Do not lose your mind

when managing disputes in hospitality



By Eugénie Blanchard

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Dispute resolution is a big issue in the hospitality sector. Indeed, for example, there are always customers dissatisfied with the service by the hotel they stayed in.  Six alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) can be used to resolve a dispute between two parties. These six alternatives are prevention, mediation, negotiation, binding arbitration, non-binding arbitration and litigation. Nevertheless, it can be hard to decide which alternative choose when needed. The goal of this paper is to discover which type of alternative is the preferred one when managing a dispute. This paper will also try to understand why the hospitality sector can be reluctant to use mediation.

The paper is based on a Multi-attribute decision analysis, an Additive weighting calculation, a Fishbone diagram and articles written by experts on ADR. These analyses show that mediation is the preferred solution for time saving, cost saving, keeping privacy, and so on.

Even if mediation has disadvantages, it is the preferred solution. Indeed, you cannot always be sure that one alternative will be a success. But mediation is the one that will more likely meet all the objectives expecting by both party in hospitality.

Key words : Mediation, Binding arbitration, Non-binding Arbitration, Negotiation, Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Issues of mediation, Dispute resolution


The last century saw and allowed huge development of the hospitality sector. Improvement in travelling technics and appearance of paid holidays gave people the opportunity to travel around the world more often. Hence, the hospitality sector always needs to be improved and to offer more and more opportunities to the customers. This is the reason why nowadays the hospitality sector is really important and involves many parties.

The involvement of more and more parties is one of the main reasons for parties to have a contract as complete as possible. They need to try to forecast everything to be sure there will be no issues or fewer issues. Nevertheless, it is impossible to predict and avoid everything. Indeed, disputes between parties occurs and need to be resolved.

There are several dispute resolution technics. But to make the resolution easier, parties have to put a dispute resolution clause on the contract. Like this, they will always know how to resolve the dispute. The resolution will be made easier.

Even if mediation seems to be the best dispute resolution in the hospitality sector, there are other ways to resolve a dispute between two parties. A resolution can be managed with mediation, litigation, arbitration or negotiation. These resolution technics can be used in every sector. Nevertheless, for some time now, in hospitality, stakeholders are using mediation to resolve disputes between parties. Often, there is even a clause in the contract explaining that mediation will be the one used in case of a dispute.

Mediation presents many advantages compared to other dispute resolution technics. Indeed, mediation takes less time, costs less, and is private so customers will not know what the company is facing. These are the major advantages, there are others.

The other main techniques are litigation, arbitration and negotiation. These techniques will use more time, cost much, more persons will be involved and cannot be private. So, we can understand why often parties will first turn to mediation.

Nevertheless, mediation is not always working when fixing a dispute. Sometimes after mediation, parties will have to go to court or to use other techniques. Moreover, mediation is also not always the first technique chosen.

To summarize, this paper will attempt to answer the following questions:

  • Why some parties are reluctant to use mediation when resolving a dispute for hotel contracts?
  • What is the best dispute resolution for a hotel contract in hospitality?


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper:
Blanchard, E. (2018). Do not lose your mind when managing disputes in hospitality, PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Blanchard-do-not-lose-your-mind-student-paper.pdf

About the Author

Eugénie Blanchard

Paris, France



Eugénie Blanchard is a SKEMA Business School (Paris) student, specialized in Project and Program Management and Business Development. She joined SKEMA in 2014 and improved her knowledge in Finance, Marketing, Law and Management during classes and internships. Her last internship in marketing and business development in E-lixir Consulting (Madrid) highlighted her wish to enhance her knowledge and capacities in project management. This is the reason why she chose the MSc Project and Program Management and Business Development for her last year at school.