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Hilton Executive Lounges Being Phased Out?

Hilton Executive Lounges Being Phased Out?

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Old May 16, 18, 2:18 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by GoldenItalianBoy View Post
This is an interesting thread.
in your opinion, what's the reason of this great difference between lounge experience (and management) in USA compared to Europe?
for me it's a mistery
Originally Posted by delinquentwoody View Post
In USA status is given away for next to nothing with credit cards so there are many more people who are Diamond status than would otherwise be, leading to a dilution of the EL offering. However in Europe not so many credit cards exist, so most people have to earn status the traditional way - so the lounges aren't particularly overrun.
Actually, I would widen the comparison and make it US to Asia. The further east one goes the better the offering. There are some absolutely brilliant lounges and lounge offerings in that part of the world. Have just returned from a 5 day stay at the new Chengdu Doubletree where the EL offering would beat many other (Asian) Conrads. Beats even the KL Hilton which has long been my benchmark. Europe hotels are 'OK' in comparison while those in the US, the home of the Hilton brand are, well, usually not even registering on the scale. Indeed a conundrum but as 90% of my stays are in the Far East this discrepancy is for me largely academic. And when I do travel though the US I lower my expectations accordingly. To paraphrase; US for duty, Europe for pleasure and the Far East for ecstasy!
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Old May 16, 18, 3:16 am
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Originally Posted by delinquentwoody View Post
In USA status is given away for next to nothing with credit cards so there are many more people who are Diamond status than would otherwise be, leading to a dilution of the EL offering. However in Europe not so many credit cards exist, so most people have to earn status the traditional way - so the lounges aren't particularly overrun.
But why they are doing it?
This is not economical!

If I was in the US only I would never ever go for Gold or Diamond.
Why should I?
Because of a bottle of water and a ridiculous "breakfast" with a coffee and a bagel?

Why are people happy with this value?
And regarding the points: I would take programms like hotels.com to collect free nights und I would sleep at the best hotel with the best value, besides of any chain.

It's the same with the US Airlines. Crappy lounges, crappy service. I would take the cheapest ticket of any airline.

In Europe we are really happy with Hilton and Asia is absolutly perfect.
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Last edited by flysmart2; May 16, 18 at 3:29 am Reason: Addion
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Old May 16, 18, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by delinquentwoody View Post
In USA status is given away for next to nothing with credit cards so there are many more people who are Diamond status than would otherwise be, leading to a dilution of the EL offering. However in Europe not so many credit cards exist, so most people have to earn status the traditional way - so the lounges aren't particularly overrun.
Ok, I am going to disagree a bit. I don't know that credit cards has created a situation of there being "many more people who are Diamond status than would otherwise be", Gold probably though. I don't see that as that much of a problem though if those people aren't really staying that much at hotels. I think there are more status members in the USA because there are a LOT more Hilton branded properties thus making it easier to earn status by stays etc. The properties in the USA can get away with an inferior offering as most people are locked into Hilton and just happy to use points for free stays and "deal with" the inferior offering of the lounges. A lot of them may not even be aware of what a real lounge (Asian lounges) look like and do not know how bad the lounges really are......
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Old May 16, 18, 8:02 am
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I too think that the whole theory of the overabundance of Diamonds in the U.S. is a fallacy. Whenever I'm at a Hilton property in EMEA / Asia, it's almost nothing but Diamonds. I mean, think about it, who is going to be staying at those properties? Hilton isn't the dominant brand in many of those areas, so it's going to be people with carryover loyalty from elsewhere or global travelers who value the footprint. Thus, status holders. The lounges are just as crowded in those places as any I have ever seen in the U.S.

