Last week was one of the more difficult for Marriott Corporation. It actually began a couple weeks ago when they decided to help guests with their tipping by leaving envelopes in the room. Many people – including myself – don’t have a problem with this. On the other hand, a very large number do.
The internet was ablaze with complaints from guests for many reasons. Some felt that they were being intimidated or coerced. Others complained that if a tip is not left, it may affect the quality of their room cleaning. And of course, some feel that if Marriott paid a living wage, it would not be necessary to tip at all. Why, they wonder, should guests subsidize what the company should be paying in wages? After all, room rates are pretty high historically. Still others simply refuse.
While tipping is very common in the Western hemisphere, it is not as much expected in other parts of the world. If someone is paid a tip in the UK, for example, it is usually smaller than in the U.S. In other parts of the world like Asia and Australia, it is very rare to tip though it is more common by foreigners to at least certain hotel employees.
Undeterred, Marriott plans to have these tipping envelopes in their rooms. Of course, including a tip is voluntary though certainly customary in the U.S. If this was all Marriott had to deal with, it wouldn’t be so bad. But no, last week also brought this FCC ruling and $600,000 fine against the hotel giant for blocking all outside internet at the Gaylord in Nashville.
Seems a guest complained after learning that all Wi-Fi networks were cut off except, of course, the one provided by the hotel. With a rate of as much as $1,000 per device, it is easy to understand why the hotel would try this ploy. However, the hotel’s activity may be illegal.
For a reason I certainly don’t understand, Marriott doubled down on a poor position, arguing that the hotel’s actions were not only appropriate but the right thing to do. Marriott actually said, “When our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks, and identity theft.” Oh, and they added, “We believe the Gaylord Opryland’s actions were lawful.”
While I am not aware of Marriott asking anyone for this yet, I thought I would be the first to suggest when you stay at a Marriott property, prepare two envelopes. One is to tip the housekeeping and the other will be to make a donation to the company’s FCC fine. After all, they are protecting you from something as serious as identity theft.
No, make that three envelopes. The third will be used to pay the new fee Marriott charges that will also protect you from these rogue hotspots and cyber-attacks.