Monday, February 6, 2012

“About Us” Evaluation: Hilton Gets a B+

Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in 1919 and rapidly expanded acquisitions after World War II. Hilton Hotels became the first coast-to-coast hotel chain in the United States, the first to install televisions in guest rooms, the first to build an airport hotel, the first to offer multi-hotel reservations …. The list goes on. Today there are more than 530 Hilton-branded hotels in 78 countries, on six continents. Hilton’s About Us page is here.


Accessibility: A

The footer of every page has a link to a Customer Support page with separate contact information for comments on a recent stay, reservations, rewards program, travel agents, and so on. As always when faced with an online form for email, we wish the page included an option for sending a copy of this message ourselves, in case we need to follow up.

Products/Services: A+

Hilton’s About Us page offers one the best summary of a company that we’ve seen. The first paragraph states the size of the company and emphasizes the quality of its product. It ends with a great description that will appeal to almost everyone, at some point: “Hilton is where the world makes history, closes the deal, toasts special occasions and gets away from it all.”

The second paragraph, under the heading “The Industry Standard,” summarizes Hilton’s innovations: first hotel to install televisions in guest rooms, first airport hotel, etc. The next two paragraphs briefly cover Hilton staff and philanthropic activities.

The hierarchy and the amount of space devoted to each topic on this opening page are perfect. Even better, the information fits on a single screen. The only improvement we’d suggest is having links in the text to further information, such as news stories on inaugural balls held at the Hilton or specific philanthropic activities. This would give readers the option of learning more, and would also visually break up the dense block of text.

Personality: D

We like that the About Us page has a menu with links to each of the Hilton chains (Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, etc.), and that the page for each of those chains has its own distinctive look and a satisfying number photos.

On the down side, it’s a pity that Hilton’s many awards are buried in a Fact Sheet that’s only accessible via a link in the Quick Facts box at the right side of the About Us page. For a prize-winning company, a separate awards page would be reasonable. Likewise, a company that’s been around for nearly a century could appropriately have a separate page for the timeline that’s also now buried on the Fact Sheet.

But these points are minor compared to the single glaring omission on Hilton’s site. Only one time (on the Fact Sheet) does the Hilton site mention its founder, Conrad Hilton. Hilton was a pioneer in the hospitality industry and one of its dominant figures for decades. His autobiography, Be My Guest, is still recommended reading for people in the advertising and hospitality industries.


Even when a company goes global and nears its centennial, it should remind clients of its roots—especially when the fame of its founder reaches far beyond the industry.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.