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Opt In or Opt Out - Are you Getting it Right?

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All frequent travellers are accustomed to hotels giving them the option of not having their towels changed. Each hotel has a slightly different method of operating this system, but generally, if you hang them up after using them, then the chances are you will not get a fresh towel the next day. This, and other initiatives, are all supposed to help reduce costs for the hotel, and, these hotels assure us, help save the environment.

The hotels then moved their attention to the bed sheets, with many starting with an opt in policy, which means that if you did not place a card on your bed then the hotel would still change your bed sheets as they have done for decades. In other words, you were opting into the scheme to help save the environment and as a bonus, help cut the costs for the hotel. Let's face it, at home we do not change our sheets on a daily basis, so really there is no reason to do so at a hotel either. But you did have that choice, and some would argue that if you are paying a few hundred dollars per night then it is all part of the experience, part of the service, and some might even go so far as to argue that the hotel does not offer a financial incentive for you to not clean the sheets, so why bother. The arguments for and against are almost limitless, but what for most travellers was clear was that it was an opt in scheme.

 But today, if you look a little closer, if you re-read the card that perhaps once said that if you do put the card on your bed, the sheets won't get changed, if you re-read it, then you are more likely to find that it now says that if you do put the card on the bed, then the hotel will change the sheets. This is a complete reversal of what many hotels used to do, and while we would estimate that this change would be welcomed by the majority of travellers, it could still come as a surprise to some, especially those that thought they were doing some good by putting that little card on the bed. The policy has gone from an opt in policy, to an opt out policy, no biggie, just nice to know. After all, you do want to help save the environment right?!

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