The biggest challenge of the week? Finding a hotel room in Davos
Updated: 2013-01-24 13:44
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Reporting on the thoughts and plans of the world's political and business elite in Davos doesn't come easy.
Or understanding the issues, or covering all the angles.
For many journalists, the biggest challenge of being here boils down to something a lot more basic - finding a warm bed for the night.
The experience of Yan Ting, a Chinese business journalist from Shanghai, is typical.
When I met her shortly before the start of the annual forum on Tuesday, she was slumped at her laptop in the media center, already exhausted after her long flight and subsequent shuttle bus trip just to reach the conference venue.
And now, on top of the pressure of tight deadlines and demanding editors back home, she had been told that she would have to change hotel nearly every night during her six-night stay.
It would mean six hotels before she flew back to China on Jan 28.
Her only comfort is that the farthest hotel is only 20 kilometers away, reachable by train - but her stay is still an administrative headache she well could do without.
It appears that the hundreds of leaders, delegates, speakers, participants, backup staff, security staff and countless others involved in such a major international event have grabbed every available room in Davos and neighboring Klosters, leaving the journalists to scrabble about for what's left.
Yan's experience isn't isolated, as media from all over the world are being forced to shuttle bags and belongings between conference center and hotels.
Yuan Xue, another Chinese journalist, will be staying in Chur at one point, a historic and beautiful town an hour and a half away by train.
During her daily commute through the snow-covered mountains, she says she's decided just to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
But I'm not surprised to hear her story, or those of other colleagues.
When I was in Davos for the forum in 2011, I'd booked a hotel on booking.com, which said it was about 20 km from Davos.
However, when I finished registration at the conference and tried to return to my room, I was told it was a two-hour drive away on narrow and slippery roads.
The booking was cancelled before I realized how difficult it was to find somewhere else.
After five hours of knocking on doors, I managed to find a three-star bed in Davos, but only after one business leader made a last-minute decision to cancel his trip. I was lucky.
Determined not to be caught out again, after hearing I was going to Davos a year ago, I started looking for rooms - but I still failed to find one actually in Davos, instead staying an hour away by train.
This year, joined by two colleagues, we could only book a hotel in Bad Ragaz.
To make an early morning meeting in Davos meant getting up at 6 am, despite getting back at midnight.
One journalist friend says she's staying in a 10-person dormitory, so I suppose I shouldn't complain.
But it seems ironic, that coming to an event where some 2,500 business and political leaders meet to discuss the biggest challenges facing the world economy, finding a hotel room still presents one of the major challenges.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org