China Shuts Down Marriott Website After Questionnaire
Rueters reports that the Chinese Government shut down Marriott’s website, in China, for a week last Thursday. They shut it down because of a poorly written questionnaire.
Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, claimed Tibet, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries in the questionnaire. The Chinese Government took offense to it claiming that it was an attack on their sovereignty, since China claims sovereignty over all four territories.
Penalties for Marriott
The Chinese Government issued the following punishments for the mistake:
- Marriott was to remove all relevant content from their site, after completing a thorough check of the entire website.
- They needed to address the public’s concerns in a timely fashion.
- Shanghai closed down the website for a week.
- They also shut down the Marriott mobile app
- There would be an investigation launched into Marriott. Marriott is suspected of violating China’s cyber security law and advertisement law.
Shutting down the website and mobile app will affect new bookings for sure. The only way to book a stay in country would be by calling the property until the ban is lifted. Who knows what the results of the investigation will be either.
Marriott issued an apology which was also posted on Twitter:
Seems like some pretty big penalties for what I assume to be an honest mistake. But when you are playing in someone else’s sandbox you need to play by their rules.
No one knows how this will affect Marriott’s revenues in the area. I am sure a certain portion of the population will be boycotting their hotels going forward. As of now the news has not hurt the stock price at all, closing up 1.26%.
This could all end up being grand theater and have no real impact on Marriott in any way. Only time will tell for sure!