My Holiday Brag Letter

December 21, 2012


Listen to brag letter blog


From my 2012 photo album

Dear Blog Readers,

2012 has been one of the most interesting and extraordinary years of my life.  I changed jobs, traveled the world and spent more time with my family.  When I stepped down as president and CEO, my schedule opened up a little bit.  Donna reminded me, however, that she didn’t marry me for lunch.  I don’t play golf, so I kept coming to the office and no one kicked me out (at least not yet). 

It was a year of round numbers.  I turned 80 years old (more on this later); I’ve been working at the same company for 60 years; the company celebrated its 85th birthday, and I handed the company over to a non-family member, Arne Sorenson, whom I’m sure will take it to new heights.

Marriott Rewards members birthday card
Reading a giant birthday card from Rewards members at Camelback Inn
The end of March was really a special time.  I celebrated my birthday at Camelback Inn with my immediate family, the next day with our General Managers at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live, and finally a week later back at headquarters where a huge assembly of associates had gathered in the lobby.  I must confess, I got a little choked up by all the outpouring of affection.  Donna joined me onstage at the GM's conference, and the Ferrari cake they baked was a lot of fun.  Wow, what a car!

In June, I took a business trip to China and was amazed at the growth.  The day I returned, I entered an eight-hour meeting.  Boy, was that great.  (Hey, no one kicked me out.)  A few weeks later, our family went on vacation to Europe and a took a cruise to Sicily, Malta, Tunisia and some of the Italian islands.  It was new territory and I saw a lot of beautiful parts of the world.

At last count, Donna and I have four children, 15 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and an aging dog, Murphy.  Murphy is the only one who listens to me.  We really enjoy our summers together in New Hampshire.  He’s too old to chase the mallards on the lake any more, but I caught him watching them out of the corner of his eye.

There was one great big addition to our hotel family – the Gaylord Hotels – almost 8,000 rooms.  I visited Gaylord here in Washington and I met Shrek.  I welcomed their associates, whom they call “Stars,” and crossed off an item on my bucket list when I took a plunge down an ice slide.  It wasn’t the smoothest of landings, but there were no broken bones.  (There will be a future blog on that adventure.)

As I write this letter, some other big events are happening.  CNBC aired a major documentary on our company, and my new book, Without Reservations, is at the printers and just about to be released.

While I'm not a braggart, I want to brag about my wife, Donna.  We’ve been married 57 years.  I wasn’t always around when the children were growing up.  I’m really not around very much today either.  I’m still building the business, visiting our hotels and peeking in from time to time on our new CEO Arne Sorenson from time to time.  He’s been very patient and understanding of me and my new role.

Donna and I have weekly dates where we grab a hamburger and see a movie.  My kids think it’s kind of corny, but who wouldn’t want to take a beautiful woman on a date and hold hands at the movies?

So, I have so much to be thankful for and I am so proud of our entire Marriott family.  Next year, I plan to continue to travel, visit more hotels and see more associates.  As Mark Twain wrote:  “I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead.”  There are so many places left to visit.  After all, 80 is the new 60.

 Happy holidays and watch out for those brag letters.  All the best in 2013,  Bill.

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This is written so eloquently. I appreciate your inclusion of Donna in your brag blog. My husband and I both are Marriott associates/stars and we too do a "date night" regularly. We look forward to our business growth and things to come for 2013. Congratulations on your accomplishments!

Hello Mr. and Mrs. Marriott. I love reading about your adventures. I work at the Fairfield Inn, in Binghamton, New York.
I am the housekeeping manager here. I would love for you to visit
our hotel and meet the wonderful associates who work here.I have been with the company for nearly 13 years and still enjoy it as much as I did the first time I came through the door. I am hoping to meet you sometime. Let me know when and I will be sure to be at the hotel on the day of your arrival. You both have a great new year and I wish you all the best. Sincerely, Donna Scone

After enjoying 27 years with Marriott, I too am traveling. The Quarter Century Club allows me to enjoy Marriott hospitality all over the world. When I began my career at the then new Chicago Marriott as a grad from the MSU Hospitality program, I never dreamed of the opportunities Marriott would bring. I still enjoy meeting Marriott Associates and being your Ambassador in Rome, Niagara Falls, Detroit, Toledo, St. Louis, Chicago, and more. I have continued to book our Villas and Vines culinary tour groups at Marriott whenever possible. After a recent tour in Amalfi, we all returned to the Courtyard at the Rome Airport prior to departing home, I treated the group to a wonderful Marriott burger!

