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Hospitality vs. Procedure


I think most of us have heard about this situation earlier this month with United Airlines? In short, a man was forcefully removed from his seat on an over-booked airplane. Fingers were pointed in all directions assigning blame and fault, but in the weeks since the airline has been doing some damage control. I received this email today from United describing some of these measures which I thought were interesting from both a hospitality and a procedural perspective.

We’ve certainly had the situation before at our events where there are more guests who have arrived at a table than place settings.  Sometimes we’re limited by the capacity of the venue, and sometimes we are not. Cleary we don’t have the safety issues to contend with like an airplane does. It may be slightly uncomfortable to have 11 people at a 60″ round, but it’s certainly doable, and we always work with our venues to make these adjustments quickly to get everyone moving ahead with their evening.

As event professionals we’re often in the situation to balance hospitality and procedure. All of us at Sequence understand that at our core we’re in the hospitality business. As our name suggests, process and procedure helps us to achieve our clients’ goals efficiently and effectively. The process is never more important than the client or their guests.

Some of the gestures outlined in this Untied email have absolutely nothing to do with the recent situation. It’s certainly important to make things right when they go wrong, but the commitment to preventing the issue to begin with is somewhat lacking in this message. Will be interesting to see how it affects their brand, and if they’ll eventually make the commitment not to oversell their flights as competitor (and apparently worst-offender) Southwest has done this week.