Arne Sorenson, Marriott International’s CEO, on the Wi-Fi blocking scandal that plagues the company. Total PR speak.
We have withdrawn our petition to the FCC on cybersecurity – an initiative we thought was the right thing to do. However, in the face of disagreement from both regulators and our customers, we see that the effort was doomed.
Really? Blocking a customer’s ability to use a personal smartphone hotspot was a good idea?
We wanted to protect the security of Wi-Fi use for conferences at our hotels – it had nothing to do with individual guest use of Wi-Fi or personal Wi-Fi hotspots.
Uh huh. Sure. That’s the ticket.
In fact, we have led the industry in offering millions of customers free Internet access. In October, we announced that Marriott Rewards Members – a membership that is free and open to anyone – would have free Internet when they book direct. That message has been drowned out by the noise with the FCC.
Good grief. The FCC did the right thing by scolding Marriott which did the wrong thing, then masked it by saying “free internet” (if you join a Marriott membership group).
Cybersecurity is a major concern across the business world and, certainly, in our industry, where guests and conference-goers rightly expect that any hotel-provided connection be secure.
The subject at hand is Marriott’s desire to block user hotspots, not hotel-provided connections. Doublespeak is PR’s language; the one Marriott uses.
We are in a pitched battle against hackers who are at work daily trying to fool consumers…
Just as Marriott tried to fool consumers by using security as a shield to extract more money from customers. Marriott only did the right thing when exposed and shamed publicly for customer abuse, then scolded publicly by the FCC.
Still, using doublespeak PR, the company managed to pat itself on the back.