- Berlin hotel affair on Israel country phone code
- Marriott affair on Arabian hotel guest
- Thoughtless statements and actions can lead to international involvements
Berlin, Germany – 16th of August, 2016
Berlin affair hits the headlines: French movie maker Claude Lanzmann, who directed the very popular film ‘Shoa’ about the Holocaust, claimed that the Berlin Kempinski Hotel Bristol hadn’t listed Israel’s country phone code in their phone list. Apparently, a receptionist gave information, that this is because many guests from the Arabian countries would not want to read Israel’s name anywhere in the hotel. Of course, Kempinski directly rejected the reproach and added the country code ++972 to the lists.
The hotel chain stated that the phone list was restricted to a total of 35 countries and that there was no other reason why Israel didn’t appear. However, the public complaint about why Israel needs to be defended in a luxury hotel in Berlin – as claimed by Mr Lanzmann – shows why communication trainings are of great importance for hotel employees. Thoughtless statements and actions can lead to international involvements.
Remember the Marriott affair one month ago: A receptionist at Fairfield Inn & Suites in Avon/Ohio – a franchise partner of Marriott Int. – called the police because an Arabian guest wearing traditional UAE clothing entered the lobby while talking Arabian on the phone. The front desk clerk thought he would be an ISIS fighter. After officers had handcuffed the business man, it quickly became clear that he was not a terrorist. Because of this happening, the government of the United Arab Emirates warn their inhabitants not to travel to the US in their traditional clothes; or even to reconsider all travels to the States…
Shortly later, Marriott International published an official excuse: ‘Marriott International is aware of the incident that occurred at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, in Avon, Ohio that resulted in a gentleman who entered the hotel being apprehended and briefly detained by local authorities. This was a terrible misunderstanding and we deeply regret what happened to Mr. Al Menhali. Diversity and inclusion is a core principle of Marriott’s operations and we remain committed to providing a welcoming environment. We have been in regular contact with the hotel since the incident and we will be following up to discuss diversity and inclusion training designed to help prevent this type of situation.’
This ‘misunderstanding’ demonstrates the power of statements and actions of every single staff member. Hotels need to organise intense trainings to demonstrate their staff the importance of communications in modern times. This is especially important with guests from Israel and Arabian countries. No matter if the majority of your Western home town is white, welcoming guests from other countries, who wear thawb and guthra, is one of the most important principles of hospitality. Every hotel is part of the ‘land of religious freedom’. The latest incident is like a memorial for the hospitality industry worldwide. Always remember, as stated by Marriott, ‘we remain committed to providing a welcoming environment’.