The different in quality of lounges more likely comes from expected standards, level of competition, and cultural norms, especially with respect to the service culture in some regions.
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Old May 16, 18, 9:22 am
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Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
It's the same with the US Airlines. Crappy lounges, crappy service. I would take the cheapest ticket of any airline.
When was the last time you visited a US3 domestic lounge? While admittedly still not to European standards, significant investments are being made to upgrade facilities and offerings (AA now has made-to-order guacamole stations), increased membership rates, excluded many credit card partnerships.
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Old May 16, 18, 9:27 am
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My all-time favorite has to be the Hilton Nassau. Quite common to find groups of Netjets crews, burning time while clients enjoy Altantis, who all make "sippy cups" by filling to-go coffee cups with free reception wine, putting on the plastic cover to hide it.
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Old May 16, 18, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by diver858 View Post
When was the last time you visited a US3 domestic lounge? While admittedly still not to European standards, significant investments are being made to upgrade facilities and offerings (AA now has made-to-order guacamole stations), increased membership rates, excluded many credit card partnerships.
Carrot sticks anyone?
Hey, come on, there is a race to the bottom.
Usually you get no beer, no other alcoholic drinks, no really food, just nachos or the famous carrot sticks. Or a guacamole station - cheap carbohydrates with much fat and sugar.

In my opinion the tourism and airline industrie in the US has been world renowbed for their service - many years ago...
There are very friendly Employees, which is great and better than in Europe, but all the remaining is usually disappointing.
Very sorry about that, but this is the truth.
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Old May 16, 18, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Athena53 View Post
I agree- with many leisure travelers gravitating to Airbnb and similar accommodations, it would make more sense for Hilton to up their game than to a lounge deteriorate and then decide to close it because it wasn't all that great anyway. Give me a reason to choose Hilton.
You are assuming that the best response to a growing market of customers that clearly doesn't value executive lounges (because let's face it, if you're picking Airbnb it's not because you want a lounge) is to double down on the expense of maintaining one by increasing that expense and hoping there are enough dinosaurs that want high-touch service, with commensurate expense.

What's to say this isn't the equivalent of investing in buggy whips in 1910 for the customers that prefer horses in a lot of markets?

Personally, I'm pretty happy with Hamptons and HGIs. If I want room service I'll use an app for delivery. If I'm lazy I'll eat the mediocre breakfast. Otherwise there's a wide world out there for food.

Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
But why they are doing it?
This is not economical!
Economical for whom? The chain or the customer? Pretty sure that chains wouldn't be giving status in conjunction with hotel credit cards if they weren't finding value in it. Shareholders don't like companies frittering away money they don't have to.

Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
In Europe we are really happy with Hilton and Asia is absolutly perfect.
Hilton has a grand total of 29 hotels in Germany. Hilton has four times as many hotels as that within just 40 miles of Dallas (118). Multiply that times the entire USA, now give each Hilton hotel an executive lounge. You see the problem?

A chain that has much lower presence outside the US has to work harder to get non-US business (and frankly Hilton has a much larger footprint of non-limited service hotels outside the US as opposed to inside the US).

Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
I too think that the whole theory of the overabundance of Diamonds in the U.S. is a fallacy. Whenever I'm at a Hilton property in EMEA / Asia, it's almost nothing but Diamonds. I mean, think about it, who is going to be staying at those properties? Hilton isn't the dominant brand in many of those areas, so it's going to be people with carryover loyalty from elsewhere or global travelers who value the footprint. Thus, status holders. The lounges are just as crowded in those places as any I have ever seen in the U.S.

The different in quality of lounges more likely comes from expected standards, level of competition, and cultural norms, especially with respect to the service culture in some regions.
Most likely that.
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Last edited by eponymous_coward; May 16, 18 at 1:53 pm
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Old May 16, 18, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Economical for whom? The chain or the customer? Pretty sure that chains wouldn't be giving status in conjunction with hotel credit cards if they weren't finding value in it. Shareholders don't like companies frittering away money they don't have to.
I think there are short term effects. Many more customers, quick cash from credit card companies.
Are managers really on the long run?



Hilton has a grand total of 29 hotels in Germany. Hilton has four times as many hotels as that within just 40 miles of Dallas (118). Multiply that times the entire USA, now give each Hilton hotel an executive lounge. You see the problem?
Yes, I see it very well: Why is there no Hilton with a high-class lounge in this area, if there are nearly 120 hotels from this chain? Why? Because customer did not like it? On the other hand: If it would not be economically, you could change the whole brand in the US to Hampton or Tru. Or wait: Hampton has somtimes a more substantial breakfast in the US for Gold or Diamond members then a Hilton...


