Marriott ruined our wedding night!
September 8, 2007 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Marriott ruined our wedding night! How do we get them to make it right?

We got married over Labor Day weekend in North Chicago, Illinois. We did a lot of advance legwork to set up a hotel for our guests that was close to the venue and convenient. Our wedding venue recommended the Marriott Courtyard in Waukegan/Gurnee. It was more expensive then the other hotels in the area and a bit further away, but they offered something irresistible-- a free shuttle to and from the wedding venue for all of our guests staying there. Since we had been contemplating hiring vans to shuttle our guests around so no one would drive drunk, this was a no-brainer. Plus, the Marriott has a good brand name and we felt confident things would go smoothly.

I phoned the sales office and spoke to a lovely, competent sounding woman who told me that yes, the Marriott would provide shuttles to and from the wedding, and not only that, would set up a private meeting room for our "recovery brunch" the next day. She said the Marriott had a brunch buffet (with waffles!) from 9-12, and that we could have the private room from 9-1. In addition, she said our room would be free if 10 rooms were booked, and that the hotel would set us up with champagne and roses for our wedding night. Perfect. We confirmed the details, and reconfirmed several times in the weeks before the wedding. We gleefully urged our guests to stay at the Marriott.

Flash forward to the day of our wedding. I suppose I could have guessed there was a problem with the shuttle when I saw the maid of honor drop off a car full of guests, then turn around to pick up another load. I also might have guessed it at the end of the night when I was urging people to wait for shuttles that were promised to arrive at 11:00 and 11:20, and saw them still waiting at 11:30. Maybe the absence of anything in our room: champagne, flowers or a congratulatory note might have tipped me off. But I was clueless until the next morning when we went to the meeting room that had the sign with our names on it, found it locked, went to the front desk and was informed that they had the brunch and the shuttles for us on Saturday. The day before our wedding. They said these were the dates they had gotten from the sales office, and that their brunch ended at 10:00. The woman at the desk arranged for us to eat at the bar of the restaurant next door-- we scrambled to call everyone we thought might show-- and we descended on the understaffed and unsuspecting waitstaff.

On Thursday, my new husband called the Marriott sales office to let them know all the ways they screwed up. The sales office had all the dates and times correct; they passed the blame to the hotel itself. The sales office called the manager of the hotel and promised we would hear from him. My husband called him directly when we didn't. The manager apologized, asked us what he could do to make things right. We asked for free hotel stays at Marriott hotels anywhere in the US for the rest of our lives. He said he'd get back to us. When he did, he offered us a two-night stay at his Marriott-- the same one that screwed everything up that we will never set foot in again. He basically said we should have asked them to open the room and set up the brunch, that his hotel didn't stock champagne, and that the only thing he'd take responsibility for was the shuttles. We figure this is just the start of our dealings with Marriott, but we am not sure what to do next. We're pretty outraged.

I keep trying not to think about my father in the lobby waiting for a shuttle that never came, or what might have happened to friends and family who decided to drive after drinking because there was no shuttle to the hotel. These thoughts are infringing my memories of our otherwise perfect wedding, and I'm furious! The Marriott wouldn't have had us or ANY of our wedding guests stay there without the promises they made. So my question is, what next? How do we take it to the next level?
posted by natness to Grab Bag (37 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't always help, but I have had some success in these sorts of train wrecks by writing directly to the C.E.O. In this case:

J.W. Marriott, Jr
Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott Drive
Washington, D.C. 20058

It's not as if they'll rush the letter directly into the office of the C.E.O. where he'll pound on the desk in outrage at your ruined wedding, but letters sent to corporate usually grab the attention of somebody empowered to do something helpful.
posted by jiiota at 9:03 AM on September 8, 2007

You might also write a submission to The Consumerist to get the word out. Or create a wildly successful viral Powerpoint presentation like this one.
posted by matildaben at 9:07 AM on September 8, 2007 [4 favorites]

I could be totally off base here, and I defer to someone perhaps with more knowledge or experience to answer, since this is not remotely similar to the area of law with which I normally practice. However, I remember a fact pattern from law school...

