Friday, November 7, 2008

Why I Will Never Again Be A Marriott Customer

As I posted earlier, I have had some issues with Marriott in relation to establishing a block of rooms for my wedding last month. The most surprising thing is that after what I thought was a ridiculous comedy of errors, I thought everything I had been resolved.

I was wrong.

Let's start with what went wrong when I arrived at the Marriott location where my block of rooms was reserved and where I would be staying. After promising me a hospitality suite throughout my stay, the Marriott representative that checked me in at the desk told me there was no such room available and there was no record of Marriott staff authorizing the use of such a room for me.

Needless to say, I was shocked and stayed the night in the very nice King sized room they put me in. The next day, I called the Marriott representative who handled my original complaints and she very quickly sprang into action and set-up the hospitality suite I had been promised and apologized for the misunderstanding (again). She and her staff even went beyond what they had promised setting up complimentary champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, bottled water and soda for the suite. It was very nice and I was very touched. She and her staff went to great lengths to make sure the situation was rectified. I asked to speak to her manager at the time to praise her for her hard work and restoring my faith in the Marriott brand. The manager thanked me for my praise and said she would be recognized internally (NOTE: She STILL deserves to be recognized! Despite what I write below, SHE is one of Marriott's true stars!)

And then it fell apart again.

When I checked-in to the Marriott, I was asked (as all hotels require) to provide a credit card for incidentals. I provided the card (same card I reserved my room with), but asked them not to charge the card for my room stay as I would be using my soon-to-be-husband's card to pay our bill (lots of wedding charges were already on my card). They agreed.

The Marriott then TRIPLE charged us for our stay.

Yes, Triple charged.

I discovered this on our honeymoon when a $420 charge was placed on my credit card. I then asked my now husband if the $560 charge we were assessed when we checked out was on his card. He checked. It was along with ANOTHER $600+ charge. Upon further inspection, we realized that the Marriott had charged me for the one king room I had stayed in that night when they failed to check me into the hospitality suite as promised and then they charged us separately for EACH of the suite rooms (they were joined) that we were led to believe would be one charge under the discounted rate we had already negotiated because of all the other issues we had faced.

We then had to make 6 separate phone calls to the Marriott location to get the accounting department to resolve this issue. As of now, the charges on our cards are correct and we will be paying the Marriott the agreed price.

This ENTIRE experience has left me jaded and fed-up with the Marriott brand. While I appreciate and recognize that no company is perfect, I am really shocked that I received such horrible customer service management from a company that has been in the hotel business for more than 80 years. It's sad that my relationship with Marriott brand had to end in such a comedy of errors. Even their shining star event coordinator (who I still think very much of) can't make me reverse my decision to never stay in another one of their hotels again.

I don't expect anyone from Marriott to read this post. After all, I'm just a small drop in the entire Marriott universe, but for what it's worth, please, please, please review event contract management with your sales representatives. A lot of my issues with the Marriott brand stem from direct interaction with your contract managers that "passed the buck" because they either did not understand Marriott procedures or they were unwilling to help me solve my problem.

I really hope that my experience with Marriott is an anomaly and not the norm. Regardless, my experience is over and like a bad bittersweet break-up, Marriott is officially out of my life.

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