A chain that has much lower presence outside the US has to work harder to get non-US business (and frankly Hilton has a much larger footprint of non-limited service hotels outside the US as opposed to inside the US).
No, I can't understand this. If you have more hotels and more guests, you have more power, you can earn more money and you can invest money in loyal customers.
I think the reason is: Customers in America are educated in this way from all chains and compaines.
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Old May 16, 18, 2:20 pm
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Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
I think there are short term effects. Many more customers, quick cash from credit card companies.
Are managers really on the long run?
The point of all this is getting heads in beds. If you're getting customers in the hotel from the branded credit card and income from selling points to AMEX, you're winning.

Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
Yes, I see it very well: Why is there no Hilton with a high-class lounge in this area, if there are nearly 120 hotels from this chain? Why? Because customer did not like it? On the other hand: If it would not be economically, you could change the whole brand in the US to Hampton or Tru. Or wait: Hampton has somtimes a more substantial breakfast in the US for Gold or Diamond members then a Hilton...
Of those 118 Dallas area hotels, three of them can be said to be boutique brands: two Curio collection hotels, one Canopy (hotels where I might not expect an executive lounge, though the Canopy offers food to guests). A whole lot of them are Hampton/HGI/Embassy/Homewood Suites. No Conrads, no Waldorf-Astorias. The market in Dallas doesn't seem particularly upscale for Hilton (note that there are some Embassy Suites/Homewood Suites that extend EL-ish benefits to EVERYONE via manager reception).

Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
No, I can't understand this. If you have more hotels and more guests, you have more power, you can earn more money and you can invest money in loyal customers.
I think the reason is: Customers in America are educated in this way from all chains and compaines.
I think the exact opposite of that, to be honest. It's a lot more difficult to use Hilton in, say, Continental Europe than it is Accor- you are likely not as convenient to your destination given relative market share, the price point/service level you want to get might be harder to find. As such Hilton has to do more to attract business in a market where they are a flea as opposed to one where they are an elephant.

Executive lounges have costs- someone has to pay for it (either in the room rate directly or in other room rates indirectly if it is given "free" to elites, but still SOMEONE pays for that lounge, it is not really "free"). A lot of people are perfectly happy with limited service and keeping more money in their pockets- if they weren't Airbnb/Hampton/HGI/Homewood/Tru wouldn't be very successful, nor would buying hotels off of hotels.com/Priceline/Hotwire. The question becomes where the niche of high touch properties that have lounges/etc. intersects with the market for it. I would assert there's less market for it in the USA, and the market probably ends up clustering in the Conrads/Waldorf-Astorias and maybe some upper end Hiltons where you can make this work. Otherwise, I sort of expect the ELs to fade out, similar to how room service is on the decline as hotels realize it is not a money maker for them.
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Old May 16, 18, 2:44 pm
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Executive lounges have costs- someone has to pay for it (either in the room rate directly or in other room rates indirectly if it is given "free" to elites, but still SOMEONE pays for that lounge, it is not really "free"). A lot of people are perfectly happy with limited service and keeping more money in their pockets- if they weren't Airbnb/Hampton/HGI/Homewood/Tru wouldn't be very successful, nor would buying hotels off of hotels.com/Priceline/Hotwire. The question becomes where the niche of high touch properties that have lounges/etc. intersects with the market for it. I would assert there's less market for it in the USA, and the market probably ends up clustering in the Conrads/Waldorf-Astorias and maybe some upper end Hiltons where you can make this work. Otherwise, I sort of expect the ELs to fade out, similar to how room service is on the decline as hotels realize it is not a money maker for them.[/QUOTE]

