As a continued reader of my blog (huge assumption here) I suspect by now you know that I travel a lot.  I also stay in hotels often. Many different brands in many different cities. I’m partial to the Hilton Brand. I enjoy their hotel “product” at the price point that they tend to offer them at.  As such, Hilton, and their affiliate brands are my first choice when I have an option.

Fast forward to October 2019, I was speaking in Atlanta. The day before I checked in I received a message from the hotel I was staying at.  I suppose getting a message is not out of the ordinary and doesn’t really stand out, because they generally send them via email. Except this one did stand out for me because I received it via their app on my phone. 

The message was “Welcome to DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta Airport. We hope you have a great time – let us know if there’s anything we can do to make that happen!”

Um…Awesome!  Now that is an over deliver and surprise at the same time. I never expected it, and certainly have never received one before. In fact, this is the first message I have ever received from a Hilton branded hotel via their app on my phone.

I replied with :”Thanks for the note. This is a first. As someone that speaks nationally about how to get more referrals and stand out, you’ve achieved that! Well done.”

Then Shea replied back with “YAY!! Glad we were able to achieve a positive goal for you”

HMMM. I’m glad Shea was happy, but I’m not certain it was a goal for me …but OK. No worries. I’m still super happy that they are doing this for their guests. It’s pretty cool.

Then it got a bit weird…

Around 1pm on the day of check in, I’m on my flight and I get another message from them asking about the cleanliness and friendliness of the stay was. So I replied…

“Not there yet. Whoops! I’m on my flight. I land in 30 mins.”

Shouldn’t they know that I haven’t checked in yet? I know that their systems know this information.  Seems like the process is out of whack, and it’s messaging folks before they check in.

I arrive in Atlanta and I checked into my room, and the wifi wouldn’t work, so I called the front desk and the phone in the room wouldn’t connect to the front desk. Even the annoying hotel ad channel on the TV wasn’t working.

So I dialed the hotel from my cell phone. They gave me a promo code to access wifi instead of using my room number and last name.  Boom, I’m on WiFi.

After 9pm that night I received a text message to my phone (not the app this time) that says “Good evening Mr. Wade. It is great to have you with us at DoubleTree Atlanta Airport. We are committed to Make it right, How is everything? – Alicia”

I couldn’t help but think…well now this is why I couldn’t access WiFi. Cause they have my name wrong.  So I texted them back:

“It’s Ward. Not Wade. Maybe that’s why the WiFi wouldn’t work <shrug emoji>”

No response. No worries. I guess I wasn’t really looking for one.

I wake up the next day, get to my speaking event, speak, hop into an uber and head to the airport. I’m at the airport when the hotel text’s me again.  Not with a reply from the previous conversation…but with this…

“Just checking in–how is the cleanliness and the friendliness of your stay so far? Have a great day!”



Look, these folks were friendly, no question!  I have no issue of any kind with that. However, friendliness won’t get you referrals. It’s not enough.


Clearly they are using some technology that allows them to message guests via the app and via text, but you have to implement the technology correctly, otherwise it backfires.


The intent to connect and over deliver was clearly there, however because of their inefficient processes or communication, they failed to over deliver, and in fact under delivered, considering the final text.

I wanted this experience to work. I wanted to be blown away by what they were attempting to do, and I likely would have had a story for the stage for the rest of my life …but sadly it resulted in a series of lessons for my blog to share with others what happens when you try too hard, and have to process in place to effectively close the loop. There is no way I was the first person to get into this process, and it makes me wonder how long it will take to fix it!

I hope they do, cause I love the Hilton brand, but let’s not confuse being a fan of a brand with being blind to the holes in the customer experience.

Fix it Hilton…until then…I’ll still stay at your hotels…and I hope next time I can #High5 your front desk clerk!

Until Next Time, don’t forget to 

Live Happy,

Smile A lot, and 

#High5 Everyone Around You!