from you about the Hilton HHonors program. In his role, Aaron is responsible for driving program strategy, innovation and benefits, so now is the time to ask your questions and share your thoughts. Some topics to consider…

What works? What doesn’t? What could we be doing better? What changes would you like to see for the future of the program?

Be sure to post your questions and any of your opinions/feedback you would like me to share with him by 5pm EST on Thursday, July 21. Once Aaron has had a chance to review, we’ll post his answers and comments by the beginning of next week. Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Thank you!
Lauren
Hilton Honors Ambassador is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 1:24 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: DCA
Posts: 6,449
Very unique opportunity, and should be quite interesting to see.

Here's a general question that I think covers a lot of sub-topics commonly discussed on flyertalk: What is hhonors management's position regarding the wide degree to which individual properties interpret and implement the hhonors benefits - think breakfast, upgrades, late check-out, different internet speeds, etc - and the high level of inconsistency in the guest experience that it creates across the hhonors portfolio?

For example, if a Diamond guest were to stay at the Conrad Bangkok and then the Conrad New York, they'd probably need convincing that these two hotels were supposedly part of the same brand.

Are there plans to standardize the guest experience to a greater degree so that loyal guests can make purchasing choices based on known benefits rather than anecdotal evidence (reports on Flyertalk) or "roulette" (how the particular front desk agent is feeling that day, etc.)?

Thank you.
arlflyer is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 1:34 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Programs: Aeroplan, Jet Airways
Posts: 6
BPG questions for your VP

I have two questions for your VP as I have been getting mixed responses from your staff and then no reply to some of the questions.

I submitted a BPG request for a booking made on Sunday night. I found a cheaper priceline rate for the same and I took the screen shot. Monday afternoon the priceline rate changes and that is when your staff replies to my request saying the price has is no different on price than what you have booked. Now I email the staff screen shots. Then they never reply. What do I do? I am stuck in this situation? Is BPG a way to get the booking and then never reply?

Second question, I booked two rooms in the same hotel (two different booking confirmation numbers). I submitted a BPG for each. They approve one but decline the other saying its different room type. That was not the case. Now they have stopped replying? Why? One rep says its different rooms (which is not the case), other rep says only 1 BPG per person (which is not what your terms say), third rep says booking does not exist!!

However for another booking with two rooms, same hotel, booked at same time, different confirmation numbers, THEY APPROVE it. Now they are not responding to any of my emails

Negative rating for your BPG customer team. Especially, James Rider from your team who has stopped responding or does not respond clearly.

Can your VP help?
sss_flyer is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 2:00 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Australia
Programs: QFF LTG , HHD
Posts: 1,147
One for the VP. The benefits, as per the rules and as applied by the various hotels, are often very similar for Golds and Diamonds. Is there any intention to apply a greater differentiation so that the most loyal customers are the best rewarded? You can guess I am a Diamond. I often think it is hardly worth my while to put in the extra effort to "go the extra mile" to achieve Diamond status. I may be better off earning status in another chain.

On a similar note are there any thoughts about a further level above Diamond? I don't mean lifetime status.
turtlemichael is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 2:08 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 83,672
Given Marriott's purchase of Starwood, does Hilton plan to do anything special to tempt SPG elites to switch to Hilton HHonors?
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 2:11 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Programs: HH Diamond, DL PM, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 745
Aaron/Lauren - Thanks for taking the time to take our feedback. My .02:

What's working:

1. Redeeming free nights and HHonors promotions. While it may take a lot of points to redeem at some properties, I've found that the redemptions are reasonable and attainable on the current points earning and redemption structure. I also like that the current promotions (such as unlimited bonus) have been spending based, as I often charge a lot of incidentals to the room. Also, the Hilton credit cards (I use the Amex surpass) earnings bonuses add up.

2. Hilton HHonors App - The app has significantly improved over the years.

3. Just a general comment that Conrad properties in Asia are some of the best hotels of any brand in the world, particularly in terms of HHonors treatment (I've been to Maldives, Hong Kong, Macao).

