Just Plain Happiness

April 9, 2012

Cutting the cake

 It feels like I've been celebrating my 80th birthday for weeks.  The first celebration was at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn, the second at our GM's conference in Los Angeles and the third (and hopefully last) was at our corporate headquarters.  My daughter Debbie helped me cut the cake. I've gained ten pounds in two weeks.  The headquarters event really helped me reflect on how lucky I've been to work with so many wonderful and talented people who share my passion for hotels. Associates singing   

As a hotel guy who has been around for a while, I was thinking about what Marriott contributes to people’s lives.  The answer is simple: just plain happiness.  We provide a lot of that for people who stay in our hotels.  They get married there and have their honeymoon in our hotels.  They have their retirement parties and they have family reunions.  And they have vacations.  They bring their kids to have fun, swim in the pool and go out to eat. 

Running a hotel is a wonderful opportunity to reach out and care for people, and create very great memories.  For me, it’s a business that’s very, very satisfying.  I don’t think I’d have much fun in a widget factory.  But somebody has to do it and I hope they are happy doing it.

Arne at microphoneIn addition to making our guests happy, we also want our associates to be happy.  Every hotel serves as a listening post for me.  I’ve tried very hard through the years to listen and ask questions.  The main question to ask is "why."  Why do you think that’s right?  Why should we go in this direction?  And then I try to listen to the answers by involving people in the process to help them make the decisions that affect the business and affect their lives. Associates enjoying cake

It’s great to see people progress.  Our average general manager has been with us 25 years. Fifty percent of our GM’s come out of the hourly ranks.  It gives me a real thrill to see our people get ahead and have an opportunity to grow.  We truly are a company that opens doors to a world of opportunity for both our guests and our associates.  

As I turn 80, there’s no better birthday gift than opening the doors of opportunity for our people.   

Please leave a comment and tell me about your favorite birthday gift.  I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move. 

Listen to Blog 80th Birthday Gift


The comments to this entry are closed.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I stay on a regular basis at the Marriott hotel, LAX. There is a person who serves in the Concierge lounge, Blanca Palcios, who is always very pleasent. She represents your hotel very well and your guests seem to really appreciate her.

In closing, she is a real plus for Marriott and I just wanted to bring this to your attention.

Thank you

Belated Happy Birthday Mr Marriott!
Wish you all the best in life still...for you have helped change lives in so many beautiful ways. I am so proud to work for a brand I respect and believe in. I've always been looking forward to meet a great person like you when you visit our property. Cheers!

San Ramon Marriott
San Ramon, California

Dear Mr. Marriott,
We missed seeing you this year at the Phoenix Airport Marriott during your stay in Phoenix. All of us here at the Phoenix Airport Marriott are very proud to be part of the Marriott family. We wish you a Happy belated Birthday and much happiness in the coming years.

Happy Birthday Mr. Mariott.

May this be the best one ever, Thank you for the educational program with that I was able to learn alot about hotels.

"You're not getting older, you're getting better."

Have a great one, CHEERs....!!!!!

Kamini Singh

Hi Bill,
My favorite birthday gift was when my daughter surprised me on my 49th birthday. My wife and I had mover from New Jersey to Michigan in 1993 while my daughter was attending the U. of Delaware. She had told me that she wouldn't be able to come home for my birthday due to exams. On the night of my birthday my wife told me that she had to run to the mall. About 15 minutes later my daughter called to offer here birthday wishes and asked where Mom was. I told her she had gone shopping. Imagine my surprise when my daugheter walked through the door a half hour later. Her call was to determine if Mom was on the way to the airport to pick her up. best birthday gift ever!!!!

Congratulations on the celebration of your special day.
May your day be filled with sunshine,laughter, and good friends,
and may God's Blessings be heaped upon youin great abundance.
Dinner with my family and 1 night stay in Marriott property will be the best gift:)

Happy Birthday Mr Marriott

The best gift I had was for my 50th Birthday last year.
On May 4th I realised my dream and I opened a school for 3 - 5 year olds in Cebu in the Philippines it is called Nuneza Childrens School.
It took 5 years to raise the money to build the school but it was worth it just to see the smiles on the faces of the children in the village.
I work at the Leeds Marriott Hotel in the UK and it is the best place to work because you are an inspiration to me.

Bill asks us to recall and to post comments on the most memorable birthday gift each of has received.

