In September, I filled out the event planner request to host a conference of 100 people. I also looked into Hilton properties and local properties. I am a Plat Premier, so I wanted to stay with Marriott if possible. My committee chose to work with the only Marriott available in the clinic town, the Courtyard.
- Courtyard Liaison #1 sent the initial proposal, with a deadline, but never returned a single phone call or email after sending the initial proposal. The manager did not respond to phone calls either, so I ended up calling Marriott HQ for help. During this call, I learned that the conference room held just 40 people. Because the HQ rep was aware of how many hoops I had jumped through to get a basic response, and she was shocked that the hotel agreed to host the event with a specific note for 100+ people, she must have called the hotel and spoken with the manager.
- Courtyard Liaison #2- The manager called that afternoon to tell me that their conference room could hold up to 150 people and restated this in an email (the HQ database was wrong). She told me that she would personally handle the event because of the trouble I faced, and she was very apologetic.
- Courtyard Liaison #3- The next week, however, my event was handed off to a new event planner. He was very quick to return calls and very pleasant to work with. He also confirmed in an email that the conference room could handle over 100 people. I drove 2 hours to the hotel to meet with this rep, who went over catering options and speaker set ups. I saw the room, and it was smaller than I imagined, but the event planner assured me that they had handled conferences with over 100 people before.
- Courtyard Liaison #4- After my meeting with #3, I returned home with a catering menu. Once the committee decided on what we wanted to do catering wise (three days after my in person meeting), I again experienced two weeks of unanswered emails and phone calls. Today, I received a message from a 4th hotel rep letting me know that he was taking over the account, and that the conference room would be limited to 65 people.
It is now December, and all of the other hotel options that we contacted in early September are no longer available. We have invested over $2000 in conference speaker flights, so we cannot change the date. We have advertised the event with the host hotel information, and people have started reserving rooms. There is absolutely NO WAY that we can run this conference in a room that cannot handle 100+ people.
What do I do? I continued to give Marriott the benefit of the doubt as we were transferred from one rep to another, but as a loyal Marriott advocate, I am embarrassed by the lack of professionalism and business skills from this hotel. I am also in a complete panic.