I do not like December!

There. I've said it.

Ok – I really do like December for the lights, the spirit of giving, snow (especially now that we don’t have to shovel), and skating rinks.  Where I live, I love crispy winter days that make me feel alive and on which I don’t schvitz .. altho' there is a fair amout of schlepping of packages.


Kelly Rush posted this HBR article at the Forum – the hospitality industry community for discussion of many issues - and it occurred to me it had much to do with one of the reasons I do not like December. 


But first my personal/professional reasons for not liking December:

-        Christmas trees* are in hotel lobbies and meeting rooms.  Hotels don’t understand why you want the trees removed (and the Christmas music turned off in public areas) during your group’s stay, that it feels exclusionary.  (Thanks, Sally K., for taking a stand on this for your meetings.)

-        Without understanding a group’s profile, hotels put out Christmas cookies for breaks.

-        Your beliefs do not allow celebrations and you feel forced to be “merry and jolly” or to participate in “Secret Santa” gifting at work. (Note: it’s rarely “Hanukkah Harry” who brings the secret gifts.)


Most of all I resent December because our industry is frantically trying to finish contracts for future meetings, even meetings as far as 5 or 10 years in the future. Just because we can ....


  I talked about it at a recent MPI chapter meeting in an ethics session and brought up the bullying that happens in December. You know: a hotel sales person says a group won’t get the same rate or concessions or space or something if the contract isn’t signed in this calendar year. (My friend and colleague, Liz Zielinski, also wrote about this.)


I have spent the last umpteenth Decembers dealing with this silly deadline. Look: I’m a business owner and I understand having “business on the books” at the end of the year. I know that hotel owners are more demanding and that sales people (and their hotels) want their bonuses for end-of-the-year signed contracts.


In a recent December a hotel sales person harangued me, the client’s meeting planner and even tried to get to the Chair of the Board, to explain how critical this was personally to her because she needed to redecorate a new baby’s room!


I’ve been offered bribes- oh, sorry, “incentives” – to push through contracts or, if we do get them signed by year end, thank you gifts of all kinds. (Right - I’ve never taken one of the bribes or gifts.)


Why is January 4 or 15 or any date in January or February less “magical” than December 31? Why do hotels not want a solid, well negotiated and executed contract that may take months, not days, to complete? In how many ways might that hastily signed contract have incorrect information that could hurt the parties later?


I’m all for helping support industry partners close business. Let’s together figure out how to change this business model that puts pressure on too many to move often incomplete documents through by year end.


Maybe we need to “occupy” hotel owners’ offices?

* They areally are Christmas trees not "holiday trees" - to the best of my knowledge, there are no Hanukkah trees. There may be trees for Winter Solstice but they would not be decorated the same.

p.s. If you are still struggling with what to do for a client or colleague, go back to the blogs and read the one about "Cookies and Candy" - it may help you do good while giving.
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