Backtracking a little bit, you had a contract with Marriot and they failed to perform, so you could sue for breach of contract. However, typically the damages from a breach of contract award only value of the contract itself in dollars and cents, including certain "economic" ramifications. That is to say, if you pay $100 for 100 widgets and the manufacturer fails to provide them, you get your $100 back, and you can demand the lost profits (i.e. you would have sold those widgets for $500, so you claim the difference), but you can't claim the "emotional" aspects, that is, perhaps, the loss of goodwill if your customers, disappointed you couldn't provide the widgets, never use your business ever again. To try to make a muddy area about which I'm a bit unclear perhaps a little less confusing, is another example - typically, if your husband hires Federal Express to deliver a dozen roses to you on Valentine's Day and they lose the roses, he can recover the cost of the roses and the price Fed-Ex changed him, but no extra damages to compensate him for how upset you were, how much it ruined your first Valentine's Day as husband and wife, and how you may never forgive him.

THAT IS UNLESS, the emotional damages are confined to a few small areas such as funerals and (drumroll)....WEDDINGS. Because those who provide funeral and wedding services obviously know of the highly charged emotional character of the events, because the emotional damages by failing to deliver a wedding dress until the day AFTER the wedding are so OBVIOUS, there is an exception to the general rule.

So, in your breach of contract case you can put a "premium" on top for the emotional damages you suffer. This makes a so-so case under which you'd get minimal reimbursement for a few (big to you, but small economically) amenities, you can put a nice big extra component on there and try to get money for how much they upset you. I think these emotional distress damages are a bit like punitive damages in tort cases - basically, you have the opportunity to wring so much money out of these people that, well, I know lots of money won't right the wrong and restore the memories, but maybe you can find a way to bring your family together for another joyful event to celebrate again.

Here is an article that explains mental distress and punitive damages in contracts cases, with case law references and explanations.
posted by bunnycup at 9:11 AM on September 8, 2007 [3 favorites]

It's natural to be furious, and it's terrible this clouds your otherwise happy wedding. You mentioned confirming and reconfirming, but you didn't mention if you got the wedding package service details in writing via contract.

If not, I'd start by by speaking directly with the employee who promised these perks to you, as well as the employee at the wedding venue who recommended this hotel -- if these services aren't available, the venue shouldn't recommend based on this.

And whether or not you have a contract in hand, write a letter. Try to get the full story down on what was offered from the beginning and write down everything. Note how many of your guests were impacted by this, and the repercussions occurring because your guests did not have the services made available to them. State clearly exactly at you want, whether it's a refund, a formal apology, your name in skywriting, whatever. State also that you are concerned about other future guests planning events nearby being similarly disappointed. Then print out five copies and mail these to corporate sales, corporate customer service, the company ceo, the local manager, and your contact making recommenations at the wedding venue. Wait 14 days for a response and follow up with those who can take action. Take names.

If it's in a contract, you'll have a much easier time should you decide to go to court.
posted by mochapickle at 9:12 AM on September 8, 2007

When you write to the CEO, be sure to prominently cc the hotel manager you spoke with. He offered you free nights at HIS hotel to keep the corporate office from finding out how badly everything went. He also did that because he already knows there is no way you'd ever stay at that hotel again.
posted by Lockjaw at 9:13 AM on September 8, 2007

My first response is a question: thinking about it rationally and with a clear head (understandably difficult), what would be a reasonable way for Marriott to make this right? There's no turning back time, there's no getting the shuttles to retrospectively appear, and there's no way to fix the brunch not happening; it's hard, but you need to come up with a reasonable thing that Marriott can provide to you. I'm personally not sure that lifetime stays for free is a reasonable request -- but you might, after thinking about it more, and that's up to you.

Once you figure out that way, you need to come up with a list of rational reasons why that's what Marriott should do for you; it doesn't hurt for you to couch it in ways that the people who ultimately make decisions like this will understand (e.g., tie it to their bottom line, reference the reasonable things you will do to influence people based on the outcome of all this -- either positively or negatively). Sleep on the list of reasons, and then look at it again and see if it's still rational and reasonable.

After all that, you should call the Marriott corporate offices; they claim that they're located in Washington DC, but their main number appears to be 301.380.3000, which is in Maryland; it appears that they actually are in Bethesda, MD, and Google Maps confirms that that's really where they are. Ask to speak with the executive customer service division, or just ask for the office of Mr. J.W. Marriott, Jr. (who's currently the CEO of the Marriott corporation). If you want to fly just slightly under the radar with this first call, you can ask for David Grissen's office, who's the Executive Vice President of Lodging Operations, or Joel Eisemann's office, who's the Executive Vice President of Owner and Franchise Services -- I have found that people like this are far easier to reach in a meaningful way, and have exactly the same ability to move the big wheels when they need moving. Either way, you'll likely get transferred to an executive secretary in one of their offices, which is exactly what you want; at this point, you have to be prepared to be succinct, explain why it is you're calling, ask if that person has a minute or two to make sure you get "directed to the right place," and then you can calmly explain what happened and how you wish to resolve it.

