Post-election: Grins, opportunism, selfies and fire
Post-election: Grins, opportunism, selfies and fire
14 NOVEMBER 2016 8:36 AM

While the world was busy watching the aggression of the U.S. presidential race, it could be forgiven for missing other vital news, such as what country’s citizens love selfie sticks the most when traveling.

Well, that was an interesting election season.

I suspect hoteliers across the United States and the world are analyzing the winning candidate’s policies in terms of how they might affect the industry.

I sincerely hope that Hotel News Now has approached the elections with a balanced view, writing such articles as our “A hotelier’s guide to the 2016 elections” in such a way they are helpful but give absolutely no indication of our own political views.

Collectively, HNN does not have one.

I have 2016 U.S. election season asides—some directly connected to that political process, others that you might have missed in the furor, things that tickled my funny bone or made me wince.

Whenever the U.S. elections were mentioned at one of the many August-to-November hotel industry conferences held in the United Kingdom and Europe, huge grins would break out amid audiences, panelists and moderators alike. They all know how very serious an election is anywhere, especially in such a dominant and influential country as the U.S., but there were those grins.

I quickly looked around those audiences when the potential headwind of the U.S. election was offered, and every time I saw grins. And this was despite everyone in attendance living in a part of the world where it is very easy to satirize the foibles of politicians.

No one has ever grinned during an entire presidential election before. Even now they are not grinning at the institution, just at this specific election process, and that should be worrying.

Opportunistic marketing
U.K. satirical magazine “Private Eye” runs a regular column where it unveils companies who align topical news stories with opportunistic but not very relevant marketing of their own brands.

I have seen two glaring examples of this during these elections: online travel agency and parent company Expedia, Inc. Both issued news releases, one day after one another, encouraging voters to vote even if they are traveling (presumably with them). It was a noble, perhaps necessary, idea, but still clearly opportunistic marketing nonetheless.

Selfie sticks
As soon as the U.S. election finished, everyone sighed a sigh of relief and then went back immediately to taking selfies, aside from that now famous Victor Ng image of numerous people taking a selfie with one of the candidates.

According to OTA Momondo—which thankfully brought us the “real” news that the blanket coverage of election callously starved us of—the nation that detests selfie sticks the most is the U.K. A total of 39% of U.K. residents questioned gnashed their teeth against them. I am so proud.

The Spanish, allegedly, love selfie sticks, with only 13% saying users annoyed them, and that was a lower percentage than the Chinese (15%) and Portuguese (17%). Apparently the world champions of selfie sticks on vacation are the Brazilians, but as they also always win at soccer, we should not read too much into that.

Fire destroys historic UK hotel
While many could be forgiven for thinking the entire political process had gone up in flames in recent months, the first hotel, rather than an inn, to be built in the U.K. actually did. The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, Devon, caught fire in the morning hours of the 29 October.

The hotel, it is said, had as guests including Lord Horatio Nelson and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the father of Queen Victoria, who was embalmed there after visiting to receive the freedom of the city but unfortunately passed away.

Anyway, not only did the Royal Clarence—which was built in 1769—burn and collapse, but a lawyer sent a letter to The Guardian claiming that, hold your horses, there is in fact another candidate, The Gentlemen’s Hotel in St. James’s Square, London, that opened in 1764. Bah humbug, Mr. Lawyer. Kick the Royal Clarence down when it is at its weakest, why don’t you?

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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