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Keeping Our Eyes on the Road Ahead

Posted: November 3, 2008 11:03:47 AM

LA LIVE HERO FINAL 2007-05-21 I was out in Los Angeles recently to check out the progress of the L.A. Live project - a brand new commercial and residential center revitalizing downtown L.A. When it opens in 2010, it will include two of our top brands - a JW Marriott and a Ritz-Carlton.  Also, a Ritz-Carlton Residences.  It's stunning and I'm betting it will be a great success both for Los Angeles and for Marriott.
 
I'm glad I was there.  Particularly given all the gloomy financial and economic news around these days, it was important to make the point that when we come out of these tough times, we'll be ready.  That's not going to happen overnight, but it's going to happen.  I'm confident that the actions of the political and financial leaders in Washington and globally are going to help the financial markets tremendously.

But unfortunately, even if the financial markets are calmed, there's been enough impact to the economy that virtually all the experts now believe that we're into a recession.
 
I've experienced eight downturns in my 52 years in business and we've always come out of them stronger and more competitive than when the trouble began.  In early October, we reported our third quarter earnings results and also provided observations about business for the rest of 2008 and into 2009.  At that time, we expected business in late 2008 and 2009 to decline, but in just the last few weeks our business outlook has further weakened. Although business is slowing, our corporate staff and our hotel management teams have been doing everything they can to operate as efficiently as possible.
 
We're doing what we can to contain costs, keep our loyal customers and attract new ones.  This will help preserve jobs for our people, which is a top priority for me and for all of us.  We are anxious to support the communities where we operate.  Our hotels generate thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in wages and tax receipts that the local governments need to pay for schools, police and fire departments.   We're all connected and we're all in this together.
 
Although we have to work our way through this tough economic patch, it's important to keep our eyes on the road ahead as better times will return.
 
I'm Bill Marriott, and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Keeping Our Eyes on the Road Ahead


Comments

Posted By: Carolyn Poulter (11/03/2008 at 03:16 PM)
Comment:

Yes times are tough. Oddly enough though for all kinds of reasons I find myself in a position of needing to travel more rather than less of late. I recently had an unfortunate experience that your people resolved swiftly and satisfactorily. I was very impressed. I will be more than happy to let you quote me if that helps at all. I am not a big huge corporate type where the company pays anyway so the person staying doesn't really care where they are, they are not the ones footing the bill. Unlike them when I stay at a Marriott it is my money, my choice. I appreciate good service. I appreciate what your people do.

Posted By: Hank Mancini (11/03/2008 at 07:28 PM)
Comment:

I am excited about the new JW and Ritz Carlton going up at LA Live, next to Staples Center in Los Angeles. Even though we live in the greater LA area, my wife and I look forward to being an early guest when the JW opens.
Mr. Marriott brings a great perspective to business, having been through eight economic downturns. In my opinion they are unavoidable and natural. Things just can't go up forever as many hoped they would. Marriott will weather the economic storm better than others because of it's consistent and strong leadership.

Posted By: Andrew (11/04/2008 at 09:10 AM)
Comment:

I wish I had your optimism. I fear higher taxes are on the way and will hurt us all.

Posted By: Althea Henderson (11/04/2008 at 10:33 AM)
Comment:

As a Marriott retiree, I was an associate when we suffered prior downturns and then experienced up swings. I'm confident that Marriott will continue on the move and doing my share as well [continuing to stay in Marriott properties]. My finances are counting on it!

Posted By: Matthew (11/04/2008 at 11:57 AM)
Comment:

Why did you make the rewards program so much less valuable? Once loyal customers are beginning to look at other hotel chains.

Posted By: boyin (11/04/2008 at 06:12 PM)
Comment:

Glad to hear that marriott kept the top priority to preserve the job for all people there.That is the news for all employee need to know.

Posted By: Elmarie Hyams (11/05/2008 at 07:34 AM)
Comment:

Hello Mr Marriott, I have always admired the way you do business. Keep it up. I'd also like to know who I can send an email to, to discuss matters that are not relevant to your blog, I would prefer it to be you though. I look forward to hearing back from you soon. Once again thank you very much for a Hotel group that gives quality service.

Posted By: LoveMarriott (11/05/2008 at 05:30 PM)
Comment:

Marriott's are great and the most dependable thing in my life. We can be guaranteed of great service, great value and terrific quality. We recently stayed in Minneapolis Marriott Southwest. If any of you have a chance be sure to stay there. What a place and what great food.

