Marriott’s & Sorenson’s Lacking Coronavirus Response?


Hilton and IHG have both released global cancellation and refund waivers on Thursday for their loyalty members for stays through April 30, 2020, and those emails have gone out “signed” by the CEO’s.

Marriott has been eerily silent on this issue (conserving cash flow?), and there are reports that hotels are refusing to provide refunds for guests who cannot travel due to travel bans. It is time for Marriott and Mr. Sorenson to step up to the plate, act, and show some leadership!

You can access Marriott’s page for Coronavirus (COVID-19) here.

Here’s Marriott’s coronavirus waiver:

Our Cancellation Policy:
We are waiving individual cancellation fees for hotel stays through March 31, 2020 for guests traveling to or from the following locations:
  • Asia Pacific: Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, French Polynesia, Maldives, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa
  • Europe: Italy
For Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
We are waiving cancellation fees for reservations from the following countries into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Philippines, Singapore, India, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Vietnam, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt.
Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third party travel professionals are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies. Please Note: This policy does not apply to travel associated with a Group booking.

There are new travel bans in place, as most Europeans cannot travel to the United States. Also, there are updated entry requirements in South America and Asia.

Hilton’s global waiver (read more here):

Your Travel Flexibility

We remain committed to offering you flexible booking options. Given these unique circumstances we are making additional adjustments to our individual booking policies to give you extra peace of mind:

  • Government Restrictions. In regions affected by government-issued travel restrictions, we will continue to waive change fees or offer full refunds. Please see below for the latest information on region specific travel waivers.
  • Existing Reservations. All reservations – even those described as non-cancellable (“Advanced Purchase”) – that are scheduled for arrival before April 30, 2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.
  • New Reservations. Any reservation you make – even those described as “non-cancellable” (“Advanced Purchase”) – that are booked between today and April 30, 2020 for any future arrival date, can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival.

If you need to adjust reservations made via the Hilton website, app or call center, please contact the Hilton Guest Assistance team. If you need to adjust reservations made through another travel site, please contact them for assistance.

IHG’s global waiver (read more here):

Cancellation policy & booking flexibly

We know that flexibility is what our guests are looking for right now. So, we are waiving cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all IHG hotels globally for stays between March 9, 2020 and April 30, 2020.

This is in addition to existing cancellation policy measures we have in place, summarized below.

For any stay prior to March 9, 2020, existing measures mean that you will be able to change or cancel a valid booking reservation without financial penalty, if you are travelling to or from:

  • Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and the Taiwan region for any stay between January 23, 2020 and March 9, 2020.
  • Italy and South Korea for any stay between February 28, 2020 and March 9, 2020.

For bookings made through a travel agent or online booking platform (e.g., Expedia) please contact them directly – we have advised these companies of our cancellation policy and you should refer to their terms and conditions.

Here’s email that I received from Marriott yesterday:

And here’s Hilton’s:

Another one from IHG:


Understandably, Mr. Sorenson may be working remotely due to his medical condition that would put him at considerable risk if infected with the virus.

There is no excuse for Marriott however, for not announcing a global waiver as their main competitors have already done and to get an email out.

Marriott certainly would not put people’s lives in danger over their short-term profits, would they?

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