Marriott on the Move




World of Opportunity: Chance Encounters

Posted:02/27/201210:50 AM

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After 33 years with Marriott International, Nusrat Mirza learned first-hand how our company can open doors to a world of opportunity.

Nusrat Mirza

Nusrat’s story goes back to 1978, when he became a restaurant supervisor in one of our properties. Today, he’s the General Manager of our beautiful Renaissance Long Beach Hotel in California.

One day, after inviting his housekeeping staff to bring their children to work, Nusrat had a “chance encounter” with a young teenager named Mario. 

When asked what he wanted to do in life, the young boy confidently replied, “I want your job.”  Nusrat encouraged him to come back when he was older and like clockwork, Mario returned a few years later and was hired.  He’s now a front desk clerk known for his unfailing ability to deliver for his guests.  

One evening there was a mix-up when a guest thought she had reservations at the Renaissance, but in fact was booked at another hotel.  Mario reassured the weary traveler that he would help and, of course, quickly transferred her reservation to his hotel.  Way to go Mario!  

Nusrat Mirza with Bill Marriott

It’s great seeing a young person like Mario having success in our business.  He knew what he wanted and found a wonderful mentor in Nusrat. 

These mentorships take place at all of our hotels.  There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing an associate succeed and grow in their job. It’s the “Marriott Way.”

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


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More Lessons From A Car Guy

Posted:02/20/2012 2:08 PM

After nearly 40 years as a CEO at Marriott, I love to read about how others lead.  Recently, I blogged about Bob Lutz's new book "Car Guys vs. Bean Counters," which has many lessons from his tenure with General Motors. Bob Lutz

My 13-year service on the GM Board ended about a year after Bob came aboard.  But I've watched and admired him from afar.  General Motors has weathered some tough times lately and I found Bob's commentary about the problems that they have faced as powerful.  So I shared copies of his book with my senior leadership team.

The great concern I have, as a leader of a large corporation, is the risk of losing sight of the customer and their needs.  All too often big corporations think they know all the answers and become arrogant and inward focused. 

Bob understood that.  He had a gut instinct for focusing on the customer.  For example, at my first board meeting with General Motors, one of their senior leaders informed me that Cadillac was such a strong, wonderful brand there was no need to spend much money enhancing the design or improving the new cars.  When Bob came on board, he paid a lot of attention to Cadillac, which is once again the standard of luxury cars around the world.

In his book, Bob stresses the need to follow your instincts and rely on your own experience in making big business decisions.  He recognizes that there is a place for detailed financial analysis, spread sheets and power point presentations.  But they should never be the driving force guiding the company.

Bob Lutz's Book

Before he came to GM, Bob was a Marine Corps pilot and served in a Marine attack squadron at U.C. Berkeley.  He described a change of command when the squadron was taken over by a modest, humble Lieutenant Colonel who received a battlefield promotion in WW II. 

His name was Art Bauer and his day job was Hose Man #2 at the San Francisco Fire Department.  The squadron was composed of ambitious graduate students at Cal and Stanford who were shocked that such an uneducated man would be their commanding officer.  After the Change of Command ceremony, Colonel Bauer called his 20-odd junior officers together and gave the following talk as Bob Lutz remembered it.  

Colonel Bauer said: “I’m going to stay out of your way because you are all more capable than this old officer.  I don’t expect you to respect me for my flying ability, because it’s not at your level.  But I do want and demand your support and respect.  Not for me, but for the uniform I wear and the rank that is on it. You gentlemen, not I, are going to run this squadron and I don’t want you to let me down.”

Bob Lutz said the doubts and snickering soon stopped.  And, in 18 months Bauer’s squadron was rated number one in the entire Marine Corps Reserve.

Bob wrote that in leadership, as in all things, less is often more.  I hope that as time passes, Marriott leaders will remain faithful to a management style of humility and accountability, like Bob Lutz learned from his old squadron commander and from the mistakes that he witnessed at General Motors.

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

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The Super Bowl and Super Brands

Posted:02/06/2012 4:35 PM


Courtyard by Marriott guests love football.  So you can imagine all the lobby buzz for the Big Game.

Courtyard was right in the thick of it as the official hotel sponsor for the National Football League.  We even set up a Courtyard by Marriott Lobby Zone at the NFL Experience where fans of both brands could meet players and really get into the spirit of the game.  As you can see, it was a blast.  The power brands have been great partners right from the start.  


When Courtyard was launched in 1983, it created a new segment in the lodging industry.  Today, with more than 900 hotels worldwide, it continues to plow past the competition. Every day the brand’s leaders are coming up with new strategies to advance our winning streak. 

With Courtyard’s Refreshing Lobby, the brand scored big with a variety of fresh and tasty favorites at the new Bistro. We were the first to post calorie counts on our menus and now offer this great option to guests at more than 400 Courtyards nationwide.  The menus offer big crowd pleasers like artichoke dip, buffalo wings, hummus, turkey BLTs and -- my personal favorite -- the Bistro Burger.  


