My knee-jerk answer is NO WAY, but hotels are not totally out-of-line for raising questions about local residents checking-in.
The issue was brought to my attention by The Gate, which shared a story about an Illinois couple being denied lodging at a Hampton Inn because they lived right down the street from hotel. They were doing remodeling in their house and needed a place to sleep away from the dust and noise.
Citing managerial policy, the front desk clerk denied them check-in. When they complained and threatened to go the media, the manager offered them $1,000 and a steak dinner. Instead, they chose to take the story to the press.
The “no locals” policy has been lifted at that hotel. It was originally instituted after a local resident “pulled out a gun on another guest at the hotel.”
I think the problem was the gun, not the residential address of the gun holder…
This isn’t the only story of a local resident being denied lodging. Two sisters from Fort Myers couple were denied a room at a Best Western…on the basis that they lived in Fort Myers. One was 83 and the other 84. They lived on the other side of town, one suffered from Parkinson’s disease, there was a thunderstorm, and the two did not feel like driving home.
We do allow local people and we have had them here, but we have to understand what they’re doing here.
That may sound suspicious. It may sound predatory. But it actually makes sense.
Why would a local come to a hotel? Certainly there are many reasonable reasons, like two senior citizens who don’t feel like driving in a storm or a couple who is having work done in their house.
But let’s be real. Hotels are a perfect place to do things you wouldn’t want to do in your house. I’m not just talking about sex, which likely does not pose a risk to the hotel property. Instead, I’m talking about parties, drugs, and other illicit activities.
If I ran a hotel and some kids down the street showed up, even with a credit card, I’d be very skeptical.
A blanket policy banning locals is not the approach I would take, for exactly the two scenarios outlined in the story above, but I understand why a hotel owner might want to make a blanket policy to avoid any discrimination accusations for selectively enforcing the policy.
Check out this story, entitled, Outrageous behavior gets locals banned from two hotels, from Nevada. It discusses why two hotels banned local residents:
Both properties have incurred damages, down time for rooms for repairs or “airing out,” as well as the need for hazmat removal of items such as hypodermic needles, methamphetamine, used condoms, blood and other bodily fluids.
Isn’t that what you’d sort of expect from some local guests?
Hotels are perfect places to snort coke or cook meth. Why do it in your mother’s basement if you can do it at the local Best Western? I just cannot fault hotels for denying locals. As long as people are not excluded on the basis of their race, religion, creed, national origin, or religion (and in many jurisdictions sexual orientation or gender expression), hotels can legally ban local residents.
How about you? Do you think hoteliers should be able to deny local guests?