What could be improved:

Benefits are not in line with the competition, specifically:
a. Upgrades. Hilton should consider implementing a policy like Hyatt or SPG - which allocates a certain number of suite redemption certificates or nights that can be used in a standard suite to their the most loyal guests. I always spend more money at properties that I feel recognize my loyalty and upgrade me.
b. Breakfast - Hyatt offers Diamonds a full breakfast at properties without a lounge
c. Waldorf Astoria MyWay benefits (particularly breakfast) should align with the remaining brands, including Conrad.
Michael19887 is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 2:25 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Somerset/Dorset/Wiltshire borders, England [home].
Programs: BAEC Gold [>20k Lifetime TPs] | Hilton Honors Lifetime Diamond [as is Mrs PtF] | Various Others
Posts: 6,154
Originally Posted by turtlemichael View Post

On a similar note are there any thoughts about a further level above Diamond? I don't mean lifetime status.
+1.

There are those of us who are both HHonors Lifetime Diamond and, although no longer required, continue to qualify for Diamond year on year based on the amount of ongoing business placed with the Hilton Group.

Does your VP not believe that there should be some additional recognition of such Diamonds compared to, for example, the here today, gone tomorrow status match Diamonds?
Phil the Flyer is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 2:39 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Programs: Hilton Diamond
Posts: 2,661
Positive Items

Online Check-in w/ability to choose room and having that available the day priorAs previously noted the Hilton App has gotten better and very much like the new Digital Key option. The Website has also stabilized greatly.

Ease and straightforwardness of point redemption for reward nights and excellent availability

Overall a good hard product especially in terms of the quality of bedding (which is something that is important to me)

Hilton Garden Inns really provide a very dependable experience and often great value and dominate the competition in that category (Personal opinion, but I have always thought it was the one brand concept that Hilton knocked out of the park)


Items For Improvement

There should be at least some minimum Late Check out guarantee for Diamonds. Even if it was just 2PM that would make a difference. I don't like to have to feel like I need to haggle even to get 1:30 PM.

While I realize there are lots of Diamonds now out there competing for limited upgrade opportunities, having a few guaranteed in advance suite upgrades such as Hyatt DSU certificates would go a long way against feeling you never get a suite upgrade

Waldorf Astoria really needs to have some sort of breakfast benefit for Diamonds, I now specifically choose Conrad over WA (when applicable) because of that.
Miesque is online now  
Old Jul 18, 16, 2:40 pm
  #9  
Hilton Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,959
What works?

Lots of things work well.
The HHonors App is particularly good and is probably better than Hilton.com. Most properties do a reasonable job with HHonors benefits.
Where Executive Lounges are offered, these are often excellent such as London Canary Wharf and London Bankside.
Digital room keys are pretty good.

What doesn't?
  • Properties that tell you that they are "full" when they lack the inclination to offer an upgrade.
  • Sometimes properties try and 'upgrade' you out of the room you've booked to something undesirable. For example I was "upgraded" from a two double bedded room to a King room that was exactly the same category in the Hilton Dubai Jumerai, but was unable to be "downgraded" back to my original room. I was told the issue was I'd been upgraded up one floor in the property.
  • This brings me to my next point - when things go wrong I find Hilton properties very difficult to deal with. Hamptons and Hilton Garden Inns have "we don't expect you to pay" promises, which they certainly seem reticent to adhere to.
  • There needs to be a minimum standard of breakfast, and a guaranteed ability to "upgrade" breakfast to the full American breakfast in hotels. As an example, Hilton Hawaiian Village changes $32.95 plus tax for breakfast, and as a HH Diamond you get $10 credit towards this. I am doubtful you could get much more than a coffee and croissant for $10, and this is not a continental breakfast.
  • There are virtually no HHonors check in lines. Where they do exist, they are for Blues/Silvers/Golds and Diamonds (apart from very specific exceptions, like Palmer House in Chicago and W=A NYC). This 'benefit' is therefore worthless.
  • Hilton.com is slow to refresh (takes 2 hours to show new bookings) and is often down for maintenance, this can be improved
  • LATE CHECK OUT - I am fed up of being refused this benefit consistently due to "occupancy" or some other excuse. There needs to be a minimum expectation here!