Above all things, you must remain calm, and you must understand that you're speaking with someone who, based on your one or two minutes of contact, can either decide that you're a crank who needs to be avoided or that you're a potential future customer who needs to be satisfied.
posted by delfuego at 9:16 AM on September 8, 2007 [8 favorites]

And seriously, in the meantime, try to get a handle on how emotionally distressing this might be -- you have a happy life together just waiting for you, so try to partition this event from the events that otherwise went well for you. Promise yourself you'll spend no more than ten minutes per day thinking about it until it is resolved. Hang in there.
posted by mochapickle at 9:19 AM on September 8, 2007

I let Bill know.

Which is to say – god knows how these things work in reality, and who writes the blog posts that he reads into a microphone – but Mr. J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Chairman and CEO, really does have a blog. The comments, as you might expect, must be approved before they appear in public, but I made one on the most recent post, in detail, and provided the URL here.

Maybe some of the other people reading this could go over to the blog and make some comments, too. Volume does get through in certain circumstances.

If that doesn't work, I think you have two options.
a) Publicity. This may be distasteful to you, or a bit nervewracking, depending on how much you like cameras, but this is such a massive screwup on the part of the Waukegan Courtyard that people deserve to know. The Tribune, The Sun-Times, the local TV network affiliates, whatever else I'm missing because I have never lived in Chicago: they all have tip lines and tip submission pages on their websites. This is a news story, it's infuriating and heartwrenching, and it shows corporate incompetence. People will want to take up your cause, and Marriott will lose a lot of money.

b) Legal action, like bunnycup detailed.

While planning these things, they're also both good to mention to anyone you talk to at Marriott. It tends to remind people that there are consequences.
posted by blacklite at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2007

Man, that's a terrible story. I'm sorry that happened.

I say, first of all, stay cool. As mentioned above, call the head of the company directly or write everything that you wrote here in a letter in as neutral a tone as you can manage. Simply state the facts and let them speak for themselves. Praise the employees who did endeavor to help make things right. State that you are unclear at what point along the line the ball was dropped, but that it was unambiguously dropped and you were unhappy with your experience with the company.

Also, were I in your shoes, I would simply state matter of factly that you do not intend to use Marriott for services in the future and that you would not recommend them to any of your friends or family. Again, state this as dispassionately as possible. It's been my experience that avoiding threats or emotionally weighted language and simply stating your position clearly and succinctly works wonders when trying to rectify a situation like this. At any point along the line, if any one person feels personally threatened or guilty about the treatment you received, they are less apt to help you get what you want. Be clear on what exactly that is - free hotel accommodations for life? A refund? Free rooms for another event? A letter of apology? Whatever it is, be clear on it in your own mind. If they ask you what it is that you expect them to do, simply ask them what they're prepared to do to rectify the situation. If it's less than what you want or are willing to settle for, politely decline and simply tell them you'll take your business elsewhere in the future.

Years ago, my SO's family traveled over a thousand miles to have his father's fiftieth dinner party at a reknown restaurant. They spent alot of money on this special event between travel, accommodations and the meal itself. They were sat late and rushed to complete their meal. My SO's step-mother wrote a very nice, even-handed and quite complimentary letter to the chef, explaining the great points of their meal but also mentioning being rushed through dinner because of the lateness of the hour. She received a personal, hand-written letter from the chef apologizing profusely, and with an invitation to return any time to his restaurant as his personal guest. My SO and his step-mother continue to recommend the restaurant to friends and family, and only speak well of their experience now.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 9:45 AM on September 8, 2007

i think you should hire bunnycup as your lawyer, her answer was great, except for her link, which turned out to be canadian, of limited utility in illinois.

your situation transcends breach of contract, approaching fraud, which does allow punitive damages. they apparently had no intention of performing on some parts of their promise; no champagne in stock. i got the funny feeling that the front desk's assertion that the brunch and shuttles were scheduled for you saturday was also a lie.

