Hotels & Prejudice

I was at an event recently where I met a very cool #GirlBoss who has created a recruitment platform called CandiRight which eradicates unconscious bias. You set up your profile leaving out your name, gender, age, race, ethnicity and education, anything that could lead to unconscious bias in the selection process. The aim is to ensure that all CandiRight users are viewed equally, fairly and objectively.

Unconscious bias is defined by the ECU as ‘our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.’ They go on to explain that ‘our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experience.’

I’ve since been thinking about the event world and my own personal bias of hotels and venues. Obviously, I need to completely switch this off when a new enquiry comes through – just because a venue is not one that I personally like doesn’t mean that it might not be absolutely perfect for the client.

One hotel chain springs to mind that I only ever associate with business trips so when I’m looking for a place to stay on holiday I immediately discount any hotels from that chain. Last year whilst travelling about Vietnam with my husband our plan for an overnight cruise in Ha Long bay was scuppered due to bad weather. The tour company had to book us into a hotel in Hanoi very last minute and when the news reached me of the hotel we were staying in I sarcastically huffed ‘Oh great, another work hotel’. Tired, grumpy, hangry and stiff after 4 hours in a mini bus we arrived at our hotel and I was more than ready to start critiquing every inch of it to let my disapproval be known.

I was pleasantly surprised as we entered, our bags were taken from us and we were escorted up to the 8th floor for an executive check in. Complimentary refreshments were offered whilst the paperwork was sorted and the staff double checked that one of the restaurants was still able to serve us a very late supper.

The next morning after a deep sleep I woke in time for a wonderful buffet breakfast and discovered an outdoor roof top swimming pool and sun deck, two fine dining restaurants and a great little coffee shop serving the super strength Vietnamese coffee we had grown so fond of. With time to kill before a flight to Hoi An we decided to take a walk and get our bearings.
Wide, open streets, pedestrians able to walk on the pavement without having to weave in and out of scooters, a beautiful Opera House, high end shops (purely for window shopping!) luscious parks and little greens. It was a completely different Hanoi to the one we had been in and such a welcome break after the madness of the place we had been staying. Had we not stayed in my ‘work hotel’ as a ‘last resort’ we would have never discovered this beautiful, near tranquil, part of Hanoi.

I always strongly recommend that our clients attend site visits, meet the venue team, see the space, walk the flow of the event, do the journey and explore the surrounding area before making a decision on a venue. A website, photographs and online reviews can’t do a venue or hotel justice, it is always about experience and service, these are things you have do to yourself.

I’m proud to say that whilst organising our holiday this year I booked a hotel from my ‘work hotel’ chain – looks like I’m not that set in my ways after all!