«Hallo. Is it you who take reservations for the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting of 12-13?» – «Yes, It’s me. Good morning. How many rooms?» – «Three doubles» – «Fine. Three doubles, one night, on a B&B basis. Can you tell me the names?» – «Ahem, yes. Strawberry, HTML, Katy75, Golden Wings, Bambi and Minstrel57».

«You should give me the full names so I can close the file, I’m afraid» – «Does “Alcoholics Anonymous” say anything to you? I won’t certainly be telling you our full names» – «I see, could you please repeat the nicknames, then? I will write those down for the bookings».

Many calls later, I find myself with 523 nicknames of alcoholics, champions of privacy, to be accommodated for their yearly meeting. Great. I’d like to see how I’m going to tell this to the hotels. I’ll book 369 rooms without any name: of course!

Then, I will also tell them to hid all the drinks from the bar and the minibars, and they’ll say: «No problem, miss, we’ll sweep everything out»… But I bet some compromising miniature bottle will be left around! I’ll have to check out every single minibar in every single room in every single hotel …

As when I accommodated the binge eaters and then they served them ham and mayonnaise sandwiches at the coffee break…

ACX recommends…

To accommodate customers who have special dietary needs, for instance vegans or gluten intolerant ones, the hotel needs to be given very accurate directions about what to do. Special care must be taken of the negotiation and customisation process, and some special services must be included in the terms of the agreement.

Even with anonymous associations, a rooming list – even if there are only nicknames in it – must be filled in and sent to the hotel – as it is better for the event planner to have the hotelier’s written confirmation that he/she is willing to accommodate the listed customers: this will prevent potential controversies.

In addition, it is always advisable to send a very thorough operation memo, stating which foods and drinks are permitted, lunch and break times, which the hotelier must sign for acceptance and send back. In such documents, the hotelier accepts to provide guests with a specific kind of service, and the event planner must demand that the conditions accepted by the hotelier are met as best as possible, for the event to be a success.