I recently stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Xian (China). I booked it based on its central location in the city, as my husband and I were on holiday and our focus was being near sights and restaurants. The map on the app showed its location within the city walls, as did the map on the hotel's own website.
Imagine our surprise when the taxi dropped us at the hotel and we were out in the middle of absolutely nowhere, nearly 2 hours walk from the tip of the city centre, 20 minutes walk from any public transport, and a 45 minute taxi to the sights of the city.
It turns out the app and website had completely the wrong location of the hotel - they were out by the equivalent of a 40 minute car drive. As a result we spent hours in taxis trying to sightsee, couldn't enjoy the local food like we wanted to on our holiday, couldn't head back to the hotel room in the afternoon for a quick shower between hot summer sightseeing trips (as it would have added hours to our day) and all in all our trip was ruined.
I thought this was egregious false advertising - hotels can charge twice as much for a central location and we would never have booked this hotel had the location been advertised correctly.
I took an immediate screenshot of the incorrect location on the Marriott app, and emailed Marriott Rewards and Marriott International right away. I also tweeted at Marriott International, Marriott Rewards, and the regulation Marriott twitter accounts about our predicament. I tried to communicate the problem with the staff in the hotel but their English was not good and it got hopelessly confusing.
What I wanted was for them to allow us to cancel the booking without charging us and we would book into another, much more central hotel.
I got no help at the time and over two weeks later have had no help and barely an apology from Marriott. No one replied to my tweets, and the only response to my initial emails was truly appalling - it was someone from the Marriott App who told me they had looked and 'as this is the most central Marriott in Xian that is why we show it where it is.' So, um, you show a completely incorrect address that is miles and miles from where it is?
Eventually I wrote a poor review for the hotel on TripAdvisor and this sparked a short email from the hotel amngegemtn acknowledging the false representation on the map and apologising 'if this affected your trip.' That was it. No compensation, no escalation, not even really an acknowledgement that this was straight up lying to us when we booked.
I continued to try to contact the general Marriott rewards account, as I am Gold status. After over two weeks I finally get a response today. It says 'Sorry for the delay. Our records show the hotel has already responded to you.' That was it.
I truly cannot believe how blasé and dissembling Marriott has been I would have expected at least the offer of some extra points, or some small refund (personally I'd like a complete refund, as our trip was ruined) or even just an acknowledgment that this was not a small issue. Imagine if it had been vital for work reasons that we be in a particular location and Marriott advertised somewhere 45 minutes drive away from where it actually was?
What this tells me is I can never trust Marriott again and frankly I would not book with Marriott again - I already cancelled some Marriott bookings in the future.
Incidentally, I just checked the app and the false location is still advertised (I have the screenshot to prove it).
Who can I talk to to get a proper apology and some kind of recompense for this?