A Real Wake-up Call

business events logoAndrew writes a monthly column for Business Events News (BEN) called “Confessions of a Compulsive Conference Goer” in which he discusses issues and observations from the conference front-line”
Business Events News is part of the Travel Daily group of publications which also include: Travel Daily, Cruise Weekly & Pharmacy Daily.

Andrew Klein, director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.


Let me confess. I’ve become a hotel snob. Since becoming a member of the speaking circuit almost 20 years ago, I’ve become accustomed to staying in really nice, cosy, comfy hotels.

Most conferences are held in luxury 4-5 star hotels, so that tends to be where the conference organisers put up their speakers. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of nights I’ve spent staying in lovely hotels around Australia and Asia – but it’s a lot.

Problem is, I can neither afford nor justify staying in the same level of accommodation when travelling with my family. Sure, I love them to bits and spoil them when I can (and if my wife is reading this ,‘Darling, you deserve only the very best!’), but work is work and family holidays are family holidays and, well, do I want my own kids to turn out as spoiled as me?

I’m ashamed to admit I have developed a severe case of Extreme Hotel Snobbery. It’s crept up on me slowly, but I’ve become accustomed to the luxury. My wife prefers the term ‘spoilt rotten’ which is probably more accurate. But having chatted with many of my PCO colleagues and fellow speakers, it seems I’m not the only one.

As a younger traveller, I never really minded where I stayed as long as it was clean. I didn’t notice the difference between a nice hotel and an average one. Give me a bed and a TV and I was happy. I even spent most of my childhood holidays camping with my parents and brothers and never minded roughing it one bit.

But while holidaying with my own kids recently, in a clean yet middle of the road 3.5 to 4 star hotel, I realised how drastically my standards have changed.

After checking in, I could not help but notice the tiled floor, the inadequately stocked mini bar (what, no Pringles?), the lack of bathrobes and the fact that the generic shampoo containers looked, well, plain.

The pillows were simply ‘normal’ pillows as opposed to the countless cushy options offered by the Sheratons or Hiltons of this world. I even caught myself looking for a ‘Pillow Menu’ which I’d recently enjoyed in my beautiful Ayers Rock Resort Hotel at a conference gig late last year.

A pillow menu? Really? How shallow and pampered has this conference industry made me?

My wife and kids were delighted with the hotel so I kept quiet, but I wasn’t happy. The hotel customer service was fine, the rooms clean and comfortable but the shower-bath combo with shower curtain just isn’t what I’ve become accustomed to.

Hey, I’m not proud to admit any of this. However, I know that many of you who have been schmoozed on a family, or who have enjoyed your resort bubble bath or exquisite room service, will be reading this knowingly. But generic hotel bathroom products aside, how many of you are willing to come clean?

© Andrew Klein 2014