Philadelphia hoteliers are up in arms over the cover of this month’s Philadelphia Magazine, which features a handgun and the headline: ‘Murder. One terrifying night on the streets and why everything we’re doing to stop the shooting won’t work.’
The hoteliers are freaking because the glossy monthly is routinely distributed to some 6,000 rooms in nearly all Philly hotels. The city’s hotel association top cheese urged the city’s establishments to think twice before distributing the magazines.
"I recommend that you review your position on what effect this article and cover will have on your guests who are staying in your guestrooms," wrote Ed Grose. "I feel that sensationalizing the murder rate in our city will have a negative effect on our customers."
Talk about being in denial. Philly’s a very tough city. In fact, I successfully argued against sending our daughter to school there because, well, the place scares me. But, tossing out the offending magazines isn’t going to change anyone’s impression of Philadelphia. If anything, Grose’s move just draws more attention to the murder rate and reinforces the views of guys like me that we should avoid the place, if at all possible.
Philly’s murder problem is a citywide challenge that needs to be addressed by law enforcement and communicated to residents and visitors in an open, forthright way (and they really do need to rethink the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ moniker. Talk about a message not ringing true. Ouch!).
Rather than pulling the bed covers over their collective heads and trying to hide the crime problem, Philly hoteliers would be far better off providing "tips" to their visitors as well as other services that might reassure everyone in general.
Image and reputation are based upon actions. Sneaky, deceptive suggestions like the one made by Mr. Grose not only undermine the desired reputation, they create an entirely new consumer emotion: hostility. I, for one, would think twice about staying at any hotel that might, intentionally or unintentionally, send me in harm’s way.
Hat tip to Gene "Sunshine" Colter for this idea.