asking for lifetime free lodging is unreasonable because it's open-ended; bean counters like to see a cap on things. i think you should ask for money.

finally, i'm wondering if your wedding venue got a kickback for sending people to marriott. if so, they might be on the hook too (i am not an illinois lawyer, never have been).
posted by bruce at 9:53 AM on September 8, 2007

I'm a marketing director who *hates* bad customer service, and I tend to think my own personal crusades against this kind of infuriating ineptitude as campaigns. This is a biggie, so it calls for a pretty big campaign. In campaigns, you want the following things: a compelling message with consistency of tone, and you want the right reach and frequency, particularly with the best people for your message. If you achieve these things, you have the best chance of achieving your desired end result, which you need to have in mind from the beginning.

So, first, decide what you want your message to be, and I think "Marriott ruined our wedding night" comes close, but you might want to go with "Marriott ruined the happiest night of my life." Every woman in the world knows what "happiest night of my life" means, but it also makes Marriott sound a lot more evil. Where "wedding night" is neutral, their attempt to ruin the "happiest night of [your] life" makes them sound like the schoolyard bully who knocks over the ice cream cone of the adorable little girl in pigtails.

Whatever messaging you decide to go with, be consistent. Your goal here is for as many people to remember what happened to you and associate it with the Marriott brand as you possibly can. Right now, your one customer who will likely never use their services again. The only thing they worry about is future customers who may not use their services as a result of hearing your story. Their objective will become to get your to stop telling your story.

Next is reach and frequency and ensuring you're talking to the right people. Writing the CEO isn't a bad idea, but it can be a crap shoot, depending on his schedule and personal mood that day. See if Marriott has a regional general manager for your area and a person at corporate who handles weddings (or wedding marketing) as well. They may have a corporate omsbudman whose job it is to settle these sorts of disasters. It often pays to cc as many people as possible on your correspondence (within reason), because then they know others have been made aware (such as the people at corporate or the person into whom they report).

You should also cc the weddings editor of the local paper. See if there's a local organized body of wedding planners. Again, REACH. They need to know you've made it your mission to tell as many potential customers as possible.

Online is a great way to spread this as well: consider writing a review of the hotel and your nightmare experience and posting it at yelp. With permission from the wedding photographer (most own their professional work), post 2-3 of the best shots from your wedding on flickr, photobucket, and webshots, with a link that says "How Marriott ruined the happiest night of my life" that links out to the yelp review. Create a MySpace profile for "Marriott's Jilted Bride." Invite every man and woman who's had a bad experience with a wedding vendor to be your friend, and you'll be the most popular person on MySpace for, like, a week. If you have the email address of the hotel manager, consider posting it online (after he's failed numerous times to satisfy your requests for redress), and suggest people who read your story send their thoughts to him.

Online is important because that's your frequency here, and you don't have the money to buy broadcast (I'm assuming). Get all your postings ready and then "launch" them all within a two week window. Commit to doing it consistently in a short period of time.

Now, I saved "desired end result" for last, although you really should decide on this first. But here's the sucker punch for you: are you *really* going to be happy with anything Marriott does for you? It sounds to me like you Just. Want. Someone. To PAY! That's an understandable and justifiable feeling, but it's one that Marriott - even execs in the organization who might be sympathetic to getting you something for this - can use to dismiss you. This has to be a negotiation, and no one wants to negotiate with someone making unreasonable demands. Frankly, free stays in Marriotts in perpetuity is never going to be something they'll agree to. Companies simply aren't set up to honor those kind of commitments. When you ask for something like this, people within the business roll their eyes and think, "Oh, brother. Why don't I just wave a magic wand and transport us all back in time instead? Then I could make sure the whole thing never happened!"

Instead, decide on an outcome they can handle immediately: say, "I'd like you to refund 75% of all charges incurred by our wedding party. If you think that's unreasonable, I'd like to remind you your staff delivered 0% of what was promised." If you want to cap it off, say you want that for all of the people who were inconvenienced, but you want two free deluxe weekend packages for both sets of parents, and you want a free week's stay in the nicest Marriott you can afford to travel to, to be redeemed within the next two years. Don't expect them to pay for travel. Meet them halfway. Suddenly, you're no longer a looney out for revenge. You're a level-headed negotiator with a clear end in mind, and you're much scarier to deal with, because it's those kind of people who get unresponsive people in the service industry fired.