Posted By: danny ruiz (11/06/2008 at 11:42 AM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott
I recently stayed at one of your hotels and I was very impressed with the level of service that the associates provided. I am a firm believer of the 3 P's. I am trying to reach a former colleague that worked with me at Starwood Hotels and Resorts to congradulate her with her new position at Marriott as VP OF Luxury and Lifestyle Brands. I would like to join your company in some capacity with developing lifestyle brands. Change has come to Marriott and Luxury and Lifestyle Brands is where we need to forge ahead. I want to be part of it. Your blog on Keeping Our Eyes on the Road Ahead is they key.

Posted By: James Mahoney (11/07/2008 at 07:38 AM)
Comment:

I am using this site as a last resort...we are sitting in our unit at the Marriott Aruba Surf Club on the last day of our vacation...this has been the most stressful vacation we have ever had...it is obvious that the Surf Club cannot accommodate the number of guests with the current pool/beach facilities available...our room 'book' indicated that Surf Club owners could use the Ocean Club facilities...tried that and was asked to leave...we have been able to secure chairs 2 of the six days we have been here by getting up at 0630...no satisfaction from the Surf Club management...only want to tell us about what they are doing to make it better...doesn't help us now...Marriott Vacation Club Owner Services was no better...told me he was in Salt Lake and couldn't get us chairs...advised there were other things to do on the island besides sit at the pool or beach...also enlightened me that there is no one at Marriott Corporate responsilble for the oversight of Marriott timeshares...must say that surprises me...our week, in particular our last day, on 'One Happy Island' has been anything but happy...this is our 4th trip to Marriott Aruba facilities and the absolute worst...
FYI...the customer service rep I spoke to was Jim Yanni...

Posted By: Feras Werr (11/07/2008 at 10:36 AM)
Comment:

Dear Mr. Marriott,
Truthfully speaking, we all entered into a state of shock as the financial recession took more focus in the last couple of weeks. I just couldn't believe the size of the conglomerate businesses that toppled as a result of the recession; it was like watching a fictitious movie. Not at any point in my life did I imagine anything that size coming towards such a well kept economy as the US economy. It was catastrophic enough to hurl with it stock markets and business around the globe. I think, and generally speaking of course, our entire global market could be compared to a pyramid with the US economy being the most bottom and widest financial layer. It's that layer that's the strongest and that holds the entire pyramid together. That layer quaked a bit and the top layers quaked with it. I have always prayed ever since the start of the recession and I will continue to pray from my heart that the US people and economy relish some strong stability again very soon. I read your feature about your new operations that are to open in 2010 and which included your concerns about the recession. Good luck and I'm sure your experience will help your chain keep aloft those waves. However something happened shortly afterwards; I lied in bed to take a small nap and my thinking drifted to what has been going on lately and the global anticipations surrounding it, a sentence glowed in my head. When the Lord closes the door someway he opens a window. I felt the urge to share it with you and all your blog readers. I do have deep respects for other faiths but as a Christian I always believe, mankind just has to do its best and what it can leaving the rest to our Lord. He will have a way to open the window that everyone needs these days.

Posted By: The Shalom Family Campaign for Social Justice (11/07/2008 at 07:43 PM)
Comment:

Dear Mr. Marriot,
Our Family run website 'stats' record an entry of a visit from your oragnisation at 'MARRIOTT-NET1-LON-GB'.
Of course we realize that this could be anyone from within your organisation, perhaps even someone from a pubicly used terminal from within any one of your hotel chain but in any event, and as a gesture of thanks for the interest, we would just like to return a visit. So, thanks for calling in who ever it was! We would also like to say that this idea of a CEO doing what this blog allows is great, it's so open, unhostile, approachable, friendly. If the hotel chain is run the same way, it must be a great experience staying at a Marriot! It's such a pity that this atitude is not widespread practice among the world's top company CEO staff in general. Anyway, thanks again for popping in to our website and taking an interest in our woes, perhaps when things do eventually get alot better, (for all of us), and people everywhere try a lot harder to do the 'right' thing, (in God we trust!)we just might be able to pay a visit to your chain in person. In the meantime, please feel free to come back to our website, as much as you like....it's free. Thanks. The Shalom Family

Posted By: Bob Brown (11/08/2008 at 04:54 AM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott,
I believe that you have a young employee with a promising future with the company. I have stayed many places and have not experienced the customer focus that was given to me at the St. Clairsville, Ohio Fairfield Inn. I personally contacted the hotel for reservations and was treated with great respect and cheerfulness from Cari *****. She assisted me with two overnight stays that met our trip needs and worked with me to have the best rate that was available to me. Her customer service is unrivaled to what I have been accustomed to over the years. She genuinely cared about the experience I was going to have during my two nights of travel. I would strongly recommend her as a future manager based on her qualities of customer service, knowledge and professionalism. Hopefully, she will have a long upward career with Marriott. Please convey my personal thanks to Cari.

