Spending money in hotels that don’t appreciate our business

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

There are a growing number of African Americans who feel they are treated unfairly by hotels that take their money. They honestly don’t feel they are given the same respect or amenities that their White counterparts are given. This feeling is not just relegated to the hotel industries but it is an area causing lots of talk in the Black community—especially as boycotting some of these hotels is considered.

Our money spends like everyone else’s, and we are not getting anything free. Therefore we should not have to feel we are being talked down to or subjected to scrutiny, especially by hotel security when it comes to predominately Black businesses and organizations doing business at these hotels. It seems that security is pumped up with participants at predominantly Black affairs unduly watched and made to feel uncomfortable. Many attending Blacks affairs accuse security of making little (if any) attempt to use diplomacy in enforcing what they consider noise or crowd control. Too often, hotel security literally barricades the halls, entrances to hospitality suites and ballrooms—readily shutting down activities it’s considered it too loud or overcrowded. What makes it so insulting is that this treatment seems to be directed primarily at Black groups. It appears that once they get our business, they believe they can treat us any way they feel and we have no recourse.

If there is flagrant violation of general policies, there should be equal enforcement to combat the problems across the board—regardless of the group hosting the event. However, it is a contention among many Blacks that some hotels publically target Black organizations. If these hotels truly feel predominately Black groups present an impending problem, there should exist some formidable way of communicating to the parties involved and respectfully and diplomatically eliminating the problems if they occur.

The truth is that African American organizations shouldn’t patronize hotels that take our money and don’t honor our feelings. So many times we look the other way and tolerate this abuse, just to say we had a function at a nice classy venue. But we as African Americans should adamantly refuse to be treated differently because of our race. We should demand the same respect and professional services afforded to all, regardless of race. It is no secret that several predominantly White groups that frequent these hotels get buck wild, loud, and excessively drunk. However, they are not policed or subjected to the same treatment as Black organizations. Black planning committees should seriously consider this when considering a hotel for future events.

When you look at the monies we bring to these hotels, we should not hesitate to explicitly express what we expect. Our guests and participants at functions at the hotel should be given the utmost respect unless they are a threat to themselves or others. But the first step to eliminating any problem is to approach it with respect and diplomacy. Often the problem can be eradicated with no feelings hurt. That should be one of the first lessons taught in ‘Running a Hotel 101.’ Preferential treatment should not be subjected to some groups, but all groups should be treated equally.

African Americans must learn to spend money in venues that truly appreciate their business. If possible, contribute to venues in the Black community—even if it means building our own facilities. We should not continue to patronize hotels with few Black employees, extremely high prices when it comes to servicing Blacks, and unduly discriminatory security practices. Our money is green too.