There are lots of things that happen at hotels, and many of them are not positive. Hoteliers need to accept that reality.
I find it increasingly interesting that the hotel industry is focused on delivering guests “experiences.” That seems to be something of a loaded term, because in a literal sense every hotel stay ever has been an experience, no matter how boring and mundane or disappointing or wonderful it might have been.
I wrote about the topic in the not-too-distant past. But I was inspired to do so again based on some reason news events.
Just this week, a story about a risqué fundraising event attended by some bigwigs and celebrities (which involved rampant sexual harassment and abuse) has dominated the news cycle in the U.K., casting a negative light on the host venue, The Dorchester hotel in London.
Hoteliers like to think of their properties as places where good and happy things happen. It’s where you get your much-needed rest during business and leisure travel. Meetings rooms are where important deals get done. Banquet halls serve as the venue for reuniting with family and friends, and for weddings and receptions.
But it’s important to remember that hotels aren’t just where events or “experiences” happen, they are where life happens. And life is often messy and negative, as the news often reminds us.
Here at Hotel News Now, our days often start by combing through the news to see what might be going on that’s relevant to our readership. This includes spotting, and largely discarding, various reports from around the globe of all sorts of violence and crimes that hotels unwittingly play host to.
No hotelier wants to think about the fact that his or her hotel could be the site of some awful and life-altering crime. But it’s something that happens every day, and in many—possibly most—cases there is little to nothing the team on that property could have done to change things.
This probably seems like it’s all adding up to some sort of depressing message of fatalism, but I don’t intend it to.
It’s just a reminder that you don’t have the ability to control everything, and that’s not necessarily the end of the world.
It’s understandable why hotels don’t want to be tied to negative events, especially in this era of alarming transparency and the omnipresent review culture. But at the same time, I think it’d be foolish to assume that this latest controversy is going to sink The Dorchester. It’s a property that weathered World War II; I’m pretty sure it can survive this.
Indeed some hotels end up translating controversy and notoriety into part of their appeal. Look at The Watergate Hotel, which has leveraged its unique place in history into a marketing vehicle, labeling room 214 as the “Scandal Room.”
Obviously there are circumstances where that won’t, and shouldn’t, take place. I hope I never live to see the day where any Las Vegas hotel is marketing around the recent mass shooting.
But the point remains. Any quest for perfection, including seeking nothing but some “perfect” guest experience, is unattainable. And that’s fine.
The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact and editor with any questions or concerns.