What could we be doing better?
  • Properties should be reminded that HHonors upgrades are not "optional" and are space avaiable, and may include suites for diamond members
  • A minimum standard of internet speed should be established, and 'premium' for Diamond members should be enforced
  • A minimum standard of breakfast needs established, including the ability to upcharge for full breakfast at a maximum cost of the difference of what is charged by the hotel (Doubletree Waikiki charges a higher upcharge than the difference in costs)
  • Premium room rewards are often prohibitively expensive, and should be proportional to the cash cost
  • I refuse to stay at Waldorf Astoria properties due to the lack of breakfast. I feel this needs standardised.
  • I think the complimentary bottles of water should be offered daily, rather than once per stay

What changes would you like to see for the future of the program?
Guaranteed upgrades where available, full breakfast (or at least minimum standards improved), faster internet, genuine express check in lines, ability to view latest room bill online, a proper Apple Watch app.
A fantastic improvement would be waiving resort fees for Diamond members.

To Summarise:
  • Introduce minimum requirements for existing benefits like upgrades, breakfast, internet and lounge access.
  • Encourage properties who wish to do so to go above and beyond, with in room amenities, drinks vouchers, full breakfast.
  • Continue to offer no-blackout dates and maintain competitive from a rewards perspective

Last edited by andset1191; Jul 18, 16 at 2:45 pm
andset1191 is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 4:38 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,989
Could you consider to:
Waive the parking fees / resort fees for Diamonds.
Allow paid LT nights count to be shown in the account profile
Allow years of Elite to be shown in the account profile
Allow 1 additional room if booked under same reservation to count towards nights and stays. Families do not always fit into 1 room.
Limit number of direct matches or the length of validity. For the first year, it may even have reduced requalification requirements but full membership year(s) is a long time.
Have more international credit card partnerships.
Have members discounts at the restaurant
Allow meals to earn points even if not staying.
PayItForward is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 4:53 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LAX
Programs: HHonor Dia, SPG Gold, Marriott Gold, Hyatt Diamond, Accor Plus Silver
Posts: 539
I seconded these as well.
Especially the (b) and (c).

Originally Posted by Michael19887 View Post
What could be improved:
Benefits are not in line with the competition, specifically:
a. Upgrades. Hilton should consider implementing a policy like Hyatt or SPG - which allocates a certain number of suite redemption certificates or nights that can be used in a standard suite to their the most loyal guests. I always spend more money at properties that I feel recognize my loyalty and upgrade me.
b. Breakfast - Hyatt offers Diamonds a full breakfast at properties without a lounge
c. Waldorf Astoria MyWay benefits (particularly breakfast) should align with the remaining brands, including Conrad.
tomy77 is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 5:02 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: DCA
Posts: 6,449
Cannot agree enough with the statements being made regarding benefits at WA properties - for a highest-tier elite guest to shell out a ton of either points or cash to stay at the premier brand in the portfolio, only to receive basically no confirmed benefits (not speaking to those properties that go above and beyond), is completely counter to how one would think a loyalty program should operate. These aspirational stays should be a reward - part of what makes dozens of nights in Hamptons and old conference Hiltons worthwhile. Look to Park Hyatt or Asian Conrad properties if you want to see how it's done.
arlflyer is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 5:25 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Paradise
Posts: 960
Now that your biggest competitor Marriott has joined Starwood and Hyatt in offering their top elites guaranteed 4pm check-out, it's time for Hilton to do the same. I'm tired of having to fight to get a hour late checkout and then the front desk acts like they are doing you a huge favor and you should be on your knees with gratitude.

