... from the desk of Roger Sullivan

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Taking entrepreneurialism to new heights

Under the "One China Two Systems" approach to hotel space management, several members of the Liberty Alliance Sponsor meeting recently held at the Hong Kong Excelsior Hotel were denied rooms when checking in last week.

Under "unavoidable" and "extraordinary" circumstances we were left to hang about in the hotel lobby from 8:00 PM when we arrived (after 24 hours in-transit on average) until an "estimated" 11:00 PM. You can only imagine the mental and physical distress. We were all trying to maintain some reasonable modicum of social decorum while trying to politely but very firmly state our displeasure at the inconvenience. We were, after all, spending a good deal of money on the hotel as a meeting venue and could not possibly imagine the "circumstances" that the hotel had suffered. We had all booked more than a month previous and the hotel was well aware of the arrival dates and times.

We could not get a clear response to our questions. Indeed, we couldn't get any response at all. Speculation ran from some sort of police situation to a broken water main. Both of which drew at least some level of sympathy for the hotel management as being events clearly out of their control.

However, about 10:00 PM we began to notice groups of airline flight crews coming down the elevators and checking out. Soon thereafter, room keys became available to the waiting Liberty Alliance and other guests camped out in the lobby.

It would seem that the hotel had figured out a way to get double revenue for a single room. When a guest checks out in the morning, the hotel books the room to an airline crew for the day. When the airline crew checks out for their evening flight, the room is now billed (for the second time that day) to the waiting guest.

Two systems indeed!

P.S. In full disclosure, I received a room when I arrived. However, in sympathy for my traveling companions, I waited up with them (at least for part of the time) until exhaustion over came my empathetic feelings.


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