On my third birthday, I received a globe of the world.

From using it, while I was age three, I learned about our states, our country, Canada, Mexico, the oceans, and other countries around the world. I learned from the globe about the equator, latitude, longitude, the Greenwich Meridian, the Earth's axis and its rotation, and much more. This gave me a lifelong interest in such things, including the backgound to to think about and later to study various forms of navigatiion, including celestial navigation, when I was older and eventually was serving as a deck officer on a destroyer. That first globe of the earth, given to me by my parents for my third birthday, was the start and the foundation for a major part of my life.

Congratulations, Mr. Marriott, on your 80th birthday. You are a great man from our country's "greatest generation" (to borrow a phrase from Tom Brokaw). Thank you for all you've done to give families and business travelers a comfortable, reliable place to stay no matter where we go. I wouldn't stay anywhere else!!!

Dear Mr Marriott,

Happy Birthday and you really made me feel that whomever has the will then there must be a way. Your hotel chain is the best worldwide and i would love to be one of your staff one day.

My best regards

I was just browsing and decided to take a look. My grandparents worked for your family for many many years in various resorts throughout America but I have fond memories from visiting Camelback Inn and Chicago. They were Alex and Meg McMahon he was the head chef and she secretary/PA I hope one day in the not too distant future to re visit. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy birthday and that you have many more happy years. Kind regards Fiona Allan

Happy Birthday Mr. Marriott.

My best birthday gift is having a chance to have interpersonal relations to walk with people and encourage them in the walk of life.

Happy 80th Birthday Mr. Marriott....I wish you all the best and thanks for making Marriott hotels the best place to stay!!!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Marriott!!!! and many more for you!!! My best birthdays are the one with my family and my friends!!!

Lucie from Canada!!!!

Congradulations on joining the ranks of the 80 yr olds. We are still the 'greatest generation'. Good health and best wishes to you and the family. In hoc, Stan Albeck


As a travel agent and manager for over 38 years I want to thank you for always considering our position in the sales process with our shared clients. Marriott's educational program and industry discounts provides the opportunity to know your products better and experience them ourselves.

Happy Birthday and wishing you a wonderful year.

Happy Birthday Bill, and thank you for some wonderful memories of our stays at Marriott Hotels with our family, we have had some terrific times at Marriott. Enjoy your celebrations.
Annemarie & Earl Walsh

Dear Mr Marriott,

Happy Birthday Mr Marriott.
I am a young lady from Malaysia. I am going to have my 26th birthday in 23rd of April, if I can get the email address of Mr Marriott, that will be my best and favourite birthday gift. Please kindly give me a chance to email with you and tell you about my story. God bless you always.

Hello Mr. Marriott, happy birthday...WYATB

Happy Birthday Mr. Marriott! The best birthday gift I've received is when my best friend and big brother surprised me with a trip home for the weekend. I can't think of two better people to celebrate with. People really are the best source of happiness in life!

Happy birthday Mr.Marriott

God bless u always

Birthdays are filled with yesterday's memories, today's joys, and tomorrow's dreams.
happy birhday .

It was jan'08, couple of days after my b-day when I had an interview for a front desk position at a new Marriott hotel in town. it was a great belated b-day present to get the phone call offering me the job, my first job in U.S.A. Three years later, i became the Assist.Gral.Mgr. of that property. Thank you for sharing your best birthday present with so many associates around the world!! Congratulations on one more year of success.

Hello Mr. Marriott,

My favorite birthday gift is on its way...
I decided over a year ago while in school that I wanted to be a part of the Marriott family. I will be graduating from the University of Utah in May with a BS emphasizing in Hospitality. I sought out your wonderful college recruiters when they visited the Brigham Young University campus. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview and I have been offered a position with Marriott International. My start day to begin my career and join the company I admire is also my birthday, June 30th.

Thank you for asking and Happy Birthday to you!

Nina Orani

Yes, lots of happiness at Marriott hotels. My wife Teresa and I were married at the Costa Mesa Marriott (Suites) Hotel. Our kids (except son Drew who works for IHG) think Hotel = Marriott. We have a lot of good family memories from stays at Marriott hotels. And...my wife and I will shortly be staying at the San Jose Costa Rica Marriott. I can hardly wait because I know we will come away with more good memories! Thanks!