You may decide that, you know what, I'm right: you're never going to be happy about this. Nothing they'll do will make this right. And, in that case? Move on. Don't permanently imbed the poisonous venom of what they did here into the memories of your special day. As time passes, you'll forget.

Otherwise, good luck with the campaign.
posted by mrkinla at 10:04 AM on September 8, 2007 [30 favorites]

i got the funny feeling that the front desk's assertion that the brunch and shuttles were scheduled for you saturday was also a lie.

I don't buy this either - you're to assume that Marriott staff would set up and break down an untouched buffet without at least raising an eyebrow and attempting to contact the wedding party? This hotel manager sounds slippery.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:15 AM on September 8, 2007

porn in the woods---that, and would they have left the name on the door for a full day after as well?
posted by vernondalhart at 10:26 AM on September 8, 2007

This story on
posted by bunnycup at 10:27 AM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

We asked for free hotel stays at Marriott hotels anywhere in the US for the rest of our lives.

Its pretty obvious that you have the mentality of the "spill coffee on me millionare." Sorry, but you wont be taken seriously until you calm down some and start thinking and acting like an adult.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:37 AM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

Look at it this way, if you have 30 years of vacationing in you at 2 weeks per year at 300 dollars per night you're asking for $126,000 dollars each. So you're pretty much saying "You messed up a 300 dollar brunch and 100 dollar shuttle bus. Pay us A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS."

Instead you should try to get something off your bill. Like 25% or even 50%. Not a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:41 AM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

Lastly, have the people in this thread ever hired a lawyer? For such small change as this you're going to pay a lawyer 1500+ dollars to make a few phone calls and letters you could be making for free? I doubt hes going to get you a quarter of million dollars. He'll just get you the same 25% off theyre going to offer you.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:45 AM on September 8, 2007

If you don't get immediate satisfaction (say, in the next week), see a good consumer protection lawyer. Every decent-sized city has one. This is a matter that is egregious enough to justify litigation. Once a good (and I do emphasize "good" --- getting the right lawyer is important) lawyer is engaged, things will fall into place, and Marriott will be likely to settle on favorable terms.
posted by jayder at 10:47 AM on September 8, 2007

And by favorable terms, I don't mean "free stays for the rest of your life" --- that's not going to happen --- but you should be compensated for this fiasco.
posted by jayder at 10:48 AM on September 8, 2007

I agree with just about everything mrkinia says, except this:

you might want to go with "Marriott ruined the happiest night of my life." Every woman in the world knows what "happiest night of my life" means, but it also makes Marriott sound a lot more evil. Where "wedding night" is neutral, their attempt to ruin the "happiest night of [your] life" makes them sound like the schoolyard bully who knocks over the ice cream cone of the adorable little girl in pigtails.

I disagree that it would make Marriott sound more evil; it just makes you sound unneccesarily dramatic. No one needs to be told that a wedding is a major, emotional event, so sticking in the whole "happiest night of my life" just sounds sort of condescending and hysterical to me. Remove the emotion -- as difficult as that is! -- and simply stick to the cold, hard facts. I believe that may actually garner you more sympathy and support from the powers-that-be in this situation.

I also agree with everyone who says that "free stays for life" isn't reasonable. Come up with a tangible and concrete request for compensation -- X% refund, X number of weekend stays, whatever -- and go from there.
posted by scody at 10:50 AM on September 8, 2007

Response by poster: Wow-- thanks for all the awesome advice! As Bunnycup noted, I already started following it with a post to I see that asking for free hotel stays for life is unreasonable.... I certainly didn't do the math (thanks, damn dirty ape!) Chalk it up to an emotional bride wanting something "lifetime" in exchange for the Marriott blowing our "once in a lifetime" night. Don't get me wrong, our wedding was wonderful, and I'm still basking in the glow. I'll remember all that long before I remember the Marriott.
posted by natness at 10:53 AM on September 8, 2007

An alternative to the free stays for life thing, how about 250-300k Marriott rewards points and lifetime platinum status or something like that? You could use for any one of their hotels around the world (they have some REALLY nice ones) for a week or two vacation for your anniversary, and the platinum status is nice for the perks when you stay there.

This would not present an onerous cost to the hotel, get you something memorable, without being out of control and I think would probably be more equitable to all parties.

Of course at this point you may want to avoid all contact with them in the future, but it sounds like your actual stay in the hotels facilities (rooms) were ok, just their obligations regarding other aspects blew up.

