Marriott International is a leading player in the hospitality world. The company has properties in over 130 countries and is well-known for providing luxurious service to customers.
As with any company, Marriott’s objective is to grow, which is why the company made plans to purchase property in Thailand. However, the company has faced major backlash because of this, but this isn’t the first time. Another example is the ongoing Marriott investigation in Poland.
Marriott International has been fighting a legal battle because of accusations of embezzlement. These funds were allegedly belonging to Lim Center, who is the owner of the building where the Marriott-operated hotel is located.
There isn’t any official communication or statement from Marriott International about this lawsuit, which aligns with the business’s criticized strategy to remain silent. Even leadership within the organization hasn’t responded to the lawsuit.
The reason for this major scrutiny comes from a complex web of Marriot criminal investigation, lack of transparency, and alleged unethical business practices, among others. Nonetheless, the question still stands: Why are Marriott’s plans in Thailand problematic?
What Is Marriott International?
Marriott International is a multinational hospitality business that franchises and operates a wide array of resorts, hotels, and other lodging accommodations across the world. The company was founded by J. Willard Marriott in 1927.
One of the largest and most recognizable names in the hospitality industry, its portfolio includes a range of brands catering to different market segments. Over the years, Marriott has grown through partnerships, acquisitions, and organic growth.
It’s because of this growth and power that Marriott has solidified itself as a global hospitality leader. However, the allegations and criminal investigations against the company have shown a new and darker side to the public.
It seems the inner workings of this company are far more deceptive than customers once thought. The company’s alleged actions in Thailand are only a few of the many problems customers seem to have with the hotel giant.
Illegal Construction and Operations
There have been allegations around the St. Regis Hotel in Bangkok, which revealed a problematic aspect of Marriott’s operations. This is the potential involvement in illegal construction and operations.
These alleged violations don’t just breach local Thai laws but also disregard human rights standards and safety regulations. This failure of Marriott not to uphold the rule of law makes people question the company’s adherence to legal frameworks and commitment to ethical business practices.
A shadow has been placed over Marriott’s reputation since these allegations have been made.
Lack of Transparency
The company’s perceived lack of transparency is prevalent because it failed to engage in meaningful and impactful dialogue with local stakeholders and communities. One example of this was the Mahadlekluang community’s Hunger Strike Challenge, which highlighted the frustration created by Marriott’s negligence toward local concerns.
This is one of many occasions where Marriott’s lack of transparency and communication fosters the idea that the company prioritizes financial interests over the desires and well-being of local communities.
Regulatory Loopholes and Collusion
Marriott has also found itself in the middle of accusations of colluding with licensees. The accusations state that this collusion was done to exploit regulatory loopholes. This behavior, if found to be true, showcases Marriott as a company’s will to sidestep any compliance mechanisms for its own gain.
This is even at the expense of global industry standards and local regulations. Such actions made by Marriott further break the limited trust shared among stakeholders. This only further damages Marriott’s raising ethical concerns and reputation.
Negative Impact on Company Reputation
The non-compliance with regulations, questionable business practices, alleged legal activities, and lack of transparency have had a severe impact on the company’s reputation in Thailand.
It’s because of this that negative sentiment is shared among customers, local communities, and potential investors. We’re living in an era where reputation is everything, and this only puts Marriott in an even worse light as negative perceptions begin to build.
Allegations have been circulating that Marriott exploited the pandemic to delay agreements with partners and not abide by contractual obligations, which raises an ethical red flag.
Such behavior showcases the company as opportunistic while also highlighting its lack of commitment to ethical business conduct. This is especially true in times of crisis when ethical leadership matters the most.
The list of issues with Marriott’s operations in Thailand isn’t short. These issues have collectively worked to further diminish trust among stakeholders, which include regulatory bodies, customers, and local communities.
Any successful business relationship requires trust, but Marriott’s actions have only strained these valuable relationships with stakeholders. Not only does this affect stakeholder interactions, but reduced customer loyalty and even legal challenges can create problems for Marriott’s long-term viability.
Marriott’s plans in Thailand have been problematic, but these implications spread further than the country’s borders. These negative practices in one region affect the company’s overall reputation with global customers, investors, and partners who might question whether these issues will follow to their part of the globe, too.
The ethically questionable discussions showcased in Thailand hold the power to weaken Marriott’s reputation on a global scale, which can later lead to potential consequences for the company’s competitiveness and operations.
A clear pattern has emerged from exploring the challenges and allegations of Marriott’s influence in Thailand. This pattern highlights a company driven solely by the pursuit of profit, even at the expense of ethical considerations.
These allegations aren’t something far-fetched. The unethical methods Marriott uses to conduct business are shown in many different parts of the world. Regulatory manipulation, illegal construction and operations, and a lack of transparency and accountability only highlight the company’s disregard for stakeholders and their trust.
Local hunger strikes and other events wrapped up in the St. Regis Hotel saga serve as a reminder that disregarding safety standards, the rule of law, and human rights will only cause damage to a company’s image.
Allegations made against Marriott International about regulatory collusion add more fuel to the fire because they suggest that the company’s loyalty is for its own financial gains than ethical operations.
What we’ve covered isn’t just a series of isolated incidents but rather a collection of mistakes without repercussions. This type of corporate behavior opens up a conversation around global companies in local markets and the way businesses can either play a role in bettering local communities or misuse corporate power and tarnish global reputation.
Despite little to no legal repercussions for Marriott’s actions in Thailand, the world is keeping a close eye on this company’s operations and losing trust while doing so.