SPIN, the Senior Professionals Industry Network, initiated a petition in protest of what it deemed as Marriott International’s "special consideration to four of the largest group-booking intermediary companies by honoring 10 percent commission for them," while cutting other third-party intermediary (which it labels as meeting and event planners, DMCs, travel agents and others) commission rates to 7 percent from the current 10 percent.

“SPIN’s membership is 40 percent small business owners/third-party planners,” said Tracey Smith, SPIN’s executive director. “As other industry associations haven’t taken a stand against [Marriott's recent actions], we felt we needed to help be the voice for our members who will be impacted.”

The commission reduction will take effect March 31, 2018, but will remain at 10 percent for countries other than the U.S. and Canada. Marriott will pay the 10 percent commission for contracts signed prior to March 31.

The move by Marriott stirred further controversy because it reportedly exempted large third-party planning companies HelmsBriscoe, HPN Global, ConferenceDirect and Maritz Global Events from the decrease.

“Regardless of the pricing structure our members use, why should they get a lower commission than larger group-booking companies?” asked Shawna Suckow, SPIN’s Founder.

Meeting planners and others in the industry have already expressed outrage over the commission cut, which Marriott said was made in reaction to costs for its hotels growing at a faster pace than its group revenue.

To view or sign the petition embedded on the SPIN homepage, visit www.spinplanners.com.

Editor's Note: The Marriott commission cut petition is no longer active on the SPIN homepage.