Hotel lobbies have long been a nice place to congregate.  The open layout of new Courtyard lobbies is now ideal for everything from pop up meetings to a place to watch games, including the Super Bowl.  Guests can relax, refresh, recharge and root for their favorite teams.  Maybe next year my Redskins will get their chance.

How did your team do this season?  And what did you snack on during the game?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to know.

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

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Checking In as a Guest, Leaving as Family

Posted:01/09/201210:33 AM

Joy Bricker went public at the age of 79.  She’s famous for being the 10-year guest at TownePlace Suites in Falls Church, Virginia.  Ten years … in the same room!  Now that’s loyalty and a lot of Rewards points.  It also makes for a great media story.

When Joy announced she was checking-out to move in with her daughter in New York, the media converged -- The Washington Post, CNN and ABC Channel 7 News.  Before you knew it, folks around the world were talking about the lady who for ten years made Marriott her home. 

International Stories

What makes this story so great is not the long “extended stay,” but the “extended family.”  When Joy arrived at the hotel, she was recently widowed and looking for work.  She found a government job and decided not to move out.  

The hotel staff invited her to their homes for dinners and baby showers. The GM visited her when she was in the hospital.  After all, that’s what family does and Joy was family.

People often asked her why she didn’t buy a condo or rent an apartment.  Her answer was that TownePlace Suites made her feel safe, comfortable, and part of their community.  I call that hospitality: caring for our guests, making them feel at home.  And that’s what keeps guests coming back or in Joy’s case staying for a decade – a long time!

On Joy’s moving day, the hotel team members shed some tears when they said goodbye.   After all, a member of their family and recent media star was on her way out.   

I’m told that Joy doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.   Well, it’s about family, an unusual “extended” family.  

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

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Two Focused Companies

Posted:12/05/201111:34 AM

Today it’s exciting to know that we can devote all of our attention to managing and franchising our lodging brands. With the spinoff of our timeshare unit, we’re now closer to a pure lodging company than we’ve ever been before.  Which, in my opinion, is where we ought to be.   MVW logo

A new public company has been created, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, and it’s poised for terrific growth.

The Marriott name will remain above the door.  The company will be led by Steve Weisz, a nearly 40 year Marriott veteran.  My daughter, Debbie, sits on the board and the past president and the vice-chairman of Marriott International, Bill Shaw, is chairman of the Marriott Vacations Worldwide Board.  So there’s a lot of good leadership in place.

This move creates the leading stand-alone vacation ownership business.  And I’m confident they’ll do a great job managing our Marriott and Ritz-Carlton brands in the timeshare business.


Lodging is a tremendous business.  And managing and franchising a growing portfolio of outstanding brands plays to our strength.  Our business strategy should not only deliver terrific growth but should also provide a much higher return on investment.  

In 1927, Marriott started as a root beer stand.  Over the years we’ve changed with the marketplace, seized great opportunities and continued to evolve.  

Today, we are focused on managing and franchising the finest lodging brands in the world and we’re really well positioned as we enter this new and exciting era for our company.  

I also want to wish Steve Weisz and his team great success in their new Marriott Vacations Worldwide company.  

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

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The Art of Style at SpringHill Suites

Posted:10/13/2011 4:36 PM

In 1998, we launched a brand designed for the traveler looking for more space and a sense of style.  That brand was SpringHill Suites.  Now, we’ve taken it a step further. 

When you think of space and style, what comes to mind?  To me, it’s art galleries. 

For the last two years, SpringHill Suites has held ArtNight.  Our lobbies turn into galleries filled with works from local artists.  From photography to cartoon drawings, glass sculptures to air brushed motorcycles, the artwork has been sensational. 

Embracing the local arts has not only strengthened our ties within our communities, but also enhanced our guests’ experience, giving them a real taste of the local art scene.  You can view some ArtNight pictures and video on SpringHill's new facebook page.


With all this talent at our hotels, we’re asking artists -- expert or amateur – to design a special edition hotel key card.  The winning submission will be featured on key cards next year at SpringHill’s nearly 300 hotels.  Key cards have high visibility, so be creative.  I only hope our guests will turn them in when they leave.

Anyone 18 years of age or older can submit their key card at  Deadline is November 1st.

We’re already seeing some awesome entries.  I’ll post the winning entry along with other finalists.

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

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Booking with Marriott While on the Move

Posted:09/29/201112:37 PM

In 1957, when we opened our very first hotel, the Marriott Twin Bridges, families were just starting to drive long distances on Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway.  It was a great system and really changed America. 

Our Twin Bridges Motor Hotel was located outside Washington, D.C. and it featured a drive-through front office.  It made for quick and easy check-ins.  Guests were able to be guided to their rooms by boys on bicycles and then able to park very close to their room – a real convenience, especially for large families.

Recognizing travel trends is vital to staying competitive and giving our customers what they want.  But no area has changed as much as the reservations area.  It’s online and it’s increasingly mobile.  Our new mobile app – designed for devices like iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry – is receiving great reviews.

About 400,000 people have already downloaded it.  Within days of being launched, it was ranked the fourth most popular free app on Apple’s iTunes and the most popular travel app.