Posted By: RonS (11/10/2008 at 03:55 AM)
Comment:

Dear Sir,
I'm sure it's nice that two of your flagship brands are continuing to be built; but you may want to consider the other end of the spectrum as well.
As an independent sales rep, I can only rarely stay at any of your hotels, even the so called limited service Fairfield Inns. Most of your rooms are well over $100.00 per night, something that, quite frankly, is crazy. If you are not on an expense account, it's unlikely you will stay there.
There are thousands of us out there. We need a clean room, soft bed, and wifi. For a reasonable price. Right now, your company is not providing that.

Posted By: Patricia Payne (11/10/2008 at 04:30 AM)
Comment:

Hi my name is Patricia Payne. I am a senior at Colonie Central High School in Albany New York. I am in an LMP class at Capital Region Career and Technical School. For my English integration class we have to write a blog on the internship at your marriott hotel on Wolf Road in Albany New York. I dont want to offend you, however i think your blog is a little plain. I think you should put more color in there. Dont make it so white and black make use of the marriott colors. I hope you dont get offended by this comment. sincerely yours.

Posted By: Eric (11/11/2008 at 05:01 AM)
Comment:

Dear Mr. B Marriott
I live in Uruguay and this email is just to tell that I´m working hard to open a hotel here in MVD, and you are a great example for me of what a person can reach when you have the will and the hard work as a method of reaching your goals, thanks for the experiences that you share on your blog and one day I would like to recevie an email from you, even though I know it´s can be complicated for you cause your time, but for those people, like me who wants to start running his own bussiness related to hospitality you are a hero.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, I also served as a missionarie in Chile.
Regards
Americo L.

Posted By: Cali doesn't want Marriott (11/14/2008 at 03:53 PM)
Comment:

California doesn't want any more Marriott's - especially after Bill Marriott donated million and millions to the Mormon Church who, in turn, spent those millions to oppose gay marriage - Marriott can stay in Utah or Maryland or wehrever they're from - but we're sick of you in California - Thanks Bill!

Posted By: Concerned person (11/25/2008 at 06:43 PM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott, what a great company. My only suggestion is please catch up with your website. Marriott.com & Vacationclub.com are in bad need of this. Other than this your company is great and with this change I believe you will take the market. Honestly, when Expedia is easier to book with than Marriott.com that is a problem. Consolidate, give people a better one on one experience with your website. You may know it, but I know there are others who see this need for change. People have mentioned it on your blog before and plenty of others have said it. I love Marriott as a company but the times have changed to automation and the web.
A GREAT example, look at Obama's site vs. McCains. I am not saying Obama is better but that his website certainly is better. You can still view his site and it is clean, easy, comfortable. McCain's is anything but these. Marriott.com shares this and I hope you can change this because I believe it will be good for Marriott! Keep Marriott.com ON THE MOVE!!

Posted By: Fred (12/03/2008 at 03:33 PM)
Comment:

Dear mr. Marriott.
Although I have no idea if you reply on this mail, I would like to share with you my disappointment with the new policy to cancel the cookies and apples in the lobby. I understand that cuts have to be made due to the economy and I sympathize with the great people who staff the hotel, but eliminating the cookies (and also the apples) is a very BAD (business) decision.
Marriott has become the preferred hotel chain for my colleagues and me, partially because Marriott offers 'small' things that set itself aside from the other chains. A nice cookie after a 12 hour work day is one of these things. Again, I realize that costs must be cut, but the decision to eliminate the cookies must have been made by people who don't spend more nights in a hotel then at home with their wife and kids. This elimination (and the elimination of the apples) certainly makes me less welcome at Marriott.
I hope you read this message: If so please bring back the cookies and apples. So much already have been cut out (like replacement of uncomfortable desks at Courtyard or the postponement of the replacement of the total useless clock radio's) that this cut in service really downgrades the Marriott chain a couple of grades for me.

Posted By: Juliette Adams (09/01/2010 at 11:50 AM)
Comment:

Mr. Marriott:

Thanks for your words, it is also a personal life lesson for our society in these times: "it was important to make the point that when we come out of these tough times, we'll be ready. That's not going to happen overnight, but it's going to happen. I'm confident that the actions of the political and financial leaders in Washington and globally are going to help the financial markets tremendously."

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I'm Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International.

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