You may have some luck getting the regional manager or his/her admin on the phone and going through that process as well. My experience with Marriot has been that the hotel and regional managers have been generally very helpful in getting issues cleared up.

Best of luck to you!
posted by iamabot at 11:45 AM on September 8, 2007

Let us know what happens
posted by A189Nut at 12:27 PM on September 8, 2007

I worked my way up through college to being a (regular) manager at a pretty swanky (for Holiday Inn) Holiday Inn , and I would like to point a few things out from a former manager's POV:

1) Ten guest rooms guaranteeing an arranged complimentary room for brunch, VIP service in one room, and continual shuttle service is not something a hotel would arrange without a written contract. Read your contract very carefully. Make sure there is not a 24-48-72 hour confirmation that you or the sales office failed to do. At the VERY least, they would have to contact you at some point to let you know how fulfilled your guaranteed 10 rooms was going. Did they do this?

Usually when such contracts are made, the banquet manager, the kitchen manager, AND the front desk are given copies. When speaking about this, ask them what staff members received these contracts.

2) Sometimes, people don't show up for arrangements like this. It is quite possible everyone was given the wrong date but thought it had been canceled from your end and you failed to notify them. It happens, and doesn't necessarily mean sliminess.

3) From the manager's POV, HIS hotel screwed up...not Marriott. Naturally, he wants to show how well HIS hotel can do. Just like the chef of a restaurant will give you a free meal in order for you to re-experience their service, it is quite natural for the manager to offer you a free night's stay. And, depending on franchisement, that may also be the best he CAN offer. Furthermore, the one thing a hotel manager hates more than anything is a comped stay. In his mind, he may be offering a pretty swanky deal.

4) The sales office screwed up. They are going to be pretty reluctant to admit they screwed up. When you talked to the manager, it may have been the first time he heard of the incident. He may have been stalling while he does his own internal investigation. Perhaps the contract said the wrong days and in his mind, his staff did ok, and he is just placating you. Maybe it's a he said, she said. Or maybe this was just one more mistake in a chain of them and he is tired of dealing with it. Also, did you speak to the actual hotel manager...or the MANAGER ON DUTY? There's a big difference. If you called the front desk and asked to speak to the manager, chances are, they gave you the MOD.

5) Everything I said could be wrong and they could just be incompetent dicks. In which case good luck. I'm sorry this had to happen to you.
posted by barchan at 12:43 PM on September 8, 2007


The problem with your angle on all of this is how the Manager treated her once she brought her problem to him. IE we dont have champange, how about one free two night stay.

come on Barchan, thats a slap in the face and you know it.

I do want to say this though.

I keep trying not to think about my father in the lobby waiting for a shuttle that never came, or what might have happened to friends and family who decided to drive after drinking because there was no shuttle to the

If one of your friends or family had driven drunk and something happened there is no one to blame but the person who got behind the wheel. Marriotts fualt lies only in not providing trans that they promised. The drivers fualt is breaking the law and the responsiblity lies solely on him. Two wrongs do not make a right and people pass the self responisbility buck WAY TO MUCH.

I am very very sorry to hear about your evening. I hope they make it right.

I do think you should put a cap on your request though. How about 3 free nights for two once a year, anywhere in the world for 10 years? Things still have to be somewhat reasonable.
posted by crewshell at 1:55 PM on September 8, 2007

Oh, shitfire. Crewshell, I didn't mean it that way. (glumly) I was trying to give her some details and some angles which would help her out. Sometimes in cases like this it's easier if you speak the language, you know? You have to understand, precisely what you brought up is something the wedding party has to convey to these people, because hotel staff deal with guest relation problems every day. It kind of numbs them.
posted by barchan at 2:08 PM on September 8, 2007

I think a good start would be to have all the guests that paid with a credit card contact customer service of said credit card and have the hotel charge removed from their bill. As bad as it sucked for you- and I'm sure it really sucked- it sucked equally for them as they had to sit on their drunk asses waiting for a ride that was never going to come.
posted by bkeene12 at 2:11 PM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think a good start would be to have all the guests that paid with a credit card contact customer service of said credit card and have the hotel charge removed from their bill. As bad as it sucked for you- and I'm sure it really sucked- it sucked equally for them as they had to sit on their drunk asses waiting for a ride that was never going to come.
posted by bkeene12 at 2:11 PM on September 8 [+] [!]

