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4 posts from May 2012


Around the World in a Day

Many years ago my favorite movie was Around the World in 80 Days.  I just experienced around the world of Marriott in 8 hours by video conference.

I started my day with our president & CEO, Arne Sorenson, and our senior team with a call to Simon Cooper, who is president of Asian operations and who was talking to us from Hong Kong.  I was pleased that the Asia team had signed up more than 800,000 Marriott Rewards members last year in their region.

At 9:30 a.m. we talked with Alex Kyriakidis, our new president of the Middle East and Africa.  They are certainly challenged by the continued unrest in Egypt and Bahrain, but very encouraged by the continuous 90% occupancy in Dubai.  They have a very robust expansion program in the Middle East and will open new hotels in Rwanda and Ghana – our first sub-Sahara African hotels.

At 11 a.m. we video conferenced Amy McPherson.  She’s president of Europe and she was in London.  The new acquisition of the 85 AC hotels in Spain and Italy is going very well and AC is beginning to sign up enthusiastic Marriott Rewards players.  London is certainly very busy preparing for the Olympics this summer.

After lunch we met in our boardroom with The Ritz-Carlton president Herve Humler and his team.  They continue to sign up many new Ritz-Carlton Hotels in China.  The Ritz-Carlton had a great 2011 with very much improved margins and strong RevPar.  (That’s revenue per available room, for those of you who don’t know.)

Finally at 3 p.m. we met with Dave Grissen, president of the Americas.  2012 will be a strong year for the Americas.  All our brands will add several thousand rooms in North and South America in 2012.  Yet competitive new supply is remaining low.  Brazil is doing extremely well and we continue to receive thousands of Brazilians into our U.S.  gateway cities, especially Miami and  New York.

We have been transforming into a global company for many years now, but this was the first time that we had traveled around the world in one working day.  What a great thrill it was.

Leave a comment and let me know how many countries you've visited in one day of travel.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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ExecuStay on the Move

Execustay LogoYou may have heard that Marriott recently announced it was selling its corporate housing brand, ExecuStay, to Oakwood Worldwide.  That transaction became effective May 1 and represents yet another step we’ve taken to ensure our company can focus entirely on managing and franchising our lodging brands. 

The move was good for both organizations and is a testament to the growth and success of the ExecuStay brand, which had been part of Marriott for 12 years.

I blogged about ExecuStay a couple of years ago when I was visiting in Boston.  I don’t stay in one place for very long when I’m traveling, so it was one of the few times I checked into an apartment. 

St. Andrews at Weston, FL Dining

It’s a terrific brand with a product that appeals to a specific traveler and is loved by many loyal Marriott guests.  That’s why we came up with an agreement that makes Marriott Oakwood’s preferred hotel provider and Oakwood-ExecuStay our preferred corporate apartment supplier in the United States. 

We also thought it made sense to keep the Marriott Rewards® program intact for our guests who stay at ExecuStay apartments.  It’s good business for Marriott, Oakwood and our ExecuStay franchisees.  So what’s not to like?

Like us, Oakwood has been around for a long time - they recently celebrated 50 years in the business.  Like Marriott, they’re the global leader in their category.  In fact they created the “corporate apartment” concept, which gives extended stay travelers an alternative to a hotel room.  And, like Marriott, they have a culture that focuses on their associates, guests and serving their communities.

Spirit To Serve DayAnd speaking of ExecuStay associates, for those of you who read this blog:  your dedication to this brand and to Marriott is greatly appreciated.  For many of you, Oakwood will be a great new home with lots of opportunity to grow.  We wish you well and hope you will always have great memories of your time with Marriott.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Listen to Blog - EXECUSTAY


China's "Nobility of Nature" - Bees, Honey & Clean Water

A Sustainable Way of Life 

I want to take you on a trip via video to China’s Sichuan Province and introduce you to two young girls who live in the village of Guanba.  They know how important it is to protect their local rivers and streams.  One of the girls is 13-year old Dan Liu and the other is her sister Ying, who is 9.


Nobility of Nature - beekeeping

Their village is part of an innovative project called “Nobility of Nature.”  Two years ago this month, Marriott International and Conservation International partnered with the local provincial Chinese government.  The program promotes sustainable ways of making a living - such as bee farming and honey production  - instead of hillside farming and logging, which contributes to deforestation and polluted rivers.

 Dan Liu had this to say, “To preserve the environment is important because clean water helps bees produce really good honey.”  She gets it!

According to the World Health Organization, water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe. Preserving China’s water supply in the mountains and conserving the water in our hotels is one way that we can help.

Marriott recently signed our 100th hotel in China, and we’re featuring Guanba Village’s honey in our China hotels.  Our juice vendor, Chen Bao Fruit Company, bottles the honey for the villagers and a portion of the profits from the honey sales go straight back to supporting the Nobility of Nature program. 

Guanba Village is just one of several Sichuan province villages participating in the project.  If you visit one of our hotels in China, you should definitely try this sweet treat either in a cup of tea or in one of our desserts!

Enjoy the short video and leave a comment on Marriott’s Nobility of Nature project. 

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.  

 Listen to Blog - NOBILITY OF NATURE


Awards of Excellence

ConfettiMy father often said “take good care of the associates and they’ll take good care of the customers.”  That’s at the heart of how we do things at Marriott every day.  Our associates around the world put people first - whether it's inside the hotels or outside in the communities they serve. 

Every associate has a commitment to teamwork, excellence and the Spirit to Serve.  But there are always a special few who really shine.  To recognize their terrific dedication, once a year we invite them to Headquarters and put on a special awards ceremony in their honor. Visiting HQ

I could blog at length about how much our associates do for our guests.  But let me give you just a couple of examples:

Don “Archie” Archuleta is a Bell Person at the Anaheim Marriott.  He’s an incredibly compassionate person.  He remembers guests’ names and always offers them a warm and sincere welcome.  Once, when driving a female guest to the airport, she learned from a phone call that her husband had died in a tragic car accident.  Archie became her shoulder to cry on and her pillar of support, making sure she made it safely on her way.  That guest still stays in touch with Archie.  They have a bond for life.

At the JW Marriott in Seoul, South Korea Julie Dongju Lee exemplifies the “humanity” in Human Resources.  She makes a personal investment in all of her fellow associates keeping the lines of communication open and making time to visit every department to offer encouragement or just listen.  A common topic in her associate training program is adapting to change – pointing out to managers that change cannot be controlled, but reacting to it can be controlled. 

Mohammed Ramadan started out with us as an Airport Driver in Kuwait.  Now he’s a Visa Supervisor.  He’s in charge of making sure work permits and other forms are in order for everyone who works in the hotel.  He says the best part of his job is witnessing an associate’s journey from being hired to when they get on the job and learn how to work.  While he processes forms for more than 550 associates, Mohammad never loses the focus of putting people first.     

I am proud of all of you.

We also give out the Alice S. Marriott Award for Community Service.  This year The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore received that honor.  And the J.W. Marriott, Jr. Award for Excellence in Diversity goes to our Western Southwest Sales Organization.

This is just a quick snapshot of the overall picture.  I wish I could single out everyone who deserves it.  But I’d love if you could share any stories about exceptional associates you’ve met in our hotels.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Listen to blog - Awards of Excellence