If Hotels Were Like Aid Agencies

Following Jonathan Rauch’s If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care, NYU’s Bill Easterly offers If Hotels Were Aid Agencies…

Me: Hello, I have a reservation for this evening, for a non-smoking room with one double bed.
Hotel: Yes, the Hotel Reconstruction and Development Bank has approved an Overnight Accomodation and Poverty Reduction (OAPR) grant for this purpose.

Me: So can I have my room please?
Hotel: The OAPR committed the room, but in order for the room to be disbursed you have to present an Overnight Accomodation and Poverty Reduction plan, to be approved by our board. Here is the OAPR Preparation Guidelines and Best Practices Sourcebook (hands over thousand page document).

(hours later)
Me: Thanks for approving my OAPR plan, now can I have my key?
Hotel: The OAPR is a collaborative effort involving many donors. The keys are provided by the Swiss. Thanks to our improved coordination efforts, the Swiss aid office is only 60 kilometers away, and can help you complete the Swiss room key procurement guidelines.

Thanks to Lea for the pointer.

Somehow ‘the market’ manages to provide accomodations with ease.  Except of course down the street from my office, where the FDIC runs its own hotel.  Apparently they need to do this, because if the goverment didn’t build and operate a hotel, wherever would people sleep?

They’ve been utilizing the facility pretty heavily of late, but in recent years it has been far from occupied even as the rest of the hotel industry had been experiencing a boom. Little-known secret is that they do rent rooms to the public when they aren’t fully booked, and they don’t adjust their pricing based on market demand. So every other hotel in the city could be near capacity with a three-night minimum stay on top of charging full rack rate, and the lovely FDIC suites remain available for ~ $150. Of course you have to get the keys from the Swiss… (kidding).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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