Our e-Commerce team has created a hit!  Unlike some other hotel companies that have one app per brand, Marriott’s app lets you search for more than 3,600 hotels among 13 brands in 71 countries.  It also finds nearby hotels using GPS. 

When we first opened hotels like Twin Bridges, no one envisioned making a reservation this way.  It’s never been so easy.

So, download the app that we linked below and leave a comment letting us know what you think.

Oh, by the way, you can still book a room by calling a reservationist or by stopping by the front desk.  Some things will never change.

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

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Download the Marriott app for iPhone

Download the Marriott app for Android

Download the Marriott app for BlackBerry

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A Virtual Lobby Tour

Posted:08/15/201110:44 AM


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A lot has changed since we built our first hotel in 1957.  I remember physically moving furniture to decide the right spot.  We didn’t have a lot of choices on fabrics and designs. Now, we can design lobbies and rooms by using  “virtual” showrooms.  The hammer and the nail have given way to a mouse and monitor.  It’s really high tech.

Click on the video and you’ll see what I mean.  

Walking through a virtual lobby takes a little getting used to.  Some of the furniture is real, some is not.  It’s like being on a movie set.  In fact, we are using movie animation software.  Our design team is like a “special effects” production unit.  They create giant printouts and add real furniture to give a 3D visualization. 

The visual impact allows our executive team to make changes.  With a click of the mouse, we’re able to change the wall color and carpet.  In a matter of months – not years - we can redesign our spaces and bring the latest styles and technologies to our guests.  

We’re certainly in a competitive business and it seems like it’s all about speed to market.  So, this summer check out our latest animated production coming to a Marriott hotel near you. 

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

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Good Burgers and Good Business

Posted:08/01/201110:56 AM


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I was raised on good hamburgers and I just love a good burger.  It takes me back to my boyhood days and the fun of eating in one of my parents’ Hot Shoppes restaurants.


In-N-Out Burger

When I travel out west, I try to pop into In-N-Out Burger, a regional chain located primarily in California and Arizona in the Southwest.  In-N-Out burgers are great and their “Animal Style” burger really hits the spot.  My father would have loved In-N-Out Burger because they cook their burgers to order and they use the best ingredients. 

Hot Shoppes Car Hop

Back in the heyday of our Hot Shoppes restaurants, our menu had more than 300 items.  We insisted that every selection be fresh and always available.  It was that customer–oriented philosophy that helped make Hot Shoppes successful and laid the foundation for our global hotel business today.

Our attention to detail carries over to our Marriott sales force.  They’ve helped In-N-Out Burger expand in Texas by offering one-stop shopping.  Let me explain.  Our sales representative has arranged for their team to stay at multiple Courtyards and Residence Inns.  We’re the only hotel company that operates this way.  

In N Out   Hot Shoppes Exterior

Before, our corporate customers would have to call each individual hotel to book a meeting or block of rooms.  Now, they can make a single call to one of our sales offices and shop and compare all of our hotels across our family of brands and find just exactly what they need for their business.  

Residence Inn Loves In-N-Out

That’s how our customers, like In-N-Out, told us they want to do business and we listened. 

We began transforming our sales organization many years ago and now have eight offices around the U.S.  It’s changing the game and making it easier than ever for our customers to book our hotels.  We’re selling them the way they want to be sold.

At Marriott, we know a good burger and good customers.  Thank you In-N-Out Burger.  We’re certainly glad we can help you expand your terrific business.  

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


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Fond Farewell to a Marriott Friend

Posted:07/25/201110:27 AM

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On July 6, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal published extensive obituaries on my friend, George Lang, one of America’s most successful restaurateurs.

George Lang

George had a truly fascinating and exciting life.  He was born in Hungary in 1924.  He was Jewish and escaped a Nazi forced-labor camp and imminent execution in the Second World War.  He came to New York with no money, but with hopes of becoming a concert violinist.   

When his violin career did not work out, he pursued a career in restaurants.  He worked for Restaurant Associates and was instrumental in establishing the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City, one of the world’s most famous.  George also established and ran the famous Café des Artistes Restaurant in New York.  He wrote a lot of cookbooks and was one of the most renowned restaurateurs of all time.  

George Lang's Book Cover

When he left Restaurant Associates, we got together.  As we talked we came to the conclusion that it might be a good idea for George to establish a consulting business and I offered us up as the first client.  At that time, we were big-time in the airline catering business.  We just acquired the Qantas Airline account at our London Flight Kitchen at Heathrow.  Qantas flights to Australia were, of course, a long haul and very expensive in first class.  They were charging a lot and expected the highest level of service.

George volunteered to go to London and create a very high-end food service for Qantas in-flight catering.  He not only designed it, he stayed on in the kitchen for many weeks, training the chefs and ensuring that they did an outstanding job. 

When we opened our Marriott hotel in Budapest, Hungary, I was there for the opening and George showed up.  He was there opening a very famous restaurant in Budapest and joined us for dinner.  

He was a great friend and George and I worked together on many projects through the years.  I will miss him.  He made an outstanding contribution to the restaurant industry for over 40 years.  And he certainly helped me out when I really needed it the most with Qantas in London.  

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

George Lang Obituary (The New York Times)


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

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