19 April, 2006

Fran O'Brien's: What Now?

Based on the interview with Capital Hilton's General Manager, it sounds like it isn't going to be possible for Fran O'Brien's to stay at their current location. But there are several actions you can take that may yet produce something good.

  1. Follow through on the threats that were made to the Hilton brand. The decision to toss Fran's was made at the local level. It was a bad business decision, and the corporate offices are likely to recognize that. If they hear from you (#5 below) and see that they have lost you as a Hilton customer, there is still a chance they will intercede at the Capital Hilton.
  2. Sign the petition. I don't think this will change the local hotel's actions, but it is part of getting corporate Hilton's attention.
  3. Donate to the charity that has been set up to fund the dinners at an alternate location.
  4. Contact your congressional representatives, as Lex has long suggested.
  5. Write to Hilton's corporate offices. If you haven't yet written, or (like me) you contacted Doyle or Kelleher, you were dealing only with the local Hilton (Capital Hilton). Now is the time to take it to the corporate level (see below). We overwhelmed the Capital Hilton with email and phone calls; we can do it again at the corporate level.
I admit, I was discouraged to read the interview with Kelleher and realize how clueless and intractable he seems to be on this subject. But now is not the time to let up. If we do, we will be seen as nothing more than the paper tigers we would be. There's been a lot of tough talk about what a terrible mistake Hilton is making. Let's be sure to show them how badly they've screwed up. At the very least we are upholding a standard for other businesses who be faced with similar decisions in the future.

Alright, go back and look at the list above and get to work! I'm going to be packing for DC tonight (the Milblog Conference), but I will be finding the time to do some of the things on that list. You can, too.

Corporate Contacts for Hilton:

Kathy Shepard
Vice President - Corporate Communications
Hilton Hotels Corporation

Atish Shah - Vice President - Investor Relations

Linda Bain - Vice President of Group Communications

Madeleine Kleiner - Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel

Hilton Corporation Board of Directions:

Donna Tuttle: Partner Elmore/Tuttle Sports Group West Valley City Utah (minor league sports franchises) : President Korn Tuttle Capital Group Los Angeles California
John L. Notter: Chairman and President ; Westlake Properties Inc. Westlake Village California (hotel and real estate development company)
John H. Myers: President and CEO ; GE Asset Management Incorporated ; Stamford Connecticut
Benjamin V. Lambert: Chairman and CEO ; Eastdil Realty Company LLC New York (Real Estate investment bankers)
Christine Garvey: Real Estate Consultant Santa Barbara California
A. Steven Crown: General Partner ; Henry Crown and Company Chicago Illinois (real estate ventures)
Sam D. Young: Chairman Trans West Enterprises ; Reno Nevada
Peter M. George: Senior Vice President International Development ; Harrahs Entertainment, Inc. Las Vegas Nevada (hotel and gaming company)

[Background on the Fran O'Brien's story here.]