I recently booked a room at a small hotel for a short family trip. The homepage promised a home-cooked breakfast, fantastic views, and nice rooms. Feeling warm and cozy, I went through the registration process, but was amazed at the screen I saw the moment I pressed “reserve”. Instead of a thank-you-for-reserving-with-us-we-look-forward-to-seeing-you-soon message there was a litany of rules. The rule list went something like this: This is a smoke-free hotel and we will levy a $150 for anyone found smoking in the lobby or room. Filling coolers with ice from the ice machine is strictly forbidden. Only one car per room is allowed, extra cars are $25 per night. Only 4 people per room. No one is allowed in the pool after 10 PM. And on and on and on. After reading this rule list, I started to wonder what kind of hotel I just booked for my family.
Contrast this small hotel reservation experience to Marriott or a Hilton or Hyatt where we rarely see language like this. Why? Are people better behaved at the major hotels? Probably not but, the hotel management likely has added some kind of average acceptable loss tax into their pricing for everyone. Instead of spending their time messaging their rules, they spend their time trying to provide a nice experience.
Associations can do this too. Are there ways that the staff tries to protect the association from members? What would happen if we let our guard down? If we let our guard down and eliminated the rules, could this improve the experience for everyone?