Connecting People Oceans Apart with GoThere Virtual Meetings by Marriott

April 6, 2010
GoThere Meetings Having my own blog for more than three years has been a great learning experience.  Blogging has helped me understand the importance of technology and communications for our business. 

Recently, I was interviewed using telepresence. It’s a fairly new communications technology we are testing in some of our hotels around the world with AT&T and Cisco. We’ve named the service GoThere Virtual Meetings. It really is amazing technology. You feel like you’re having a face-to-face meeting with people who are sitting in studios thousands of miles away.  I remember facing a man who was in London. He had an award he wanted to give me.  He reached forward and it looked like he was reaching right across the table to give me the award.  It was an awesome experience.

Four of our hotels already offer GoThere Virtual Meetings in New York City, suburban Washington, D.C., San Francisco and downtown D.C. We’ll have about 15 telepresence studios by the end of the year, including locations outside the U.S., in Sao Paolo, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Frankfurt.

A lot of people have wondered why we’re doing this. Won’t it discourage travel? What we heard from some of our customers is if we offered telepresence, they would actually hold more small meetings of typically fewer than 6 people at our hotels. These would be meetings conducted on less productive conference calls or meetings that might never have happened at all.

At our Grosvenor House – A JW Marriott hotel in London – a customer actually built out a telepresence studio for just a single meeting at the hotel. Next time he visits, the customer can use the telepresence studio that we will open there this spring.

It is a competitive landscape, and offering state-of-the-art communications technology and more meeting options will help us generate more revenue for our hotels.

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

Connecting People Oceans Apart with Go There Virtual Meetings by Marriott

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Dear Mr. Marriott,

I Am very grateful to you for giving regular people like myself, the opportunity to say nice things about your new JW Marriott Marquis Miami... the HOLA conference was hosted by Marriott this week there and I wanted to share with you that, the hotel and the staff there are the best example of a new standard of excellence and technology in Our experience as your Delighted Guests.

The HOLA Conference was a real Success and former President Fox was there... on stage he said a few words about how impressive his Presidential Suite was at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. My suite was amazing! Impressive ceiling to floor windows and impressive room technology along with an amazing desk. I was able to do marvelous work and had never enjoyed a business hotel this much. Bravo !!!

Thank you for Sponsoring HOLA 2011

A True Fan,


Dear Mr. Marriott. I write to you from South Africa. I am busy finalizing the planning of a world-class Vacation Resort in Mpumalanga (close to the world renowned Kruger Wildlife Park) and wondered about the possibility of this becoming another beautiful Marriott establishment. This is very much a “Green” Project and all the Lodges and structures are that of imported Log from the US. The Estate is to have a Sir Nick Faldo Series Golf Course and a Faldo Championship Village as well as the "first ever to South Africa" International Faldo Golf Academy. The Project is extremely special to us as it serves to uplift a very disadvantaged community of 546 families thus restoring dignity and pride to this community. Since the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (the best ever), South Africa has become very sought after. The land upon which the Estate is to be built on the shores of Injaka Dam/Lake is, by far, the best land available in this very popular tourism location in Mpumalanga. Could you please tell me how we could investigate the possibility of this becoming a Marriott establishment as well as how it could become part of your Marriott Golf Program and Marriott Vacation Club. I have been planning this vision for the past 5 years and would be honored to receive some guidance. I thank you in anticipation. Sincerely, Dee Fourie - South Africa.

What I would like to see is a iPhone/iPod Touch Marriott Application. I would like to be able to open up my Marriott Hotels application, and have it use my GPS to tell me which hotels are closest, and have rooms. It's so hard to be on the road on some completely mew and random highway and search for a Marriott hotel that might be near by. By using the GPS on the phone, it could locate all Marriotts within 10 miles with their phone numbers. It would be great.

The Local Site is missing a schedule of Reserved Events w/a contact phone number. I wanted to attend an event and the link that I heard was a dead end. I knew the event would be at Marriott but there was no information on the event forth coming at the site.

Dear Mr. Marriott, I work for a company that manufatures 100% waterproof, dishwasher-safe, anti-microbial TV Remotes. In todays' world, everyone is concerned about the transmittal of diseases, viruses, & germs. Our TV Remotes can be washed in the dishwasher as well as the commercial laundry machines in use in hotels today. Along with the Anti-microbial benefits built into the TV Remotes, they would make for a perfect welcome for your guests upon arrival to a Marriott. The Marriott hotel chain would be the first to offer Anti-microbial TV Remotes. Additionally, we also make Keyboards & Mice to compliment your business centers within your hotels. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to send evaluation products for you & your staff to evaluate. I can be reached at
(727) 415-2075

Dear Mr. Marriott,
I'm writing(secretly) on behalf of my brother-in-law, James Calfee who a few months ago attained Lifetime Platinum Status. He did receive a letter from you congratulating his achievement.
Is it possible that that you might autograph your favorite Marriott book, addressed to Jim with a small note? He would be touched and very appreciative. He and his wife go to Camelback Inn in Phoenix frequently and has seen your family at a distance----I believe usually in March. The four of us was just there this past Sunday for brunch.
I have been a Marriott customer for many years #**********.
Thank you for your consideration,
Barry Markl ****-***-****

Dear Mr. Marriott,
Our high school choir from Utah just returned from a trip to Seattle, Washington. While there we stayed at two different Marriott Hotels, the first night at a Courtyard Marriott in Tacoma by the glass bridge and the rest of the nights were spent at one near a shopping center in Redmond. We couldn't have been treated more kindly. The staff at both places went the extra mile to accommodate every request and need. We had 130 students and chaperones in the group so this was no small feat. They even went so far as to put extra postage on a personal letter that I sent out. We were all so impressed with the service and beautiful accommodations. Please give your staff extra bonuses!

Dear Mr. Marriott,

Hello and am very glad to be able to communicate to you through this blog.
My family and I have 2 timeshares, one in Harbour Lake in Seaworld, Orlando and another in Grand Chateau, Las Vegas, which are 2 very beautiful timeshares.
I would like to suggest that, for timeshare owners, if they could use their exchange or getaways in the hotels specially in areas where the timeshares are not available.
On the other hand, if Marriott hotel members (who also own timeshares) can use their points to stay not only in hotels but also in the timeshare properties. This arrangement can make maximum use of the Marriott properties by the timeshare owners.
We, for example, booked the US Frenchman's Cove in Virgin Islands last Dec. 2009, but were not able to use the 7 day due to no availability - but if our exchange could have been utilized in the Frenchman's reef or Morning Star, that would indeed be great. I know for the Marriott standpoint, they would not make any or more profit since existing owners will be using it.
However, this would not prove disappointing to timeshare owners like us who wanted to spend vacation at the time and place they really liked but cannot due to limited availability of timeshares.
I must say, finally, that the no. of Marriott timeshare properties could not fully accommodate the numerous no. of Marriott owners at a given time and place. Once one becomes a Marriot owner, he does not want to stay in any other timeshare or hotels except Marriott. This is the main reason why I suggest the maximum use of Marriott properties (both timeshare and hotels) for the timeshare owners. Thank you.

Corinna Martinez

Dear Mr. Marriott,

I did not know much about Marriott hotels as such till I read your blogs and columns.I am really impressed by your thinking and approach. You are a class apart. I wish I had worked for you.
I have been working with Sheraton Hotels (ITT days and now Starwood) since 1986 as a chief engineer/Director of engineering.(inbetween I was with Oberois in Bombay as Director of Engineering for 3 years). I am also Six Sigma Black belt. Recently I have learnt that you are going to expand Marriott hotels' presence in India. I belong to New Delhi, India. I was wondering if you would need a guy like me to head engineering operations in India. Presently I am based in Middle East but would like to relocate back to India for good. I would need a job to keep me busy and give me an opportunity to contribute my international experience as well.
I do hope that my request would reach you.

Thank You.
Best regards.

Tejinder Ahluwalia.
Mobile: +***.*******


Mr. Marriott,

Once again you are on the cutting edge of technology. You are always seeking to provide the best service to your customers, especially when it means taking a risk and trying new things. I am reminded of this quote by Frederick B. Wilcox: “Progress always involves risks. You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.” You continue to reinforce that the Marriott brand is the symbol progress and that you understand the needs of your customers.

Thank You.

Mr. Marriot,
I am a professional who has spent the last 30 years traveling with the companies I have been employed with. During those years I have exclusively booked Marriott hotels around the world for my stays. My stays can be a week up to a month. I am an extremely seasoned traveller and feel Marriott is my home away from home. I have always dreamed of a job working for the Marriott Corporation although I have not pursued this goal. Although I am certain that Marriott employs individuals who travel to Marriotts around the world as a mystery "guess" and then report back on the service, accomodations, staff, cleaniness, functionality,...the things that make the business travaler consistently return to Marriott, after 30 years in the IT field and living in your hotels, I am a natural candidate. If you feel the Marriott corporation could ever use this type of service, please keep me in mind. I am certain this email will be considered a very odd communication, however, I have for years felt I have much to offer based on personal experience, in reference to assisting hotels to improve the business travelers experience and given the opportunity, would love to provide this input for the Marriott corporation.
Carolyn Basore

Dear Bill,

Like Scott above, I had intended to send a letter as well, but being able to reach you via this blog is very convenient. I would like to let you know that my family and I have just finished a stay at the World Center Marriott in Orlando. The hotel is very impressive, but more impressive is the treatment that we received from your staff. In particular, Sintayehu "Ty" ****** who went far and above what can be reasonably expected for service by a hotel employee.

I am a long-time Marriott patron and gold Marriott rewards member, but on this trip I was a first-time traveling dad. Ty's patience, attitude and assistance made a world of difference when we arrived at the hotel and throughout our stay.

Please forward my thanks to Ty and to the management of the World Center Marriott hotel.

Best Regards,
Phil Sager

I'm appalled that Marriott is involved with GLAAD in the "Out in DC" promotion where part of any bookings goes to GLAAD to further the gay agenda. Bad for the country, and bad for Marriott. While I have nothing against gay people, I do not support, and no responsible, moral company would support the gay agenda. I expected better of Marriott.

