May 31, 2023

Team Hilton Celebrates Unprecedented Fifth Connie with Employee Celebration


The 450 or so employees of the Hilton Columbus Downtown are well accustomed to making guests feel welcomed, appreciated and taken care of. On May 16, it was their turn. The hotel management and the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority (FCCFA), its owner, celebrated winning the company’s top award for excellence — the Connie — by treating team members to a grand party with food, favors, drinks, a DJ and a champagne toast.

The Connie, named for company founder Conrad Hilton, is given each year to only one location in each Hilton brand and division — in this case, North American Hilton-branded hotels with more than 500 rooms. There are 49 in the U.S. and Canada, and the win for 2022 means the Hilton Columbus Downtown has taken home the prize for five out of its nine years of operation — the first five-time Connie winner in the U.S.

“This is a big deal,” Hilton General Manager Chris Coffin said before the team recognition event. “The team worked really hard, and this is a chance for them to kick back and celebrate.”

Senior Hilton leaders formed a receiving line outside the Aminah Robinson Ballroom, cheering and high-fiving employees as they arrived for the midday celebration. It stretched over three hours so that employees could attend in shifts without leaving any work uncovered.

The presentation kicked off with a giant-sized animated projection of the Connie bust seemingly coming to life, speaking of the ancient role of hospitality in spreading warmth, light and culture.

In thanking employees, Coffin recounted a year filled with challenges: “You may remember that our saying going in to 2022 was ‘Buckle up, buttercup — it’s going to be a bumpy year,’” he joked. Lingering COVID surges, complications with the renovation of the original Hilton 401 tower, onboarding 250 new employees and supply-chain construction challenges that delayed the 402 tower’s opening date all made that prediction come true.

But Team Hilton has plenty to celebrate in addition to its fifth Connie. Its food and beverage offerings, including the signature live-fire restaurant FYR and the stunning rooftop lounge Stories on High, are consistently packed and winning rave reviews. A world-class convention — ICMA, the International City/County Managers Association — on opening weekend went off without a hitch, followed in January by a well-reviewed gathering of PCMA, the international association of convention managers.

As part of the award celebration, FCCFA officials announced a new perk for employees: the Connie Room, a newly furnished lounge for resting and relaxing during breaks. It’s likely to come in handy; along with steady convention business, more world-class events to be announced this year and strong local patronage, Hilton employees will have ample opportunity to earn the Connie again in 2023.



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