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Editor’s Note

Attention to detail is an important element in any business. Morris Zale once said to me, “The jewelry business is a business of details.” In the jewelry business another element that is an important detail is security. It is a topic that is of constant interest and concern. The following letter to the Hilton Corporation from Abe Sherman is a perfect example of paying attention to details and security and. Abe connects the dots by observing a situation that has a security implication and does something about it.

With the shows in Las Vegas looming ever so soon, it seems to us that the show management people would carry a lot more weight than a single guest in addressing the question with the many hotels in Las Vegas.

Abe’s efforts were, lets say acknowledged in a recent letter from the Manager of Guest
Assistance at the Hilton Corporation. They will in the future send an e-folio to guests who have their e-mail on file with Hilton. Ms. Evonne Moye’ concluded her letter to Sherman by stating, “The Voice of our Customers” is critical in making enhancements and/or adjustments to our processes and I certainly appreciate your feedback.”

January 18, 2014

Dear Hilton,

Hilton has a security issue.

I work in the jewelry industry and security is a concern of mine and everyone else in the business. For the past two years I have tried to get my home address (as well as the home addresses of my staff) removed from the bills shoved under my door overnight on the last day of my stay at Hilton hotels. I have also tried to get Hilton to email my bills upon checkout but apparently, there isn’t a way to request this on your website or any other way to go paperless. I book my travel online, receive my confirmations online and would appreciate the option of getting my final bill online.

Two days ago, when leaving my hotel room at a Hilton property near Napa, CA, I saw the checkout bill for the room across the hall from me lying on the hall floor, with perhaps a ¼ of it under the door. I don’t know who was staying in that room, but if I wanted to, I could just pick up that bill and see their name and address. Who cares, you may ask? Well, the women I work with care.

My team and I do onsite consulting for jewelry stores all over the country and while we don’t carry merchandise, our visits could easily be misinterpreted as sales calls with the assumption that we are carrying merchandise and not computers in our bags. For your information crime against jewelry stores and jewelry sales personnel is a major problem for the industry and law enforcement. The perpetrators would know what we looked like, our names, and where we live. A friend of mine – a sales rep for a jewelry manufacturer - was followed from a store and held up outside his hotel at gunpoint. Our security concerns are real.

I have called Hilton at least three times over the past two years (when I find bills laying out in the halls) and each time when I explain my concerns, I’m told by your customer service reps, “Gee, I’ve never thought of that, but removing home addresses is a great idea” to, “Well, just let them know when you check in that you don’t want a paper receipt.”

There are four areas that I believe will be served by removing addresses or better, going paperless:

Security: First of all, this is a much bigger problem than my issue. This is a security problem that should be addressed at the highest corporate level at Hilton. Any woman traveling alone has a tough enough time without having to worry that someone who saw her walking into her Hilton hotel room would be able to pick up the bill (or even pluck it from the door were it not shoved all the way under) during the night, and thus know her name and address.

Cost Savings: Second, I KNOW where I live… having that information printed out on my receipt is unnecessary as well as costly. How many millions of dollars does it cost Hilton worldwide each year to print out millions of receipts and have staff running all over hotels during the wee hours to push them under doors? With 642,000 rooms worldwide, let’s say Hilton sells approximately 164,000,000 room nights a year (at 70% occupancy). Cut that by a third for multi-night stays and you are printing at least 55,000,000 bills, many with more than one sheet.

Environment: You ask me to hang up my towels, and I hang up my towels. You want to walk the walk? Stop printing paper unless it’s requested upon checkout. These bills just wind up getting shredded. This unnecessary process costs everyone time and money. I have my Amex receipts and if you email me, I’ll have all of my Hilton receipts in one place. Printing paper makes no sense.

Public Relations: If, heaven forbid, a Hilton guest were followed home and the source of that information were found to be a Hilton hotel bill, it would get even more costly as a public relations nightmare for Hilton. I’ve asked to speak with someone at Hilton who can remove my name from the invoices, but no one knows who that might be at Hilton. I’ve asked to speak with security and the answer is: “not possible.”

I’ve asked people in customer service to help me edit my profile without my address – again not possible. With the recent Snowden / NSA debacle and the even more recent hacking of Target’s credit card numbers, protecting one’s privacy/security is ever-more top of mind. There is no reason that anyone walking through a hotel hallway should have easy access to learn who I am and where I live. Add to this the many thousands of front desk workers, who really only need to know my name and Hilton Honors number. Show ID upon check-in, no problem… I understand security.

I would appreciate it if someone would let me know there is a way to deal with this issue. I’ve grown weary of leaving messages with people who are going to have other people get back to me, and no one does.


Abe Sherman, CEO
Buyers Intelligence Group

Hilton Honors Member #
Address, of course, withheld.

AT: 05/01/2014 02:39:44 PM   LINK TO THIS ARTICLE

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