Joy Bricker went public at the age of 79. She’s famous for being the 10-year guest at TownePlace Suites in Falls Church, Virginia. Ten years … in the same room! Now that’s loyalty and a lot of Rewards points. It also makes for a great media story.
When Joy announced she was checking-out to move in with her daughter in New York, the media converged -- The Washington Post, CNN and ABC Channel 7 News. Before you knew it, folks around the world were talking about the lady who for ten years made Marriott her home.
What makes this story so great is not the long “extended stay,” but the “extended family.” When Joy arrived at the hotel, she was recently widowed and looking for work. She found a government job and decided not to move out.
The hotel staff invited her to their homes for dinners and baby showers. The GM visited her when she was in the hospital. After all, that’s what family does and Joy was family.
People often asked her why she didn’t buy a condo or rent an apartment. Her answer was that TownePlace Suites made her feel safe, comfortable, and part of their community. I call that hospitality: caring for our guests, making them feel at home. And that’s what keeps guests coming back or in Joy’s case staying for a decade – a long time!
On Joy’s moving day, the hotel team members shed some tears when they said goodbye. After all, a member of their family and recent media star was on her way out.
I’m told that Joy doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. Well, it’s about family, an unusual “extended” family.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.