Others have likened the decline and elimination of lounges to declining comforts/services of airlines. IMHO both are manifestations of what I call the Walmartization of America. Generally speaking, Americans want the best of everything free and if free isn't possible, at the lowest possible price. So, if there are 2 Hiltons in the same market where one has a EL and one does not, would many of us pay extra for the one with the EL? No - we'll take it for free but not if we have to pay more for it. American culture and the culture of those from many European countries seem different in that way. I'd also include Aussies and New Zealanders with the Europeans. Most of those I've met from other countries take more and longer vacations than we Americans do. They also seem willing to spend more freely on higher quality trips, services and products than most of my middle to upper middle class friends are willing to do. Again - in general, Americans have come to value low price more than high quality.
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Old May 16, 18, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by flysmart2 View Post
Carrot sticks anyone?
Hey, come on, there is a race to the bottom.
Usually you get no beer, no other alcoholic drinks, no really food, just nachos or the famous carrot sticks. Or a guacamole station - cheap carbohydrates with much fat and sugar.
Appears you have not visited a US3 domestic club in several years. Free beer, wine and well drinks; AA lounges have 2 different soups, cheese and veggies in the afternoon and evening, breads, pastries, yogurt and fruit at breakfast. Most people consider fresh, hand-made to order guacamole a treat.
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Old May 16, 18, 4:52 pm
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In the past 15 years, I've run across a few "OK" lounges in the US, but definitely the best overseas. The Waldorf in London, the former Arc De Triomphe in Paris, the Hilton Nagoya - some of the best free hotel food and drinks I have encountered . . . .
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Old May 16, 18, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by merle123 View Post
Others have likened the decline and elimination of lounges to declining comforts/services of airlines. IMHO both are manifestations of what I call the Walmartization of America. Generally speaking, Americans want the best of everything free and if free isn't possible, at the lowest possible price. So, if there are 2 Hiltons in the same market where one has a EL and one does not, would many of us pay extra for the one with the EL? No - we'll take it for free but not if we have to pay more for it. American culture and the culture of those from many European countries seem different in that way. I'd also include Aussies and New Zealanders with the Europeans. Most of those I've met from other countries take more and longer vacations than we Americans do. They also seem willing to spend more freely on higher quality trips, services and products than most of my middle to upper middle class friends are willing to do. Again - in general, Americans have come to value low price more than high quality.
Which is why Lufthansa is adding F seats to their flee- oh, they’re actually ripping them out.

And Ryanair is such a complete failure as an airline, isn’t it? Because all the Europeans want are high service models where everything is included?

Bet nobody is building Ibis Budgets any more either...

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Old May 17, 18, 1:08 am
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DT Torrance (LA) just renovated their entire hotel including EL, I believe.

Originally Posted by erikfos View Post
Never been a fan of the executive lounge. Close it and expand the hotel gym.
I love EL's. I seek out properties that have them. Of course, they're better in Asia than N.America. And I don't travel much in N.America. But every EL in N.America that I can remember over the past year or so (Burnaby, Mayo Clinic, SF Financial District, Boston Back Bay, LAX) has been very nice to have nonetheless. Every single one has beverages in fridge, some type of little snacks, and coffee machine available at all hours that the lounge is open. In contrast, have you seen some of the Club lounges at CP? At CP LAX, they will lock up the fridge and cupboards and put away literally everything, so that it's completely barren outside of service times.

I don't understand why so many haters of US lounges on this thread. What do you have to gain by demanding that EL's be closed? I doubt it's going to lower the rates or drive the management to enhance Diamond benefits in other ways. As it is, I feel like Diamonds get full (not continental) complimentary breakfast at probably ~half of all Hiltons/DT or more. And whether/not the Diamond gets free full breakfast downstairs does not seem to correlate with whether/not there's an EL there. PLEASE KEEP THE LOUNGES, AND OPEN MORE!

Originally Posted by delinquentwoody View Post
In USA status is given away for next to nothing with credit cards so there are many more people who are Diamond status than would otherwise be, leading to a dilution of the EL offering. However in Europe not so many credit cards exist, so most people have to earn status the traditional way - so the lounges aren't particularly overrun.
Quite frankly I'm getting tired of reading this argument. Diamond is not being given away. Aspire card is $450/year. Only way to make that really worthwhile is to stay at Hilton a lot. Last year (as a matched Diamond member who otherwise would've been Silver), I spent >$6000+tax on 25-30 nights as a leisure traveler. Even with that level of loyalty and spending, are you saying I shouldn't have a path to Diamond perks? Plus, US lounges are typically not overcrowded. I can't remember the last time I couldn't get a seat at a US EL. I don't know about Europe. But it's actually in Asia where I've most often encountered lack of seats.
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