Happy New Year Mr. Marriott! Your life is an example for all of us to follow. I hope 2013 is a great year for you!! :)
Sara Mausbach
Front Office Manager
Fairfield Inn & Suites Twetnynine Palms, CA

Poor Murphy...
He'll get that duck one day.

Inspiring yet fun ... from a still building, builder of business ... and what an iconic business at that ... can't imagine what that feels like, and the future is still rolling on for you ... good for you ... I look forward to reading your book ... Happy Birthday and Happy New Year ... from just an appreciative fan of life and growth in our Country ... and a guest many times in your hotels. All the best.

oh by the way wishing you and your family a very happy new year.

hi bill,
glad to read you are planning more travels next so be sure to put cork ireland on your list of places you HAVE To visit. you ain't seen anything till you have seen the Irish at work and at play. summer is a beautifull time in cork so hope to see you this year.
keep on blogging, you are a notch higher in my eyes for your appriciation of donna.give her a big hug form me too.

Hey great letter, I loved getting an insight into your daily routine. (well atleast your holiday routine)..Happy holidays..All the best from Australia.

Mr. Marriott, I hope 100 will be the new 60 for you! You deserve all the affection you get, because the affection you give is keenly felt by thousands of people who are proud to work for your company.

Mr. Marriott is one of my personal heroes when it comes to the business world. What he and his family have done with the business over the years is awe-inspiring to say the least. His focus on customer service has kept me coming back year after year - and I can expect it whether at a Marriott resort or a Fairfield Inn!

It is so personal that he shares these letters with us,and really does make me feel like a part of the family. How sweet that he and his wife still do a date night, and he truly values his family vacations. My family vacations are what I live for...and work for....and thanks to Bill and his hard work, they are always great ones at one Marriott or another.

May your 2013 be as exciting as your 2012...and may your family be blessed with good health and happiness.


Kathy Windham

Hi Bill,
Best wishes for the holidays to you too. You run an outstanding organization.

I reside at an apartment abutting one of your location in Hyderabad India and am also a frequent guest at various Marriots across the globe when I travel for business.

Despite repeated request to the Hotel Management in Hyderabad, we are disturbed by the noisy parties conducted which disrupts the community. Can you or someone look into this.


Happy Birthday Mr. Marriott! It is a pleasure to see that you are still enjoying life. Wow! What a ride! I am honored to work for your establishment and truly feel I am surrounded by family. My guests are the best!!!! Each call I try to make their experience memorable. Keep up the good work! And I'm sure Arne will do fine with such a great mentor!

Hi Bill,
Iwork for the RITZ CARLTON Battey Park and very happy to work for such a family orinted company .I would like for you to open a marriott hotel in jamaica... all the best for 2013

Don't worry - you're permitted to brag about your family (I know I do). When you've been married 57 years, you've definitely earned the right.

Happy Holidays!

Thank you for having such a wonderful company to be a part of. I have had several opportunities to go on task forces (and get a feel of what it's like to work behind the hotel). Have been a guest to many wonderful properties as well.

Really appreciate the way Marriott takes historical buildings and making them hotels. Love the Renaissance Grand and the Omaha CY Downtown.

Thank you Mr Marriott for a wonderful company to work and I will be celebrating my 24th anniversary with the company on January 3, 2013.

Mr. Marriott, thank you for writing a blog that makes me smile. I did enjoy the CNBC special and think you have good reason to brag. All the best to you and yours, specially Murphy.

Wow, Mr. Marriott, you have been busy. But, from reading your blog, you have had another wonderful year and a very full life. I am glad that no one has "kicked you out" of your office because your name is still on every hotel that I stay at. Our family has had a wonderful year also and for that I am thankful. Merry Christmas and Happy 2013