British hoteliers are coming under fire for their aggressive interpretation of customer service: Beyond simply tracking the in-hotel preferences of their guests, hotels are getting into their customers’ private lives:
Information stored includes marital status, number of children, age, nationality, home town, pastimes and occupation. Some hotels store names of guests’ overnight companions and dining companions, whether they are heavy drinkers, have been rude or polite, whether they have paid for “adult films”, and whether they have used drugs or taken part in “immoral activities” such as using prostitutes.
Less sensitive records are kept of interests such as favourite sports, films, plays, books and newspapers. Hotels use internet searches and information gleaned by staff to form files that are distributed to doormen, receptionists, waiters and chambermaids – usually with downloaded pictures.
It gets better. Jumeirah Hotels has the honor of creeping me out the most:
“Doormen don’t just know guests’ names, they have their resumes. We Google it. We build a profile on all guests: their job, family, how many days they usually stay.” [Derek Picot, Jumeirah Hotels' regional general manager for Europe] said that “if a customer has misbehaved or done something that’s immoral or illegal, like drugs, we’d store that”.
Part of that is fine with me, frankly. How many days you’ve stayed… causing a ruckus on previous stays… that’s all fine. But why why why would a hotel need to collect data on the movies you watched? The guests you had with you in the room? Your resume?? How do those affect the hotel’s ability to serve you? What is check-in like? “Mr. Johnson, welcome back to the hotel! Congratulations on your recent transition to a new job! I’m also glad to see your female companion today is more attractive than your last en-suite partner! You may be pleased to know that we have some new big-bottom adult-film selections, which you enjoyed at such length on your last visit! Enjoy your stay!”
This takes excessive data collection and creepy intrusion into private life to a new level. And here I was, disturbed by some hotels’ tracking of where you moved your alarm clock a year ago. Silly me!
Cue 1980s Rockwell video that celebrates paranoia!: