Springing Forward for Our Guests

March 27, 2007

SpringHill Suites Guest Room Well, I'm heading back to Texas, to San Antonio.  That's where our General Managers for our Courtyard, SpringHill Suites and Fairfield Inn brands are meeting.  There's a lot going on with each of these brands.  Courtyard is rapidly expanding everywhere with a new prototype in Europe.  We'll soon double the number there to about 100 hotels in the next 5 years.  Fairfield Inn has been reinvigorated and the results have been terrific with higher guest satisfaction and better financial performance.  A lot of you, I know, have stayed at Courtyard with its 700 hotels and Fairfield with their 500, but today I want to talk to you about SpringHill Suites and its guests.

I'm often asked, "How can you have so many different brands?  Isn't that a lot to manage, and doesn't it inspire a lot of confusion?"  Well, not really, because every brand caters to a different kind of traveler.  Now, the Courtyard guests are what we call "performance-driven business travelers," like athletes.  Springhill Suites guests are high achievers on business travel too, but they also enjoy trips and they like to work in their leisure time too to see new places, to eat where the local people eat.  They tend to be younger, so they're a growing market.  We're in really good shape because we've got more than 150 SpringHill Suites open and more than 110 on the way.  But I know our competitors are waking up and going after these guests too.  I don't think they're going to catch us - but I'm biased.

A reporter recently visited our new SpringHill Suites guest room here at headquarters and called it a "knockout" and a "fresh approach."  Wow, we like good reviews!  I see every prototype before it's approved and I think the reporter is right.  Truth be told, I'm more the Courtyard type, but my youngest son, David, who's a Gen-Xer, assures me that it really is cool.  It's at least what we've heard from guests who've tested the room also.

We're constantly monitoring all our brands and there's a lot of researching, testing and experimenting from design to guest service, to what food and beverages we offer.  By the way, that same reporter also wrote about our "attention to detail."  So, at SpringHill, we'll be introducing local foods in our pantries, the SpringHill soundtrack of music in our lobbies and a fun welcome gift at check-in - Chupa Chups, probably the best lollipop around.  Even a performance business traveler, like me, enjoys a good lollipop every now and then.

You'll see the first new SpringHill early next year and many more to quickly follow.  We're also incorporating the new design as our owners renovate.  It's a very exciting time.

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

Springing Forward for Our Guests

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This past weekend, I stayed at the Springhill Suites in Clearwater, FL. This was my first Marriott hotel I have ever stayed in. All I can say is-WOW! The hotel was bright and cheery, the room was absolutely beautiful, the beds were very comfortable and the staff were extremely helpful and pleasant. For our family of four, the price was great and we left our vacation feeling completely relaxed and refreshed.
You now have a new customer for life. Great work and a big THANK YOU.

I am a long-time Marriott Loyalist interested in any future plans for new hotels in the Caribbean. I just returned from St. Kitts and had a marvelous time as I did last year in Aruba.

Mr Marriott. I'm interested to hear your view on one aspect of Marriott hotels....I understand that each of your hotel brands offers something unique to a specific type of customer. But is there anything that makes them all uniquely Marriott - apart from the fact that you own them of course!

Mr. Marriott Sir. I must say first of all that Marriott is the only way we travel. Whether it is business or liesure we will travel miles out of the way to make sure we are staying at a Marriott facility. I have been a Marriott loyalist for at least 20 years, way before the light went on and I signed up for the awards program. My main purpose is that my wife and I spend close to two months in Paso Robles CA. Truly God's Country. Anticipating your thought we eventually will have a home there. We are very excited about the Courtyard being built in Paso. We cannot wait to start staying there. I am sure the Hampton Inn is not but so be it. Included in our visits to Paso,we arrange gatherings with our firends (totalling 4 to 6 couples) to join us during the wine festivals and usually make a four to five day event out of it. We coordinate these every year. I have ben trying to get a step up on next year visits and get information how I can book these stays as well as our own stays. I am sure your research shows Paso books up many months in advance and we do not want to miss the opportunity to stay. Depending on whom I talk to, the answer is Reservations are not being taken at this time or, We are not aware of any Courtyard going up in Paso. Is there a sight I could stay on top of things? We want to be one of the first to book our stays and hopefully be one ofthe first to stay at the Paso Robles Courtyard and many times after.

I am a long-time Marriott Loyalist interested in any future plans for new hotels in the Caribbean. I just returned from St. Kitts and had a marvelous time as I did last year in Aruba.

Dear Mr Marriott, I love staying at your new hotels. They always have refreshing designs and stylish features. In fact we often plan vacations around the exciting new openings of your luxury tier properties. I feel a tremendous level of comfort knowing no matter where I travel or how exotic or new the destination I can always count on a relaxing, comfortable and safe stay when I can find a Marriott. I really appreciate the accessible information about upcoming Ritz Carlton openings around the world. But although it is read of expansion and growth plans on the Marriott site, why is it not as easy to find upcoming hotel openings for specified for Renaissance and JW's?
I have read articles in NY times and other periodicals about new ventures but am unable to verify information when I visit your site. Am I looking in the wrong location? Is there someone I could contact?

I was the travel coordinator for my 13 year old son's ice hockey team this past season. After shopping around for the best prices and services, I selected the Marriott Springhill Suites in Chesterfield, Missouri as our home base while were were in Saint Louis this season. We found this hotel to be very clean and comfortable. The front desk Staff- espcicially Dimitri were always welcoming and concerned that our rooms were in good order. The concern and willingness of the staff to provide any assitance was very much appreicated. Breakfast was always plentyful for our hungry young men. This is the cleanest and best kept hotel that we stayed in all season long. We truly appeciate the work of all of the staff at this fine hotel. Please relay my appreciation to all of the staff at the SpringHill Chesterfield. The Saint Louis Group Sales office was especially helpful in arranging contracts and coordinating our multiple stays in Saint Louis. Thanks to Marriott for helping to make our season a great one!

Mr. Marriott,I have been a Platinum member for over 5 years.I have stayed at every level hotel that Marriott offers.your people's ability to recognize how many nights a Platinum member spends away from home is your greatest asset.Your people aways make me feel like a special guest even if movie stars or professional athletes arrive at the check in counter at the same time as me.That is why I will continue to stay at Marriotts and will maintain my Platinum status. I have a particular fondness for the people at the Laguardia Marriott. They're the best I've ever run into Nationwide.
Ken Vigeant
Verizon Fleet

My husband and I choose Marriott whenever possible when we travel. Last week, we stayed at both a Springhill Suites and a recently renovated Fairfield. We especially appreciate the soft mattress toppers, the high quality sheets and the nice selection of pillows, ranging from soft to firm. The one thing we do NOT appreciate in Marriott properties is that the TVs in public areas are always tuned to Fox news channels. How about a rotation between Fox, CNN and MSNBC?

I am interested in the plans for expansion of Courtyard in Europe, because I just found out that the Courtyard I stay at regularly in Lincoln, UK (along with seven other UK Courtyards) are being sold to Holiday Inn. Is this what is meant by a "new prototype" - that new facilities are being developed and that some existing facilities are not compatible with that prototype? Just curious.

Dear Bill,
As a platinum member 485905186 I have an idea that will increase Marriott branding to its core customers, increase security and save Marriott money.
Have you considered issuing Platinum cards that can be used as programable room keys.
You already issue Platinum cards, by adding the magnetic strip on the back it can act as the room key and platinum identifier at check in.
The cost savings would result from those members keeping their cards when they check out instead of forgetting to turn them in either on purpose or by accident.
I have two stacks of cards from my stays at Marriotts across the country and around the world.
Last note, those persons worrying about id theft or misuse of information would be postively impacted.
By the way congratulations on your grandaughter!

Mr. Marriott, My family and I recently stayed at the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott. We had a great time with one exception. On our drive down from Dallas we lost our Debit/Credit Card and had to cancel it. Therefore we did not have one on file, but alerted the front desk upon arrival of the situation and would have to pay cash. This created a very inconvenient situation every time we ordered food, when we played golf, were left messages each day by a different person and had to re-explain the situation over and over, and were locked out of our room on Saturday. Finally, upon checking out, not even an apology. This may not prevent us from returning, however it did sting a little and was extremely inconvenient.

Nina, the bright colors are probably just for contrast on the mock up. I doubt they would use a sherbet green wall and aqua blue spread on the bed.

very very nice blog.thank you for your informations...

Hey Bill; stayed at Stanford Ct in SFO 3/29 & 30. Tod at the front desk-on his own volition-upgraded me to a 7th floor room overlooning the city and the bay. Especially fortunate for me since I spent most of the stay on unexpectedly on conference calls.
The previous Sunday(3/25) I was at Hartford Convention Center and left my shaving kit with important medicine in bathroom. Thorsten found it and fedexed it to me the next day!!
However, when checking in on 3/25 a very rude young man (Alan?-at 9PM) responded as to my question as to how I pay for parking (I have stay at the hotel 4 times a year and the parking arrangements are/were very confusing) withyou take out your wallet and take out your money) and rephrased my question to where do I pay and he said when leave-again not responsive in view of the history at that location.
As you can see he is NOT representative of the Marriott org.
How about the NAME of the head of customer service so I don't have to bother you with accolades/complaints?
PS? I am a silver (300k) member.

Becoming a lifer. I have been in the Mariott rewards program for 25 years. Over that time I have been a platinum member. There were a few years that I dropped down due to being promoted. Now I am considering retirement, but we plan to travel. So why not have a program for retirees that alows them to keep their status. Something to consider.

SpringHill Suites is definitely a nice hotel. I stayed at one in Manhattan Beach, CA and we enjoyed our stay very much. Looking forward to the new design of the rooms.

I am a Gen Xer as well down to my tattoos and piercings, and I disagree with the last comment. I like that the room looks like a toy, its fun and mod. I think it has a relaxed unpretentious feeling. It's clean, fresh and colorful. I would be happy to stay in such a room.

Dear Mr. Marriott:
First, I am very impressed with your blog and the futuristic design of SpringHill Suites. I am a graduate from Howard University with a Bachelor's in Business Administration in Hospitality Management, so I am coming from that perspective. I feel your brands, including the SpringHill Suites, can tell an interconnected story that can generate greater marketing value resulting in greater competitiveness and leveraging. A kind of personal interjection combined with "a mustard seed of faith" concept.
My observation is people are looking for even greater creativity and your branding seems to carry a story that is yet to be told. (A story of life, diversity, global competitiveness, service, creativity.) My daughter, a 16-year-old Springbrook High school student, loves the design. She describes it as "crisp, clean, refreshing, and rejuvenating." Marriott is indeed a great company that is dynamically unraveling the human concept of hospitality. I look forward to rejoining your team.

Bill, I'm sure you wouldn't remember me, but I worked for you many years ago and have been a Marriott fan for years. Tonight I spent an hour and a half on the phone with various Marriott reservationists and Rewards people trying to straighten out a problem with a Rewards Reservation. I finally spoke with Carmen at reservations and Kelly in Rewards. They were extremenly helpful and solved the problem. They are the reason I l continue to stay at Marriott's. The people and the facilities are top notch and always beyond reproach. I use Marriott in my business as an illustration to my sales team as a prime example of how excellent customer service should be.

Good information. I am a Gen Xer and I would never stay in a room that looks like that. I hate to sound mean, but it seems more appropriate for a 12 year old; the room looks like a toy. I'm surprised there's such a big demand for this style of property such that you are building so many more this year.

Dear Mr.Marriott, I heard from lots of my friends that MARRIOTT is a great place for both staff and guest, I really would like to join and work in your group. Just a suggestion that can you consider to open a hotel or build an office in Adelaide, Australia? Then, I can join in. Seriously! By the way, have a good day!

Hello Bill,
great blog! I also travel a lot and I recently went back to your Courtyard in Dubai Green Community, one of my preferred Courtyard in the world. It's like a vacation for me to go back there for work (pls don't tell that to my wife)... Thanks for keeping up the good job in all your hotels worlwide.

Kudos for your openness and efforts with your blog. You are a trailblazer and years from now, this will be seen as a brillaint move, opening a direct channel to talk to the marketplace.
I was hoping to talk to you about our blogging efforts and conversational marketing. How might I get in touch with you to discuss helping you make the Marriott blog a huge success?
Tom Troja

Dear Bill
Why do i use Marriott, for all the reasons that are alredy talked about within this blog. The other is the Marriott rewards program, what a great program better than many that i have been part of in the past, however i have one question!! I am living in your Courtyard in Chennai for the next 1/2 years so you could say this is my home. The hotel staff are great the hotel is great, the question i have why o why when i then travel and stay at the JW Marriott in Mumbai, as i travel between these location and pay for nights at the Courtyard and my nights stay at the JW at the same time, can i not collect my Marriott rewards points. Is this to encourage me to stay at a another Hotel chain in Mumbai just so that i earn points for my stay, or is it to encourage me to move out of my home every time i have to travel to Mumbai? saying all that i am very happy with the Marriott group and its staff a credit to the chain.