Hilton Hotels Shine in Blackout

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Aug. 21, 2003—Hilton Hotels Corporation reported today that a review of all 21 affected properties showed that the company`s prepared emergency contingency plans worked as planned during last Thursday`s “blackout,” one of the worst power outages in U.S. history. Guests at all hotels in the Hilton Family affected by the emergency had no problems accessing their rooms while steps were taken to ensure their safety and well-being. Each hotel in the Hilton system went far beyond just switching to back-up electrical power; team members and general managers at each property went above and beyond to make the best of a challenging situation.
Hilton president and CEO Steve Bollenbach had just arrived at the company`s famed flagship Waldorf=Astoria last Thursday when the “blackout” occurred. He later thanked team members for their efforts at the affected properties. “Our team is really fantastic,” Bollenbach stated. “Great work everybody, you all did the same terrific job.” Waldorf=Astoria general manager Eric Long and his hotel staff provided dinner for all guests, checked in guests without computers, and provided space in the hotel lobby for everyone who was stranded. Hundreds of hotel employees lit candles and held flashlights to help guests find their way. In Times Square, Hilton Times Square general manager Russell Menkes had the back-up electrical generators activated, which powers key systems at the property for up to 24 hours. “All our contingency plans went smoothly,” said Menkes. “Our food and beverage staff served a breakfast to everyone the following morning.” At the Hilton New York, word went out to treat every visitor as if they were a registered hotel guest. A buffet was set up to feed hundreds of people stranded in the hotel lobby. Although the hotel was full, cots were set up in conference rooms for everyone that needed a place to stay the night. According to Jan Larsen, general manager at the Millenium Hilton, emergency lighting and power functioned as designed while all guests were fed complimentary meals.
As the afternoon of the blackout turned to evening, the Hilton Cleveland East and Embassy Suites Hotel Beachwood had no power or water. Complimentary buffets were set up to serve hundreds of hungry and thirsty guests.
Other properties under the Hilton umbrella responded to the power crisis equally well. At the Embassy Suites Hotel in Battery Park, the kitchen fed all guests and all team members stranded at the hotel. Glow sticks and flashlights along with news updates were personally delivered to every suite. At the Doubletree Hotel Detroit Metropolitan Airport, general manager Larry Manning rushed to obtain some electrical generators to power halogen lights around the common areas and distributed 400 neon glow sticks; spirits were lifted as an impromptu guest party ensued. The restaurant kept food service going, providing cold sandwiches and bottles of water for everyone until power was restored.
Hilton Hotels Corporation is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises 2,100 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world`s best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R). For more information, visit our corporate website at www.hiltonworldwide.com.