Every industry has its own set of ethical issues, including the hotel industry. Hospitality businesses might not seem unethical, but they’ve sometimes proven themselves to be less than hospitable.
The good thing is the common ethics issues with the hotel industry can be overcome. Better ethics leads to happier employees and guests. This, of course, leads to an increase in popularity, customer loyalty and profits.
Employee theft is an ethics issue in nearly every industry. However, there are two forms of employee theft with the hotel industry. First, employees steal supplies and money. For instance, they might steal pillows, sheets, cleaning supplies and more. They may even say the guests stole some of it. When it comes to money, they might add charges to bills, but pocket the fake charges. Or, if they’re supposed to report tips, they might not to avoid having to share them as many housekeeping employees are paid low wages.
The second type of theft hurts customer loyalty. Employees may steal from guests as they clean the rooms. It could be jewelry, clothing, electronics and even cash. Sometimes, guests don’t realize anything’s missing until they’re back home, but others realize it quickly and that can hurt your hotel’s reputation.
Dishonest Cleaning Practices
When guests stay at a hotel, they expect to stay in a clean room. However, some hotels have opt for unethical cleaning practices. Instead of cleaning the sheets, they simply tuck them back in between guests as long as the sheets still look clean. Mattresses could be covered in bacteria. The same holds true if the hotel has a restaurant or continental breakfast. If food prep stations aren’t cleaned properly, guests could get sick.
Providing Inferior Supplies
With millions of hotels, it’s a competitive industry, especially in popular tourist locations. A cheaper room is always a great way to snag more customers. However, that may come at a price. One of the more common ethical issues with the hotel industry is using inferior supplies. For example, customers might pay extra for the hotel that has specialty sheets and pillows. However, the hotel is using the cheapest sheets and pillows they can find. This lets them charge a little less for rooms while lying to guests.
One ethics issue that you might not hear about often is hotel espionage. Once again, it’s usually about being competitive. For example, a hotel might hire a former manager from the competition. Since the manager knows a lot of the ins and outs, they’re able to provide confidential data to help their new employer succeed. Some hotels even hire employees to work at competitors simply to gain information and even drop hints to guests about how great a rival hotel is.
Not only is this illegal, but it could result in hefty lawsuits from competing hotels. This is especially true when hiring ex-employees who share sensitive data, but signed contracts stating they wouldn’t do so.
The hotel industry stands to benefit by eliminating these ethics issues. A whistleblower hotline is a great way to reduce ethics problems. Ensure both employees and guests know it’s available and how to use it in order for it to be effective.