Karen James
Prime the pump
August 16, 2022
The “no locals” policy

Have you ever heard of the “no locals” policy? It is a policy that some hotels use to deny locals lodging.

I came across this news excerpt titled “No room at the inn for local residents”, by Melanie Payne, [email protected], Jeff Webb, the general manager and owner of Hampton Inn’s Suites on Colonial Boulevard, USA, where the “no locals” policy is enforced, is quoted as saying “We do allow local people and we have had them here, but we have to understand what they’re doing here. The type of local person wanting to rent a hotel room can be an undesirable customer, often using the hotel room to engage in activity they can’t or won’t do in their own home, such as using or selling drugs or partying and trashing the place. Seven out of 10 times, I’m sure they’re fine. It’s the three times that (are those) giving us trouble. And it seems like every time we get a problem it’s someone local.”

There are many hotels and motels in the USA, and I am certain, in other countries that enforce the “no locals” policy. Is there a “no locals” policy at some hotels in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? If so, what’s the basis of the policy and should local residents be told of the policy when they make booking enquires? A few days ago, I started thinking about our next staycation and decided to call a hotel in Bequia that we stayed at a few years ago. Back then, a girlfriend was dating a Caucasian expatriate from the United Kingdom who worked as a consultant in Bequia.

We were going to Bequia for a weekend to hang out with them. He became friends with the hoteliers so, he made the booking on my behalf.

They accompanied us as we checked in and spent much of the weekend on the hotel grounds – I guess you could say that him being
Caucasian and all – we were considered good people and in good company.

Today, my friends are no longer in Bequia, they have since left the Caribbean and might I say, booking a stay at that same hotel has proven to be no walk in the park. I rang the hotel, the call was answered by someone who, I could tell, was influenced by another culture. I was polite, said good afternoon, asked how she was doing and then stated that I was calling to enquire about the availability of a room. I gave the date and duration of stay. She asked if I was local, and it seemed like the conversation ended thereafter. Instead of sharing information to facilitate a confirmation, she stated that I needed to leave my email address and telephone number so that she could contact me with the rate. A week later no one has made contact.

I didn’t ask for the rate and although I am “local” who said that the rate was a deciding factor on whether I confirmed the booking or not.

In my introduction should I have given a summary of my resume and the different cultures that have influenced me? Should I have mentioned that I have been a guest at several renowned hotel chains, including Best Western, Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Radisson Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group? Should I have said who I will be in the company of? Can hoteliers here afford to assume that locals in general are up to no good and deny them lodging? We have only a couple weeks ago celebrated Emancipation Day, yet… in so many ways, Martin Luther King, Jr dream is still a dream “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

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