I would like to see:

1) Guaranteed late checkout for Golds/Diamonds.
2) Breakfast set to a minimum standard. This is where Hyatt shines since their Diamonds get a full breakfast when no lounge is present as mentioned above.
3) Up to 3 rooms credited for points instead of just 2. Also the ability to count multiple rooms as nights towards status like Starwood.
4) Waiving of resort fees/parking for Diamonds.
Yellowjj is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 6:13 pm
  #14  
Hilton 10+ Badge
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Madison, WI (MSN)
Programs: Delta Diamond, Hilton Diamond, Chick-fil-A Red
Posts: 398
Pretty sure all of these are mentioned in one way or another, but posted anyway to +1 them:

The good
- Hilton Garden Inns. To me HGI strikes the perfect chord, (nearly) every one is up to expectations, and I actively look to stay in these when they're available at a reasonable cost.
- iPhone app has improved especially in the last few months with the addition of Google maps to the room selection and the introduction of digital key.
- The fact that you (HHonorsRepresentative) are here in this forum and helping people out.

Areas for improvement
- Breakfast. Very inconsistent within the brand as evidenced by the 1400+ post thread here. Hot breakfast should be a standard benefit for diamond.
- San Francisco full service properties (specifically Hilton Union Square and Parc 55) seem to have an ongoing race to the bottom between the two to see which can offer the least breakfast and get away with it. Within the last year, "grab and go" stations have appeared which are hardly "continental breakfast," golds can no longer "upgrade" to hot breakfast for $10, and there are even recent indications that at least one property is doing away with the "upgrade" fee of $10 for diamonds and instead giving a "credit" meaning a hot breakfast is more like $25. With all full service Marriotts in the area having lounges which have hot breakfast, it's difficult to stay loyal to Hilton when traveling mostly to San Francisco, and I nearly abandoned Hilton at the end of last year because of this.
- Upgrades: maybe I'm just unlucky, need to be more aggressive, or need to wear a blazer when checking in, but I've never seen a suite.
- Website: I'm biased here because I work in tech, but having your site down for several hours each weekend to do upgrades shouldn't be needed with any kind of reasonably modern infrastructure. You don't need the latest cutting edge to achieve continuous uptime; even circa 2010 designs can accomplish this.
- Internet: This is one area where Hilton is pretty consistent, unfortunately, and it's consistently bad. It looks to me like there's really weird routing (sorry, techie here) and some properties have insufficient bandwidth. You're apparently routing all of the internet traffic via a provider the central US - IMHO time to dump Wayport/AT&T and get a network service provider who knows what they're doing.

Dreaming
- Twitter support, similar to Delta's twitter support, who can resolve actual problems and are responsive (order of minutes; an hour max).
- Waive resort fees for diamonds, since nearly everything in the resort fee is supposed to be a diamond benefit anyway.
- A direct e-mail contact address for each property that's readily findable and answered.
- If you don't do consistent hot diamond breakfast, make each hotel post their diamond breakfast benefit right there on the website, to obviate the need for the 1400+ post thread and ensure that we are getting the latest, up-to-date information. Or maybe this is just viewable to diamonds when signed in to book. "Your on-property benefits at this hotel will be: ..."
kpbadger is offline  
Old Jul 18, 16, 6:51 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Seattle WA, USA
Programs: Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titan, AS MVPG&AL, others no status
Posts: 3,394
A couple of suggestions: First, if we have a stay that combines paid nights with award nights we should get points for the paid nights. Marriott does this. Seems like a no-brainer for increasing paid nights at Hilton brand hotels.

Second, as others have said, find ways to make Diamond more distinctive from Gold. Could be little things like giving Diamonds both 750 points and breakfast at Hilton Garden Inns similar to the way we get 1000 points and breakfast at Hiltons. At Hampton Inns we get both the points and the snack, etc. Guaranteed benefits are more valuable to me than benefits you only get when you get lucky or successfully shmooze the front desk staff.

Thanks for listening!
Westcoaster is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread