A “Title” Option I’d Like To See More Hotels Adopt

Filed Under: Hotels

In 2017 I wrote a post with the title “Dear Hotels: Please Stop Assuming Only Straight, Married Couples Travel.” The post ended up generating a lot of comments and was surprisingly controversial.

I wanted to write a follow-up about this, because I’ve finally seen a hotel group adopt what I consider to be the correct system for this kind of stuff.

Hotels Want To Better Customize Stays

If you ever attend any sort of travel loyalty conference, you’ll see hotel executives talk about the next wave of customizing the guest experience, and all the things they have planned. The problem is that on a global level, they consistently fall short.

It’s kind of like when you check into a hotel you’ve stayed at many times before, and they ask you “have you stayed with us before?” If they can’t figure that out, then what hope do they have for getting any other details right?

Not Everyone Is A Mr. & Mrs.

Along those lines, I can’t wrap my head around the assumptions hotels make about guests. On the most basic level, if there are two guests in a room, a welcome letter will usually be addressed to “Mr.” and Mrs.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all offended when I get a letter like that, but I just can’t wrap my head around how these assumptions are still made:

  • A lot of straight people aren’t married
  • A lot of people aren’t straight

Unless we’re talking about a hotel in Saudi Arabia, who in 2019 assumes that two people traveling together are married?

However, I understand the challenges hotels face in this regard, because they don’t want to guess gender based on name, just because two guys are staying in a room doesn’t mean they’re Mr. and Mr., etc.

Personally I think unless otherwise specified, any communication should be addressed to “[Primary Hotel Guest Name] & Guest,” because that’s accurate.

What Rosewood Does Right

Rosewood does something really simple during their booking process that I’d love to see more hotels adopt. During the booking process you have the option to select your title.

In addition to the traditional options, choices also include Mx., Mr. and Mr., and Mrs. and Mrs.

To me this seems so obvious, and like a great solution:

  • The hotels don’t have to make any assumptions
  • You can self-identify how you like (on my post a couple of years ago, some people brought up that they might not want to “out” themselves in certain places, so this give you that option)

Summary

Let me once again emphasize that personally I’m not at all offended when I receive a welcome letter addressed to Mr. and Mrs. I get it’s not personal. However, I am impressed when a hotel is able to make a connection, and addresses a letter to “Mr. and Mr.”

I will say that I am a bit disappointed when I stay at an Aman Resort and this happens, because that’s a brand that’s supposed to be all about customization and knowing their guests.

This just seems like such an easy area where hotels could do better. Hotels should be addressing two people in a room as the name of the hotel guest plus “& Guest,” in my opinion, and they should be giving guests an easy way to choose how they want to be identified.

Like I said, this isn’t even necessarily a “gay” issue, but rather hotels shouldn’t be assuming that a straight couple is married just because they’re sharing a room.

Well done, Rosewood!

Comments
  1. Does nothing to solve the “problem” of two people — married or not — who don’t use the same surname.

  2. @ anon — Because if you select there being two people in the room hotels will often address a letter to “Mr. and Mrs.” Furthermore, sometimes hotels will have “his and her’s” something or another, like hats, in the rooms. So if they have a better sense of who the guests are, they can better anticipate that.

  3. @ LarryInNYC — That’s true, there’s no perfectly solution here. But to me that’s more of a technicality than anything, compared to the rest of this. In other words, if you’re a straight married couple and it says “Mr. and Mrs.” then that part is accurate, just not the surname.

    I think the absolute ideal situation would be for hotels to ask for the name and title of both guests at the time of booking, though that’s not something that any hotel group requires as of now, as far as I know.

  4. For several years I received a bunch of cruise line literature addressed to me as “Admiral Ben L.” because that was an option in the online account registration. My now wife did a similar thing with some company that let her pick, like, “Duchess” or something. The more titles the merrier imo.

  5. Dear Hotels: Why do you assume that it is always the husband who makes the travel reservations and is the breadwinner if the travel is business related? Except in Saudi Arabia, of course.

  6. I’m sure I’m in the minority on this, but it’s 2019, not Jane Austen-era England, and I’m most delighted when a hotel addresses an amenity or note to “Nick” or my full name, or to “Nick and James” or the respective full names of both guests. I don’t need a title. Who does, really?

    I guess it depends on the property and the nature of the stay, but it seems much more familiar and friendly and warm to be addressed by my first name. It always strikes me as overly stilted and too-formal to be addressed by an honorific and honestly, I know very few people who are hung up on honorifics and offended when they’re not addressed by last name.

  7. I think the whole thing is tragic: some of us seem to believe that these faceless corporations actually *care* when, in reality, we’re just another source of revenue, and any “personalisation” is just brand-related schtick they use to try to sucker us into thinking we are part of their “family”.

    It makes me vomit.

    I have (for Anglo countries) an unusual surname, and almost invariably when I check in they ask me if I pronounce it X. Except they get it completely wrong, mangling it up. I always, always smile cheerily and say “yes, that’s how it’s pronounced”. Because why should any of us care? I’m not precious about it, and as long as they feel comfortable and polite then their job is done.

    Like Ben L, I take advantage of options: Transport for London thinks I my name is Lady Wigwam.

    When I’m just asked for my name in circumstances where I know they’ll be generating “personalised” email, I tell them my first name is “Tosser”. From then on, I receive emails addressed to “Dear Tosser”. I think that accurately reflects how most of these suits think of me – just another potential revenue line.

  8. @Ben: But to me that’s more of a technicality than anything, compared to the rest of this.

    To you, sure. But to someone else, getting the gender wrong might be just a technicality, while getting someone’s entire name wrong might be a serious offense.

    The problem stems from taking offense to a gesture kindly meant. Given that we’re an offense-seeking society these days the best solution is probably @Gene’s — they can just skip the silly letters. Or, at least, skip the supposedly customized salutations and just start the letter “Dear Guests”. The amount of benefit the hotel is going to derive from delivering a “correctly” addressed letter is considerably less than the harm they are going to suffer from the ones they get wrong.

  9. Well, I’m married and straight (as an arrow), yet my wife has a hyphenated last name with her surname first. I don’t. So, we run into this “Mr. and Mrs.” issue too – though in our case it’s just a matter of inaccuracy. And…there are times when she makes the arrangements and I end up being addressed as Mr. (her last name). That’s usually good for a laugh from both of us.

    But yeah, if you’re in the hospitality business, you need to get this straight. I’m pretty old fashioned and even I do not fit this particular stereotype.

  10. The simplest option would be just to ask for the names of the guest in the room and address the letter to “Bob and Amanda Jones”, “Robert and Steve Jones”, “Amanda and Elizabeth Jones” etc. This also neatly solves the issue of a parent and child travelling together. It makes no assumptions about their relationship. And if there are different surnames then it can be addressed to “Bob Jones and Steve Smith” etc. These can be a married or unmarried couple, friends sharing a room, or a father and son. Titles not needed.

  11. I wish hotels would just go by first name and surname with no titles. I travel frequently with my best friend, and as 2 females, we are always asked if we are sisters or a couple. We’re amused by it more than anything, but it does make for some awkward moments sometimes. I think the most entertaining was taking an Alaska cruise and photographers attempting to pose us for couples photos on formal night, LOL!

  12. I’m a single straight guy who have never been married and it is always a bit “amusing” when I see Mr. and Mrs. when we aren’t. It isn’t 1950 anymore. I’m guessing a rather large number of mixed couples (a guy and a lady) are not married so I don’t know why hotels still assume that. And I’m referring to just checking into a hotel, not even getting a letter when they just assumed you are married.

    Geez, at least don’t assume it unless you see some kind of wedding ring (which isn’t always a good indicator anyhow). I guess hotel staff doesn’t want to have to ask for the lady’s name?

  13. We were recently at Waldorf Astoria Maldives. Hotel had toiletries cases carved out of stone that were engraved with me and mrs in the bathroom. My husband and I took a pic and posted to social media. Hotel quickly apologized. Still not sure why a company like WA/Hilton thought this was a good idea in design phase

  14. @Gene said it best! It’s ridiculous and wasteful.

    Though “a lot of people” are not gay. The percentage is somewhere around 3% of the population when lumping together gay, lesbian, and bi.

  15. @Nick
    You’re absolutly not in the minority! I’m completly with you, NO titles.
    I frequent much countries with Portugese or Spanish as native language and when I’m adressed they say i.e. “Welcome “Senhor” (Mr.) Nelson Moreira”, I have Always a direct reply: “It’s Nelson, as far as I know Senhor is in heaven. (In Latin countries they use to say Senhor for God)
    And that’s on ANY situation, regardless it happens in Planes, Hotels, etc. Anytime!

  16. I am not sure I’d think to select any of the multiple people options in that title dropdown, the rest of the form is about one person’s first and last time.

  17. Why do they assume the same last name for a straight couple and that the man made the reservation or is the higher status loyalty member? It is a giggle or two when the straight man gets addressed as her last name until he gets irked and has to examine his historical cultural biases and affirm his masculinity.

  18. That is only a problem because
    a. English is a indo-european language where honorifics are gender specific
    b. when abroad, anglos & americans expect the world to treat them in no other language than English.

    Since Lucky loves to go through Bangkok & Tokyo, there high-etiquette conscious countries have the problem solved in their language and in both countries the use of last names or first names is polite followed by the appropriate title. Besides, the real polite way is to address anyone by the local polite fashion :

    Benjamin-san & Ford-san : ベンジャミンさん と フォードさん
    Khun Benjamin & Khun Ford : คุณเบ็นจามิน และ คุณฟอร์ด

    Now some may come up with the major protocol issue about who is cited first 😉
    There are other languages, gender conscious, who do not have that problem.

  19. @Lucky everyone wants to opine uniquely but it’s pretty clear that your solution is the best (and your assessment of the problem). Someone denigrated the whole practice of using titles but I’m near 60 and I’ve waited a long time for the sucking up, I want to be addressed as Mr. And my much younger different-race companion had better be addressed as Mr too.

    good manners is behaviour that makes other people feel comfortable. If I’m your guest, addressing me as if I’m your valet will not achieve this.

    Advice to millenials: don’t dismiss this. You’ll feel exactly this way when you’re 60. You’ll be right. You’ll have earned it.

    (apply this to call centres also btw)

  20. @Nick: The answer to the question “who needs titles” is: anyone who has experienced routine verbal humiliation communicated through the absence of titles. There are centuries-old traditions tacitly governing who – on the basis of race and class – is entitled to an appellation like “Mr.” and who has to go by first name. Being able to say “why shouldn’t ‘Nick’ be good enough for all of us!” is privilege talking.

  21. Of course none of the two-person options contain a feminine option other than Mrs. I’ll stick with just putting my name and the hotel can assume whatever they want about who I’m travelling with

  22. I am an Ambassador with Marriott Bonvoy. My ambassador knows I’m male and that I have a husband- hell we got a holiday card addressed to both us from our Ambassador. But at a recent hotel stay there was a personal letter addressed to us by the GM was Mr and Mrs Andrew and Steven ….
    We had to laugh !

  23. Lucky, you made it clear that you don’t take this personally. You’re just raising the issue. I think how one is addressed in this sort of situation is a non-issue. If an envelope is not addressed correctly, it does no harm to the recipient. It’s just not that important, as I see it. Plus, as shown by the comments so far, there are SO many ways to address people incorrectly.

    A couple of my sisters use the Latin American tradition of including their paternal name before their married name. Couples travel together, unmarried and married. Friends with no “benefits” share rooms. There’s so many ways to go wrong on this and so little is at stake that I think just using first names or Mr. Blah-blah and guest is fine.

    I recently went on a trip with my adult son, during which we shared a room. I laughed it off when we were addressed as Mr. and Mrs. (I’m sure my son hated that assumption. Haha!) I corrected the person in a good natured way and we all moved forward in our day.

    @weiskel I don’t agree, my friend. I am a person of color and any verbal humiliations committed via “centuries-old traditions” haven’t touched my life. I acknowledge them, as my ancestors experienced them, for their vile, demeaning intent and effect and for their presence in history. But today? No, I am not offended to be addressed by my first name.

  24. I am 90% happy about and 10% offended that timeshare sales people only hound heterosexual couples. If you are solo or same sex, they don’t say a word to you. I know there are some sexist marketing reasons behind this, but just because I am not in a heterosexual relationship, does not mean I don’t like to travel and can’t afford a timeshare. I have absolutely no interested in committing myself to that financial disaster (both marriage and a timeshare), but I still feel like they should try to market to me.

  25. I travel alone and often I’m a “Mr” on such notes and on others I am a “Mrs,” neither case is correct! I just laugh it off and frankly, as @The nice Paul says, they couldn’t care less about us. It’s just a room for the night, not a coronation.

  26. Also the hotel really ought to spell your name correctly, that’s a really important detail for many people and pisses them off as platinum / diamond / whatever status when it is wrong.

  27. My SO travels a lot for business and she often gets greeted as Mr…
    In Sweden a lot of people are “sambo” i.e. not married and have different surnames, but still in a legal relationship.
    This is indeed all rather quite silly, but then again, in Germany you can be Dr. Dr.

  28. “I tell them my first name is “Tosser”. From then on, I receive emails addressed to “Dear Tosser”.”
    This is hilarious. And awesome!

  29. I often get my welcome messages addressed to Mr. Moss and not Ms. Or my husband, who has a different surname, gets called Mr. Moss. The other day the hotel kept using my old address for paperwork despite my global membership profile having my new one – this is because they had me on file locally at that hotel from my last day 2 years prior. So they are making all sorts of presumptions and mistakes about their guests, regardless of gender and orientation. it seems to me their systems are just not all that up to date or joined up and that’s more the problem.

  30. I agree that those letters are really pretty unnecessary for the most part unless they need to tell you about some sort of maintenance going on or the like.

    I like the idea of picking some of the more outlandish title options. I might start doing that.

  31. Much a do about nothing. Wouldn’t “The Schlappings” be ok, if this room was for 2?

    Kirstin Gillibrand is my senator. When I fill out a comment form on her website, the title pulldown has probably 50 options, starting with “Admiral”. That is where I stop. It is stupid having so many options. I’m not offended if they get it wrong, unless it costs me money.

  32. Totally unrelated to sexuality and marriage status, but I was staying in a hotel last month and me and my brother were sharing a room, and the welcome sign had “Mr and Mrs” followed by our last name (because we have the same last name, being brothers and all!!). I didn’t even know what to make of it, haha!

  33. We’re all missing an important point here, or better an important “n”. The letter could have been for the neighbours… coz the envelope says SchlappiNg, not lucky Mr. SchlappIG.

    On another note, in 2003 I booked a hotelroom for a midscale hotel in Sun City, South America; the dropdown menu listed “Royal Highness” which I found matched my mood at the time. Forgot all about it until I checked in and was upgraded to the Royal Suite in the main Palace hotel and people kneeled for me… one of my best hotelstays ever.

  34. The welcome letter at the W Paris (side note: SNA upgrade to WOW Suite was worth it) was only addressed to my wife (reservation booked in her name), not even & Guest. I’m not offended. They folded a xeroxed letter into an envelope and copied her name from a computer screen onto the front. It’s hardly personalized service. I wouldn’t necessarily dispense with the letters (and definitely still include the welcome beers in the ice bucket) but I don’t feel that personalizing the outside of the envelope is a good use of anyone’s time.

  35. Doesn’t really solve the problem. Why not just have a set of personal details boxes for each guest, so all details can be captured. My wife is Ms, Dr or Prof depending on context and doesn’t share my surname.

    Better yet, hotels should stop this aggressive and intrusive over personalisation. I don’t need a hand written welcome letter (or a typed one). It’s not particularly genuine and just common curtesy if perfectly fine.

    Besides 99% of the time I’m will only ever be addressed by half of my surname.

  36. I agree with just providing personal information. That way a higher end hotel knows so when providing any romantic perks they know if 2 people are a couple or not. Titles are now getting too complicated. “Mr.” is for any adult male regardless of straight or gay or male or single so “Mr. and Mr.” doesn’t mean anything to me.

  37. Schlapping? Which hotel wrote it? One thing is Mr and Mrs, but misspelling a name is a completely different issue.

  38. It’s a hard work ! In my case – in the UK tradition – it should be something like this : HH the Duke of …… , Marquis … something , Earl (or Count) of … somethings , Baron … something , Professor Doctor something ,MD, PHD, OBE, KTJ, etc, etc … I tend to tell everibody to call me Mike 😉 Uffff !

  39. Many many many tears ago – right out of university, I worked for Westin Hotels (when they were owned by the Japanese before Starwood and subsequently Marriott Intl). They had their own CIS system called Western and an accompanying telephone system. The phone would identify the guest registered in the system by last name. Nine time out of ten the operator would answer the call as Mr x or Mr. Y etc… The system only gave the letter M (for Mr…) or D (for Dr…)…
    Often times a female guest would yell at management because the operator misidentified them as male. Our usual answer was to apologize and then we said – well isn’t it better to be recognized by your last name than simply – hey you ?! Ahh…how technology has evolved!

  40. The guest is King (or Queen etc) here. The entire purpose of addressing guests ‘personally’ is to make the guest feel closer to the hotel. If a hotel fails to address the guest in their preferred terminology, then the purpose of the personolisation fails as well.

    So, it’s in the interest of the hotel to get this right.

    This is just another aspect of diversity that these corporates need to catch up with.

    While I agree with @The Right Paul* ( not to mention he (?) makes me silly with laughter ), sometimes it is little acts of defiance and correction that matter. As a male with a male husband, I make a habit of pointing out that ‘his’ and ‘hers’ amenities, are a little absurd for us, and alienate me as a guest rather than entice. The same with ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’, or large and ‘petite’ robes, or shaving mirror only on one sink in the bathroom etc.

    So my advice is: complain and correct away. It will help teach these organisations that we no longer live in a binary world (like we ever did!) It’s up to the hotel or hotel chain to come up with their own solution, one that is in keeping with their brand.

    Let me just say, that those who address us as Mr and Mr, or by our names, with our without an honourific score the best.

    *I use the name: ‘Steep Descent’ when I need to unwillingly give a name. It’s quite interesting to see the way lists circulate to various organisations and how data matching works. I delight in telling callers that ‘Steep’ had a fall, and is no longer with us.

  41. Yes, hotels with the costs of Aman should make more of an effort to customize – these details differentiate conciencious service from ‘corporate’ good article

  42. Ben,

    1st there are too many comments to address all the issues raised and to call out the haters.

    But, thank you for sharing your life with us over the years and your journey (everyone has one) of being out and proud while still not being overly sensitive.

    This is especially important now that the ebb and flow of LGBTQI Equality and acceptance is ebbing in many ways in the US with the current administration and around the world.

    Being ‘Out’ is the most important action for both LGBTQI and our straight allies to be in order to improve acceptance, Equality, and most importantly helping young people to see they are ‘not the only one’ and hopefully stop killing themselves over their despair and others’ hate and violence. It’s why Steve and I came out publicly in 1993 as Iowa 1st ‘Openly’ gay elected official – mayor of the city of Melbourne.

    Rosewood is trying and should be recognized. Other hotel chains (IHG and/or Hilton) do ask for the name of the second person which helps ensure appropriate greetings. I’m writing this at the Hilton Capital Grand in Abu Dhabi. It’s in room welcome letter addressed me simply as Bill C…

    It’s very important to recognize good and call out bad!

    My best to you and Ford – and even more so for your parents for their acceptance and love of you both. As your Mother fights her health battle, your loving relationship with Ford undoubtedly gives her one big thing less to worry about – her son’s happiness in life.

    <3 🙂

  43. You can easily solve this problem if you believe it to be an issue. You email the hotel in advance, and make it clear how you want each person described. This is what you do if you have an allergy or preference, as it solves the issue (hopefully) …Pro-active rather than reactive.

  44. Funny, I am teaching English in a top 5* hotel and was recently discussing all the correct titles and taught them to use Mr&Mr or Mrs&Mrs or Ms&Ms and in this day and age we should not just assume and use old fashioned styles, we have many forms of titles and it is easy to cause offence.

  45. That may help with “Mr. and Mr.” situation but for example for us it doesn’t solve anything. We are not married nor share the same surname.

    To get the genders right, I would need to use “Mr. and Mrs.” and that would be still completely incorrect otherwise.

    Why don’t hotels ask for the details for all the guests and use a bit of computers? If you define “Mr A” and “Mr A”, you get “Mr & Mr A”, if you define “Mr A” and “Mr B”, you get “Mr A & Mr B”, if you define “Mr A” and “Mrs B”, you get “Mr A & Mrs B”, and so on. Simply assuming that a single guest details and more titles will help anything is dumb.

  46. “—I can’t wrap my head around the assumptions hotels make about guests.”
    “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all offended when I get a letter like that, but I just can’t wrap my head around how these assumptions are still made…”

    Respectfully, if your “not at all offended”…yet…”…can’t wrap (your) head around how these assumptions are still made”, you’re not being earnest with yourself or readers of this blog. In fact you do find it offensive that these assumptions are still made to the extent that you can’t wrap your head around it. If it were otherwise—-you are in fact “not at all offended”—why waste a posting upon the topic? I loathe being called “sir” by hotel staff—is it offensive, of course not! When I kindly ask that they refer to me by my first name, or simply ask “how are you…what can I do for you”, yet they forgot & refer to me as “sir” can I “wrap my head” around it…sure…do I appreciate it, no…I’ve stated my preference to not be called “sir”. Is it offensive or truly worth the time for me to consider, absolutely not.

  47. The author failed to spot the omission of an option for unmarried women or those preferring the term Ms. A glaring error considering his complaint and that women in such a situation vastly outnumber gay couples. Hardly a perfect solution from Rosewood.

  48. This is why I thoroughly enjoy my hotel stays in the Middle East. I always select the “Mrs. Juan” title after my sex-change operation in Tehran last year. I’ve never received any issues from the friendly South Asian staff that is typical at Middle East hotels, even in Saudi. I still have some masculine features, but these things take time and I can tell the staff are being professional and welcoming despite the obvious facial features. I then explain that my boyfriend will be joining me, or rather another local Arab I’ve met through grindr. I can attest the Middle East is becoming more progressive and accepting, so kudos to MbS and the UAE rulers for forging the path to openness in the region and setting the lead example.

  49. If I were to receive a letter addressed to “Mr & Mrs Gresham”, I would open it and read it, then ask the hotel to send it to my wife, who lives in England and with whom I haven’t travelled with for more than 30 years. I might also ask the hotel if they had anything for my partner, and offer to give it to her.

  50. I feel a hotel should just do what a hotel does – supply accommodation. It’s always nice to have one’s ego stroked but in the end a guest experience is 2% max based on some letter/note. I totally got creeped out at the W Amsterdam when my husband and I received a personalized cake and a framed collage of pictures of us and friends ripped from FB/Instagram. I believe part of the fault lies with me as I alerted hotel to the anniversary online. The intention was thoughtful. I have returned to the property due to it’s location near my friends’ favorite watering hole “the Hoppe” but in recent times I have just slept on a sofa in one of my buddy’s flats. Simplicity is best – that is my vote.

  51. @Dr. Rodrigues Pereira
    “In my case – in the UK tradition – it should be something like this : HH the Duke of ……”

    This stuff really is hard: you have got your own title wrong. An English (sic) Duke is “His Grace”, not a Highness.

  52. Self-correction – a Duke is “His Grace” *unless* he has also been awarded a royal honorific, like the Queen’s husband, who is HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

    It’s so much easier not to write faux welcome letters…

  53. Hi Ben and all,
    I am female and an Ambassador on Bonvoy and Lifetime member for another brand. Around the world that causes confusion to hotel staff. Regardless if my Ambassador tells the hotel, if there is a man standing near me at the check in, they ask for his credit card or will give him the check in form to sign.
    I can eliminate the middle East as I don’t dare go there. Asia is tough, but then again in the USA, the UK, the EU, it happens.
    I recently saw the film with Hillary Swank – “Iron Jawed Angels”, it was not that long ago such a tremendous struggle women had to suffer in order to vote despite having a constitution.
    Hang in there Ben. We all have a very, very long way to go.
    S.

  54. I actually remind most hotels, airlines and most other organizations, where unnecessary, to not send any welcome greetings. They are useless and I toss them immediately into the trash.

  55. I prefer the use of “guest” to designate the partner. I have several partners based on my geography and I prefer to avoid any unnecessary complications with my partners.

  56. Americans telling other countries how to do things. Just stop doing it. This is one reason why other countries hate us.

  57. Hah! This post was perfectly timed to my life. My husband and I returned from a 3 week trip yesterday and, throughout the trip, were amused at all of the different combinations of names hotels wrote as his. He was Mrs. (my last name), Mrs. (his first name), Ms. (his last name). Clearly the cards were written before two guys showed up at check in.

  58. I am definitely NOT in the camp of thinking it’s great/accepatable to have a hotel, cashier, flight attendant, etc. call me by my first name. I’m your customer; not your friend (I have plenty of those). IMO, it’s not “folksy” or “warm;” it’s totally inappropriate & unprofessional. Go to any upscale hotel and see if they call you by your first name. There’s a reason why they don’t. That said, I never make an issue out of it, unless the person has the foresight to ask if I prefer to be called by my first name, and in that case, I just simply & politely ask they call me Mr. (my last name).

    I appreciate gestures like what the hotel did for Lucky, and I would never take offense at the error. That said, I see the value and point in politely informing the appropriate person that not everyone who stays together is married. Or else, how will they learn and adapt?

    Perhaps a simple solution in a situation like this would be to use something like “honored guest/guests?” I know you lose a significant level of personalization, but at least you are making the guest(s) feel special.

  59. I have had letters addressed to me as Mr. Amy… they just assumed the solo traveler was male. I am not really offended by it, but I do wonder why they bother.

  60. I work in a hospitality field (but not travel), and this is something that a lot of orgs have started changing. We’ve switched most of our systems to do first names only (“John and Jane Doe” or “John Smith and Mark Doe”) when listing names, but there’s a lot of messy data out there, so it takes a long time for some things to get consistent. And regardless, there is always an option on the internal side to flag someone who prefers a form of address out of line with the default. My personal favorite are the super old-school “Mr. and Mrs. [Husband’s full name]” (or the less frequent “Mrs. [Husband’s name] as a standalone for a woman). It’s a form of formal address that is on the decline, but I’ve met women who will give me an earful if I don’t do it. I am on the side of giving people options – as evidenced by all the comments, people will tell you how they want to be addressed if you give them the option!

  61. I expect hotel staff to kneel, or at the least bow to me, every time they greet me. Frankly, the service at most hotels is shameful these days.

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