This is totally counter productive. The hotel provided services to the guests which they paid for, there is nothing to dispute.

Resolve it through the management and the executive leadership, doing something like this is likely to cause more problems.
posted by iamabot at 2:48 PM on September 8, 2007

The hotel manager sounds like a totally incompetent dick. As someone who has major issues dealing with a hotel for her wedding, my main advice is not to bother with the hotel manager once you have tried your best to get a resolution. Go straight to corporate, as the general managers of individual hotels are usually extremely busy and they don't usually give a shit once they have your money.

I also agree with everyone who says that "free stays for life" isn't reasonable. Come up with a tangible and concrete request for compensation -- X% refund, X number of weekend stays, whatever -- and go from there.

I definitely agree that this is unreasonable ... I do think, personally, that giving refunds to all your wedding guests who stayed there would be very reasonable, considering they weren't provided with the services they/you were promised. And they should throw in an extra perk for you & your husband too, of course.

I don't know if this will HAPPEN, but it's what I think is fair.

Good luck, I am really rooting for you here!
posted by tastybrains at 4:32 PM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is totally counter productive. The hotel provided services to the guests which they paid for, there is nothing to dispute.

I also agree that having them dispute their credit card probably isn't the best idea - you should be their advocate, since you made the decision to book the hotel room block @ the Marriott based on promises that were not kept.
posted by tastybrains at 4:33 PM on September 8, 2007

I have nothing to add but a virtual hug and a big bouquet of sympathy. As a newish bride, married near North Chicago, I am feeling your pain. I very much hope that you and your husband can get a boatload of Marriott brochures and have a cleansing bonfire when this is all resolved. Once they make whatever restitution you and your legal counsel decide upon, I hope you can have a cleansing ritual of some sort and release the anger this most certainly caused you. I wish you only happy memories of your wedding. I am so sorry. Please update this thread often and tell us what happens.
posted by orangemiles at 5:26 PM on September 8, 2007

'Wedding night' will do nicely. 'Happiest night of my life' makes me think 'You mean it's all downhill from there? Crap, I guess I'm glad I'm single after all.'
posted by eritain at 5:57 PM on September 8, 2007

I've had good luck calling the corporate office and asking who a very upset customer could talk to. Frequently, the front desk will know who will Bea able to help you. I'll also second the advice of deciding on what you feel would be fair recompense for what happened. Free stays for life is excessive, and is likely impossible in their booking system. If you go to them with a reasonable request, they will be much more likely to help you.
posted by nalyd at 6:56 PM on September 8, 2007

Both from a PR perspective, and from a perspective of appearing to be a caring person, I think you should advocate not just for relief for yourself, but for some kind of comp or refund for all the guests that stayed there.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:23 PM on September 8, 2007

On a side note, the slide show linked to in the second post mentions a hotel I worked (as in, worked a seminar, not the hotel staff) at, now called four points Sheraton. 20 people in suits and business attire, + another 20 people in a relatively small room with broken air conditioning and almost zero sympathy from the hotel staff; plus two cars got broken into during daylight hours. Fun. Good luck!
posted by Jacen at 10:49 AM on September 9, 2007

I would like to nth writing to Marriott headquarters (which is indeed in Bethesda). Whether you write or call, send copies of the contract, any emails or other correspondence you had with the hotel, and the names of the sales representatives and hotel manager. A full refund for you and your guests is the least they can do, and based on my interactions with the company I think they might agree.

I know people who can get a free stay at Marriott any time they like because of connections with the family, however I'm not sure it would be taken as reasonable to ask for that outright. Perhaps you would like a stay, with perks, at one of their resorts?
posted by zennie at 2:56 PM on September 10, 2007

"Hahahah, sorry to see that the husband is already whipped. How pathetic when you judge "how special" your wedding is by minor external happenings (oh boo hoo, the shuttle didn't arrive). It's called being grown up and dealing with what life throws at you - get used to it."

That's one of the comments already. They're a lot nastier than we are. Wow!

Yeah, I think that writing a few nice polite letters will probably get you a couple free rooms somewhere. See if they'll cough up a nice suite in Las Vegas. Perhaps you can make a second honeymoon out of it!

But I'll nth what everyone else has said - no matter what you do, don't be overly dramatic, and please be polite.
posted by drstein at 5:38 PM on September 10, 2007

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