Dear Mr.Marriott,
My husband and I bought an ocean view time share at your Kauai Beach Club Kalapaki, in May 1998. We were told that if we ever wanted to sell that Marriott would buy this property back for what we paid for it. Unfortunatel we have tried to get MCVI Resale to do so for 2 years and still no help. Very dissappointing.

I needed to find a phone number and your website is NOT USER FRIENDLY when it comes to this. Sometimes we need to talk to someone!

Dear Mr. Marriot, as a Marriott member for many years, I can tell you that in all my travels, Marriott is truly my home away from home. From your staff at the Tampa Waterside to Campbell, Calif, I never feel like I am in a hotel. I am now going to experience the JW in New Orleans, recommended by Carin at the Waterside. I look forward to the same great experience. You should be one of those "Undercover Boss" and see what a truly great staff you have in your hotels.

Dear Mr. Marriott,

I was recently in India and found how much more energy efficient the hotels are. I would like to suggest that you consider doing the same thing here in your American hotels. I see you are dedicated to going green and since this is Earth month this would be a great way to add increased energy efficienty to your quality hotels. I am not sure who I should contact to share this information, so please give me a phone number or a link to offer a suggestion that I would like decision-makers to see. Thank you kindly, Elaine

Mr. Marriot,

In today's technological world, might I suggest that one should be able to go onto your locator and pull up the hotels that are actually available with points. Not, find one that tells you how many points it takes for a selected date and then you are told it is not available by points when you call to book it through the desk.

I hope you read this. We stay at Marriotts all the time and we LOVE them, however, I have noticed, in the last several hotels we have stayed in, including this Marriott Courtyard in Bethesda, MD, that you have eliminated mirrors in the hotel room and the only mirrors are in the bathroom. This is terrible when one needs to put on make up or even see how they look in a full length mirror, when someone in using the bathroom. Please add back mirrors in the room.

It seems that when you put in slatted doors for the closet that you did not put back mirrors. HELP!!!!

Dear Mr. marriot

my name is John lim.
I have a japanes restaurant in Bloomington IL . I am chef.
Bloomington IL marriott hotel had a grand opening party, that night my restaurant got a good chance for part of opening party dinner.I made sushi and sushi rolls.
Thank you.
I saw beautiful spot for japanes dishes. Now that spot only use for brackfast. If you give me a chance, I want to make contemperaly dishes

This is a terrific example of being able respond to the fact that customers are looking for ways to reduce overheads for travel yet still providing them an option through the Marriott brand. What a great innovation.

Krishna De

Marriot Family,
Hopefully the moderater of this blog will pass this on to the Marriot Family. It's not relating to this blog but an invitation. I am a distant cousin of "Alice Sheets" and would like to know if J.W. or any of the Marriot family would like to attend the Ohio or Virginia Sheets family reunions. Please contact me

Dear Mr. Marriott, It's exciting to see how your organization has embraced the new technology. What we have found is that it allows us to travel smarter, utilizing our travel dollars for customer facing activities and it also has a huge positive impact on work/life balance of our employees.
Pam - Atlanta

Dear Mr. Marriott,
originally I intended to send you a letter concerning my recent stay at your property at Grande Lakes, Orlando but I discovered your blog and felt this was the best way to contact you and share my family's experiences with you.
My family ( Lucy, Mitchell, Robyn(wife)) and I are frequent guest at your Orlando property. We buy annual passes for Disney and a few years ago discovered your hotel. The JW Marriott at Grande Lakes is a beautiful hotel, we enjoy our experience from the start at valet to check in, while my childeren ( 5 and 7 years old) rush to the water dispenser with fruit slices, knowing that our luggage will be delivered to our room and we are off to the pool and lazy river.
It has become routine for us. And while your hotel is beautiful and has wonderful amenities I want you to know that it is your staff and especially on individual, Rory ********,that keeps us continuing to return to your hotel. On our recent visit for my sons 5th birthday I considered calling ahead to request some sort of special treatment, as Rory and the staff at the pool always go out of their way to acknowledge and consider my family, but I did not want to be presumptuous.
When I was checking in Deborah **** was assisting me and I would like to acknowledge her concern and consideration that led to our conversation of why we were visiting your hotel and her unsolicited willingness to arrange for ice cream to be delivered to our room after dinner for my son and daughter. Thank you Deborah.

Mr.Marriott my family has had such memorable experiences at this hotel that whenever we discuss going to Orlando it is unimaginable to my childeren that we would be staying someplace else and not visiting Rory. I often find myself lounging by the pool in ear shot of my kids and Rory will approach me and engage in conversation ranging from REVPAR to Magic Basketball to Hawaii. He goes out of his way to spend time with my children and always makes our stay special. This time adding milk, cookies and a birthday card to the ice cream delivery that was a suprise to everyone.

I would like to say THANK YOU and I realize that it takes everyone at the hotel to make our stay as enjoyable EVERYTIME. You are hiring truly outstanding individuals, keep up th good work!

Sincerely, Scott McAnany