In all my years of being a JW, one of the more annoying aspects to me was each year sitting through the service meeting review part about what was expected (see: demanded) behavior and policies that the rest of us rank and file were ordered to comply with to attend a district convention. The minutia in this part and the over-reaching set of rules were enough to drive me into a lather of rage at the audacity of these people thinking they could and should control every single aspect of my attendance to this "free" and voluntary convention. From what clothing I can wear on my trip to and from the convention city, to what clothing I can wear before and after each day of the convention, to what I should be doing after each day instead of eating dinner and enjoying some good times with good friends, to insisting on wearing a ridiculous name badge, to what I should eat for lunch and where I should eat lunch and what is the appropriate container to keep my lunch in, to .................. the list is ENDLESS!!!!!!!! But I digress. The reserving of hotel rooms on the "approved list" was by far the biggest and most heavily repeated order to comply with. Reasons given were that if we, the rank and file, did not cooperate with only using the approved hotels we would undermine the WT's ability to negotiate room rates in the future. There may some truth to that. However, I have attended many work related industry trade shows and conventions though out my life and NEVER has there been any demand by the convention organizers that all attendees only use their approved hotels. There was usually a hotel or a few hotels provided that had negotiated rates if a person was so inclined to use them. But otherwise, personal freedom was allowed (shocking, I know).
All of that leads me to my sincere question which I hope someone here has an answer to from inside knowledge or first hand experience. A person I know attended a convention a few years back and something had happened with their hotel reservations (I do not recall what the issue was) and they ended up not having the room they had reserved. So, during the Friday session they approached the rooming dept and asked them for help getting another hotel that night and for the weekend, as they had been directed to do by WT. Sure enough, a room was available for them and it was mentioned at that time by the person in the rooming department that it was a room that was originally reserved for WT official personnel but was not needed after all. The brother in need of the room asked how he was supposed to pay for the room. He was told it was already paid for but that he would need to contribute directly to the rooming dept the amount per night he was going to pay for the room he had reserved on his own but was not able to stay in. He had no issue with that so he quickly calculated the amount per night he had planned on paying and handed the dept that amount. The person in the rooming dept counted the money and then said something to the effect of: "Uh, brother.......... you will need to donate more than that. You did not account for sales tax, hotel taxes."
So, here is the point of my question. This person who needed the room was under the impression that when the WT negotiates with hotels, part of that negotiation is to get a whole bunch of free rooms donated in the package deal so that all the Bethel folks, CO's, DO's, and other "dignitaries" can have their rooms for free while the rank and file carry the load as usual. If that wasn't bad enough, it was made perfectly clear to this person needing the room that not only were they charging him for the room they got for free but they also expected the additional amount of what he *would have* paid in local taxes even though they did not pay any taxes on a donated room.
Does anyone here in this forum have knowledge of how the WT's hotel shenanigans work? Was this a one-off experience or is this WT policy nationwide/worldwide?