How to Avoid Age Discrimination in Hotel Business

Why Don’t Guests Respect Our ‘Adults Only’ Invitations?

Guest Relations at my last job, a call center, was all about respect. “We are adults. We will treat you like adults and respect you with all our hearts and souls.” We would respond by saying, “Well, all our hearts and souls are for you.” At some point, we had to come to the realization that this response was not sincere. If the caller or the person on the other end of the line thought they were speaking to a real human being they would get a real response—a smile, a laugh, and a warm handshake.

I’m sure most of you are aware of the fact that most hotels in the United States have closed to people over the age of 50. I would be surprised if you are not. How can such an action be justified? What is the purpose of age discrimination? Is it because they are afraid of our geriatric needs and needs for entertainment or their own retirement? These businesses seem to think age is a barrier for guests, and by closing to people over 50 they are ensuring that this barrier will remain between their customers and their business for many years to come.

I’ve discussed the issue of age discrimination at length with guests. I know many of you have a great deal of experience with this subject. My husband, who is well versed in such things, has often pointed out to us how age discrimination really hurts the business of a hotel. What is the best way to approach someone who makes such a decision? Most people think younger people will be more accepting, but they rarely are. Older people simply don’t think in terms of how they would behave in a similar situation. For instance, at my son’s hotel we frequently had older people from his generation show up in our lobby. Although they did not speak to us, they did not feel comfortable and kept their distance. If this is the case, why would people of any age feel better about dealing with someone who looks like they don’t know you

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