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When our Fraternity books their formal they book it under a false name because it seems that once every hotel finds out we are a Fraternity they want nothing to do with us anymore. Obviously this sucks but looking at our ritual and the things we say we stand for this goes completely against it. I just want to know if this is something that is just sort of a necessary evil or if compatible how should it be approached.
I wonder what has been happening either with your fraternity or other fraternities in the area that hotels or reception facilities are this leery of having you in their establishment. Does Greek Life in your area have a terrible reputation? What other fraternities or sororities have ruined it for you? Most of this is completely out of your control, but figuring that out will help you empathize with the hotel or reception center. Why wouldn’t they be concerned if another Greek organization wrecked the place or got out of control?
The best way to help your cause is to do be as honest and matter of fact with the place you are booking. Don’t use a false name or hide what you are doing. They will find out and they will feel lied to. All this will do is anger the hotel and immediately kill your credibility with management. Even if there is a minor issue, it will become a major one because you have already tried to deceive them.
Do yourself a favor and call ahead to make an appointment to talk to someone in person. It is easier to go out of your way a bit to talk face to face and address whatever issues may arise and to hammer out any details that you can ahead of time. It also helps establish a relationship of trust. When you meet this person, or even if you have to only talk on the phone, do so professionally. Don’t show up in jeans and a T-shirt or talk to them on your cell phone while you are running errands. For the hotel, this is a business deal. You need to treat it the exact same way.
With your membership, do whatever you gave to do to ensure your members act like gentleman and their dates are on their best behavior. You are GUESTS in their hotel or their reception hall. You don’t have to be there and if you screw it up, you won’t be able to ever come back. It should be crystal clear what your expectations are prior to going to your event. If something does come up, handle it accordingly. You may even have to ask a brother to leave. You may have to use your judicial process just like any other issue in your chapter.
My direct answer is to not hide who you are. Own it and prove to wherever you are booking that your chapter can be trusted. Build that relationship and you will have a cooperative and appreciative staff to work with you and your chapter. Indirectly, do what you need to do to ensure this trust is established and maintained. You will be better off for it.
This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!