Hilton exceed my expectations

Arriving at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham last night, the last thing in the world I wanted was a problem.
I’m tired and I just need a rest.
The hotel is heaving with guests, many of whom are connected to The Showcase in the NEC next door – at 8.30pm there is a long line of guests at registration – and I’m happy to be able to join the much shorter line for Hilton Honors card holders.
Our Polish desk clerk is polite and handles the process well – although there is the by now familiar exchange asking for a credit card swipe and explanation that our excellent booking agency (NGA) have already faxed “full account to company” details (we have to do this everywhere we go – conferencing in hotels never speak to reservations).
Arriving at the designated room on the 5th floor – I realise that it’s a twin not a double.
I don’t do twin-beds.
Leave bags in room – it’s now 8.45pm – and wander back down to reception and re-join queue at Honors check-in (thank God it’s not the main queue).
Back to Polish receptionist – who explains that “it’s not his fault” as the central booking system is a computer in America and there are no more double rooms available in the hotel.
I no longer speak with receptionists or restaurant managers at this point (that’s the it’s not my fault point).
Calmly I explain:

“Vladic – could you please arrange for me to speak with somebody who CAN help me?”

He sits me down in the business office and I wait 10 minutes until the duty manager Tina arrives – obviously a mature Brummie lass.
I equally calmly explain that I use Hilton up to 50 times a year, plus up to 20 conferences. That I have a Diamond VIP card with a shed-load of points – that on Monday in Watford they couldn’t find my booking, on Tuesday in Cobham they were faultless – and that I’m very tired and want to sleep in a double bed somewhere.
I give her my clear expectations:

  1. minimum expectation – a twin room with housekeeping called to shove the beds together and remake them as a double;
  2. middle expectation – find me a double room in another nearby hotel of a similar standard;
  3. best expectation – find me a double room here.

I then explain that I’m going for a club sandwich – have left my bags in the original room and will be back in 30 minutes.
What follows is a glass of rose and a club sandwich and a few chats with mates – notably Cathy Johnson and James Minns – both good old friends who I bump into in the bar.
30 minutes later Tina finds me – and hands over the door key to a 5th floor suite with living room, three leather sofas, a dining table that seats 8, a giant double bed and a magnificent bathroom with walk through shower and jacuzzi bath.
She has exceeded my expectations.
I go back downstairs and kiss her on the cheek after shaking her hand and saying “thank you”.
It’s 9.45pm.
Tina has been a talented ambassador for her employer – the reputation of Hilton is intact – and here I am telling you.
That’s how it works – I could have been a saboteur but I’m enrolled as a raving fan. It cost them 2 nights in a magnificent suite that would have otherwise been unoccupied.
And here I am at the dining table in my dressing gown and fluffy slippers (!) answering emails before I wander over the NEC to walk the floor.
Thank you Tina.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.