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2 posts from July 2017


Marriott's "Boots on the Ground"

Business Councils
A Snapshot from this Year's Business Council Conference

I can’t believe it has been almost a year since the close of the Starwood acquisition. I am so proud of all of our associates and our integration teams for all of the hard work that they have done to make this a smooth transition. I would like to recognize one group which I consider one of the heroes of the integration for our hotels: the Worldwide Business Councils.

In the 1980s, Marriott owned 19 businesses. We had three cruise ships in the Mediterranean, two theme parks, a huge food service distribution division, In-Flite airline catering, restaurant chains, and senior living services…to name a few.

We needed a way to coordinate these businesses and to make the company feel more cohesive. So in 1987, my brother, Dick, and Charlie Linaburg started the first Business Councils to enable all of these business units to work together and discover and address their common challenges.

In the mid-80s and 1990s, Marriott started selling off these businesses and we became purely a lodging company. The Councils are now headed up mainly by General Managers and all hotels can participate, franchised or managed. They are tasked with three things:

1.    To preserve and protect our treasured company culture.

2.    To advocate for hospitality industry and hotel-specific issues.

3.    To engage in community service.

Internationally, they also pool their resources and save the company a lot of money on procurement.

The community work that they do is truly remarkable. As my daughter Debbie, who runs our Councils, likes to say, “They are our boots on the ground.” They can be mobilized at the push of a button and are the first ones to help in any crisis. They were instrumental in situations like wildfires in Chile, floods last summer in Baton Rouge, cleanups after hurricanes and earthquakes around the globe, the civil unrest in Baltimore a few years ago, and the nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016. They are our army of goodness and I can’t thank them enough for all of the good that they do!

Last fall, at the time of the Starwood close, there were 82 councils. All 82 of them visited more than 650 properties in the first seven days after the legal close. They invited all of the General Managers new to Marriott to receptions and to be a part of the Business Councils. Their warm welcome has enabled the new associates to feel a part of the Marriott family and to help them learn our culture and processes. Their contribution has been invaluable in making the integration a success.

Thanks to their work, the Business Councils have grown to 100 strong around the world. I am so proud of the work they have done and look forward to them keeping Marriott on the move! 


Where's Your Happy?

_Bill&DonnaLakeW NH'08
Me and My Wife at Lake Winnipesaukee

I recently had the pleasure of doing a fireside chat with my son, David, at a Marriott conference. The theme of our conversation centered on how we promote associate wellbeing through our TakeCare program and where we find our happiness. It’s a simple topic on the surface, but the answer means something different to every person.

It may sound cliché, but I really do find my happiness when I’m with associates. It’s why I spend so much of my time traveling from property to property around the world. I love meeting our associates and watching them create memorable experiences for our guests. I’m happiest when our associates can succeed, grow, and be happy.

One of my favorite stories that, to this day, brings a smile to my face is that of Marriott’s Vice President of Global Operations, Lenny Jachimowicz. Lenny joined Marriott in 1972 as a plumbing assistant for one of our hotels. He worked his way up to the top of his department. Lenny deserves every bit of credit for his success, but it makes me incredibly happy to know that we provided an environment that allowed him to grow and want to stick around for the ride. He will retire this summer with more than 45 years of experience. Congratulations, Lenny!

Though stories like Lenny’s bring me much happiness, I must admit my happy does extend beyond the confines of Marriott properties. David wouldn’t let me off the hook that easily at the conference. He knows that if I had to single out my one true happy place, it would be spending time with my family at the lake in New Hampshire. There’s something about that place that relaxes and rejuvenates me more than anything else. I’m blessed to have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who join me and my wife, Donna, at the lake.

My Son, David, and I at a Marriott Conference Panel

I say this all because we cannot succeed in our personal or our professional lives without finding our happy. Whether it comes from listening to our favorite song (mine is “As Time Goes By,” by Herman Hupfeld), finding time for our favorite hobby, or spending time with those who matter most to us, we all need time for ourselves and to TakeCare. Embrace that time and enjoy it fully. You deserve it.

Where do you find your happy?

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

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