The Nordic choice of saying no


What does a hotel bed do in the hotel lobby? Is lying in it for six daylight hours good for anything? And what has it all got to do with cleaning? ECJ’s Scandinavian correspondent Lotte Printz explains.

If you happened to check in at one of Nordic Choice’s five hotels in Drammen or Kristiansand in Norway, in Norrköping or Helsingborg in Sweden or Comfort Hotel Vesterbro in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Monday September 4, you might have thought you were dreaming.

Right in the centre of their lobbies the hotels had placed a bed – and a man or woman in it. For six hours, all these men and women had to do was to lie there and talk to hotel guests passing by. Curiously. And if they did stop and curiously ask what on earth was going on, tell them that saying no to room cleaning when staying for more than one night would be a wise choice.

For each six-hour bed-in Nordic Choice Hotels paid 10,000 Kroner. Money not to be kept by the people in the beds, but to be donated to UNICEF – and ultimately help children who have been exposed to human trafficking. However, the bed-in was only to draw attention to a project called Sweet Dreams Stay and the nightmare that more than 1.2 million children are experiencing every year as victims of trafficking.

To make sure that some of these kids at least get a safe night’s sleep, the Nordic Choice Hotels donates another 10 Kroner (approximately 1 Pound sterling ) to UNICEF every time one of their hotel guests decide not to have their room cleaned. That’s where housekeeping fits into the equation.

Nordic Choice Hotels have supported UNICEF and helped them fight trafficking for several years, but in 2016 they committed themselves to step up their support in order to help even more child victims. The Sweet Dreams bed-in and project are part of this. The decision to take this kind of corporate social responsibility was made by the hotel chain’s top management, but employees have also voted to support this particular cause.

“This is a win, win, WIN situation,” Jesper Olesen, general manager at Comfort Hotel Vesterbro, Denmark, says.

“Everybody supports this! We fight human trafficking, it’s better for the environment when housekeeping does not have to clean rooms every day. It saves “chemistry” and washing. And the time saved they can spend on a good spring cleaning or do other things at the hotel they don’t normally have time to do.”

Hours and wages are not cut for the cleaning staff. So this “clean choice” does not affect them as such. Expenses for social and environmental responsibility activities are paid for entirely by their employer.

“But as our ceo usually says,” Jesper Olesen continues: “There’s no business on a dead planet!”

In connection with the launch event, Nordic Choice Hotels also collected drawings from Scandinavian children for a week. Each drawing released another donation of 10 Kroner. That came to 132,470 Kroner. An amount the chain then doubled. Hotel guests were very positive towards the whole project as well, but only time can tell how much the “no thank you to cleaning” will generate. That part of Sweet Dreams runs for some time yet.

Article by Lotte Printz


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