Marriott Apologizes for Mislabeling Chinese Region

Marriott apology.JPG

Marriott apologized for mistakenly listing Tibet,  Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as countries in a drop-down menu under China. This is a controversial issue, which the company has since acknowledged in a statement on its website beginning as follows:

"Marriott International respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite: First, by incorrectly labelling certain regions within China, including Tibet, as countries in a drop-down menu on a survey we sent out to our loyalty members; and second, in the careless “like” by an associate of a tweet that incorrectly suggested our support of this position. Nothing could be further from the truth: we don’t support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and we do not intend in any way to encourage or incite any such people or groups. We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize."

Marriott is not alone in the mistake: 24 airlines have similar website configurations. The Marriott situation was complicated by an employee "liking" a post by Friends of Tibet, suggesting that the company supports the independence of Tibet. 

The statement goes on to describe what Marriott will do differently in surveys in the future.


  • Marriott says the survey was created by another company to which the project was outsourced. They don't say it as an excuse, but is it? What is Marriott's responsibility for oversight?
  • How well does the statement express the apology? What, if anything, could be improved?