After a long hiatus, we selected to work with the Hilton Charlotte University Place for a new product launch. A major portion of our program depended on test drive space and the ability to stage our vehicles inside the property. After the vehicles were staged, the property's head of security, Keith Gaskins, demanded that the vehicles be removed and drained of all fluid. Because industry standard is 1/4 tank of gas or less, the event team didn't understand why Mr. Gaskins was so vehemently demanding that the vehicles be removed from the room. His tone and demeanor were beyond aggressive and bordered on threatening. He yelled at the team that he "was no bell hop and knew what he was talking about. I am the law when I step on property and I am not backing down." He then went on to say "I doubt your decision to use this property depends so heavily on your ability to bring cars inside."
At no time did our salesperson, Sara White, request that all vehicles be completely dry of gas, nor did she try to diffuse the situation or protect the event team from this completely inappropriate and unprofessional behavior. She merely stood along side Mr. Gaskins, avoiding my calls that were made to the cellphone she was holding in her hand during Mr. Gaskins' tirade.
The next day, when I called the General Manager, he was oblivious to the severity of the prior evening's activity. He was surprised to hear my side and said he would look into it and get back to me. He never did. Instead, I received a phone message from the Sales & Marketing Director who apologized and assured me everything had been resolved. When I returned the call to the Sales & Marketing Director, I was informed that he had left for the day. So, I left him a message to inquire as to how the situation had been resolved and why the General Manager had not called me. The next day I received a call from and spoke directly with the Sales & Marketing Director who admitted a mistake was made (Mr. Gaskins was wrong about the policy and unprofessional to say the least) and that they would ensure that the rest of the program would go off seamlessly.
I never heard from anyone else until I received an email from Sara White inquiring about an outstanding balance on our account. An amount that was pennies on the dollar compared to the tens of thousands we spent with the property. Not to mention that the day after the "incident" the hotel Sales team actually asked if they could show our set up to prospective clients to exhibit how flexible the space was.
After spending three days at the Hilton and hosting approximately 400 people, the experience that resonates the most is how horrible the move in process was and how horribly it was handled by management.
I hope other groups have a better experience.