January 15th, 2018
An online survey by Marriott International, the hotel chain, has provoked fury and retaliation by the Chinese authorities. Indeed, in this survey sent to customers, Marriott had listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries. Moreover, a “like” was posted by one of the hotel chain social media accounts on a news published by a group supporting an independent Tibet. As a result, the Chinese Cyberspace administration shut down both the Chine Marriott website and the mobile phone app. The internet watchdog said the hotel chain had ‘seriously violated national laws and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people’.
Marriott, in a communiqué, did apologise and stated that “Marriott International respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We don’t support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China". This fault has provoked fury as well on the Chinese social medias. The Chinese authority in charge of tourism ordered western hotel chains to review their websites to avoid similar mistakes.
In any case, this website shutdown is not good for Marriott International since China is its first market with more than 100 hotels and because this happens at the eve of the Chinese New Year, a period of very strong activity for hotels in China.