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Occupy Wall Street: What Will It Mean for the Hospitality Industry?

Occupy the World ProtestI’m not a political scientist or sociology expert, but my gut tells me this Occupy Wall Street is big.  Beyond Wall Street, it’s now Occupy the World.

As the owner of a small business currently with 17 employees, I agree with some of the premises of this movement.  They basically boil down to: when anything gets too big (as it business, as in government), people are prone to excess.

Too many get greedy and forget about their fellow human being.

But I do not believe that capitalism itself is evil.  The alternative is just as nasty; socialism and egalitarianism are just as prone to abuse – why else did people bring down the Berlin Wall?

It’s the extremes that cause us trouble.  “Everything in moderation,” my grandma used to say…

We could go on and on about political ideology.  At the risk of being accused of the very sin that big bad business people commit all the time, I ask, “What will this mean to the hospitality business and the meetings industry in particular?”  Only time will tell, but here are a few (random) thoughts:

- This movement is facilitated by social media, but the online world is no match for getting people out into the streets so that issues get attention.  Face-to-face is where it’s at.  Will we be able to get the world to understand the importance of the meetings industry?

- We may be in for another round of the AIG effect.  But let’s get beyond the “what will people think” mentality this time, and really get down to objectives and how having meeting will change the way people do things.

- Face-to-face doesn’t have to happen in a fancy hotel.  This should be a loud alarm bell for hotel developers to start thinking beyond the real estate deal and look at the long-term sustainability of their expansion projects;

- This kind of change will threaten some brands and be a boon to others.  Especially those that are willing to change the rules of the game.  Those like the Alt Hotel where they only charge ONE rate, for ALL their rooms, 365 days per year.  No upgrades, no discounts.  Pretty egalitarian stuff – check out our blog about this hotel industry-alterring concept.

So, hospitality and event professionals, what do YOU think this #OWS movement will mean to you and your organization?