2018: The year of hotel industry bans
2018: The year of hotel industry bans
15 OCTOBER 2018 7:32 AM

Hotels rightly ban certain things, and 2018 has been a stellar year for such prohibiting activity. Maybe 2019 will see hotel chains ban resort fees?

Hotel executives are banning everything.

Expect more bans at a hotel near you soon.

This is all good stuff, if you agree with what is being prohibited. But it does raise an interesting question as to the role of hotels and hotel chains in efforts to make a better world.

It could be argued there is an economic benefit from these bans for the hotel, but I believe that is a churlish argument.

On the other side, a good ban might add cost to the hotel that might or might not be transferred to a customer, who might or might not feel peeved about bearing the cost of a hotel’s do-gooding.

Hotels are the welcome mats and ambassadors for travelers around the world, and it is a good thing that hotels make a stand for what their employees believe in, whether there are savings or added costs, and regardless of who ends up paying for these beliefs.

Here are some recent bans from hotels:

Scandic Hotels is banning caged-hen eggs: The company is quick to state most of its eggs are already free-range ones, but started completely phasing out all caged-hen eggs as of last month.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation last week enacted a ban against hate groups, with CEO Mark Hoplamazian stating that “if a group is primarily focused on disparaging a group by virtue of their identity … that’s really where we need to draw the line. We’re going to apply our values to making these decisions along the way.”

Civil-liberty organizations might say such a ban is a slippery slope, but I think the line is between a meeting or conference eschewing some degree of hate, however small, and all other conferences where that clearly is nowhere on the agenda or the speakers’ agendas. Hoplamazian’s statement has very well-chosen words that I think make the difference obvious.

Several hotel chains are banning single-use plastics. And about time, too. I still inadvertently find myself on occasion holding a disposable coffee cup, and there is no excuse for it. It is laziness when hotel chains and other establishments offer discounts if people bring their own multi-use mugs.

Hotels should do more when it comes to toiletries. The expectations that guests perhaps have of upscale and luxury hotels cannot be an excuse for having more waste opportunities in the bathroom.

Going viral in early 2018 was the story of a Dublin hotelier banning all “entitled” social media influencers, while calling out a request for free accommodation from one such online presence. The influencer’s online video defense of her actions was clicked some quarter of a million times, so maybe the influencer benefitted from it all. Really, I do not know what to think. Either it is a sense of absolute entitlement or a new but proven marketing notion.

All-inclusive hotels in the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Majorca, or at least the tourism chiefs in government that regulate them, have banned unlimited free alcohol from such hotels. This has angered certain British newspapers, which decry the move as nothing more than a “Nanny State” dereliction of the right to go away for two weeks a year in guaranteed sunshine to get hammered, or at least that’s the way their copy seems to read to me.

There are some other things hotels also should ban, and I would start with resort or facility fees—or if not eliminating them, at least incorporating them into rack or package rates so guests do not feel nickel-and-dimed.

The headlines on resort fees do not use the words or phrases “banned,” “outlawed” or “consigned to the history books,” but rather “back in the spotlight,” “come under fire” and “the hidden fees costing British travelers.” So maybe we can expect or hope the banning continues in 2019.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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