Submit Press release  eTN Team ·  Advertising  ·  eTN Awards  - Worldtourism Events    

The Curious Case Of The NY Hilton

If this is the new NY Hilton I prefer the old one

Dr. Elinor Garely, eTN  Jan 03, 2010

With a great deal of fanfare the New York Hilton invited a few hundred friends and family to witness the renovation of a few of the ballrooms (Trianon and Mercury). Greetings started at the lobby level with a personal escort from a hotel staffer to the elevator (the express escalator to the ballrooms was shut down). Well, I thought, this is a nice touch of Hilton hospitality, until the security guard operating the elevator told me to get off the elevator, saying, “This is reserved for important people, please take another elevator.”

Even with my Fendi mink coat and Gucci boots I did not look important enough to ride on her elevator! As I stepped off, greeter number 1 told me to get back on the elevator. Dutifully I returned and received a very unpleasant look from "Ms. Security." Now she had no choice but to close the doors and take me to the ballroom level.

As I headed to the party, I heard Ms. Security tell a hotel guest that he should get off her elevator – because he was NOT an important person. He obliged. Mr. Hotel Guest and I spoke briefly; he said, “I thought in this economic climate that every guest was important – I guess this is not the case at the Hilton.” He stood, patiently waiting for an elevator that would take him to his floor and perhaps an employee who would consider him important!

The Event
I finally found the party. I purposely arrived on time with the hope of having a few minutes to meet with the Hilton VIPs. I have fond memories of the Shanghai Hilton, the graciousness of Heinz Schwander, the GM, and his terrifically professional staff. Very often the GM, the comptroller, and others at the top of the PRC pyramid spent time in the lobby – personally meeting and chatting with hotel guests: public relations at its best!

Anticipating the opportunity to meet some of the newer members of the Hilton team, I walked into the ballroom and was greeted by women dressed in costume (Marie Antoinette) walking the floor (on stilts) and young men bouncing on something that looked like curved pogo sticks. Where were the Hilton executives? Talking to each other!

To add to the uniqueness of this event, the “entertainment” included Victoria Secret-type pole dancers without their poles but with scanty lingerie. They spent the evening tugging at the elastic on their bra straps and g-strings and caressing their bodies. One of the guests wanted to know if the “ladies” were sponsored by Tiger Woods or hotel guests trying to earn money to pay for their hotel room.

Here Comes the Queen
So here we have almost naked women and stilted Marie Antoinette. To this moment I cannot figure out the reason for selecting the French Queen Consort of France (wife of Louis XVI, 1755-1793). Marie was not into hospitality. After learning of the bread shortages that were occurring in Paris at the time of Louis XVI's coronation in Rheims, Marie is noted as saying, “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake.” (The Queen did not have a happy ending; she was guillotined during the French Revolution).

New Target Markets
Is there a new market niche that I have missed: Executioners’ Associations, Roadside Bar and Dancers’ Association? I do know there is an association of strippers. (I remember the strippers had a holiday party many years ago at the Copacabana and the guest count may have been approximately 200 people). Is the market large enough to warrant an entire party to seduce them to having their next annual event at the NY Hilton?

I even asked my marketing students if they could find a connection: Victoria Secret-clad dancers, Marie Antoinette, and business meetings, and they were stumped (so it is not an age thing). I did ask the Hilton executives for an explanation and aside from telling me they liked to see women dancing (with little clothing on) there was no additional information available.

Differences Between Executive Men and Women?
I am not sure that I am ready and willing to accept the new NY Hilton. I was much happier with the old, conservative, even stodgy NY Hilton. At least this image was PC (politically correct).

If this is the new NY Hilton I prefer the old one
Image via

Premium Partners