Rant: The Envelope Please™

I’m so pissed at Marriott right now, I can’t sleep. I’m so angry I’m seriously thinking of switching to Hilton.

This is from a guy who has spent more than 500 nights in Marriott hotels. I average between 50 and 70 nights a year, and my devotion to the brand and their rewards program has motivated most of my team to do the same. Between us we probably do 300 nights a year.

So what has me so angry? It’s this little card:

I am a man who firmly believes in the idea of karma. Now I have no idea of the formal religious connotations of that word, and I hope not to offend anyone of the Hindi faith with my ignorance, but I firmly believe that if you do good things, good things will happen to you.

One of the things that always makes my stays at Marriott hotels feel like home is the staff, especially the housekeeping staff who make my room inviting every day. To show my appreciation, I always leave a tip in the room, along with a little note. Sometimes the staff will leave a note back, and it makes me feel good inside.

But not now. Now Marriott has decided to take my act of kindness and turn it into an obligation. I no longer return to a room that I think of as a substitute for home – I return to see this guy:

Yup, I have a roommate. Even though I am currently paying several hundred dollars a night to stay in a Courtyard, that isn’t enough. I now am made to feel guilty unless I tip – a practice I used to enjoy.

Now, their defense will probably be “well, thank you for tipping, but a lot of customers don’t so this is our way of suggesting it.”

Bullshit. The phrase “The Envelope Please” has been trademarked. This isn’t some subtle suggestion, this is a marketing campaign. Some Marriott marketing exec probably got a bonus for coming up with this insulting and demeaning program. Hey, news flash, if you really want to run the world’s best hotel chain, pay your people a livable wage. Add a few bucks to the cost of the room and we probably won’t notice, but don’t put the equivalent of a bucket and bell in the place where I plan to sleep.

This is the third time I’ve seen this program, although the first in a Courtyard, so they are obviously planning on rolling it out across all brands. Bad idea. Put some kind of note next to my profile that states I never want to see a card like this in my room again, or better yet dump the program entirely. It really, really demeans the brand, and I am serious about switching.

It’s enough to make me want to refrain from tipping out of spite, but I’m certain that Isabela had little to do with the decision to panhandle in my hotel room, so I’ll be sure to leave a little something for her in the morning.

It’s the least I can do, since there will be a “little something” extra in the trash.