Saluting Marriott's Heroes in Bangkok

June 8, 2010
Bangkok We’re in the hospitality business and nothing gives us more pleasure than welcoming our guests for life’s most memorable moments, an important business negotiation, or simply a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes, situations outside our control create inhospitable conditions, like the tragic events that recently unfolded in Bangkok. That’s when our focus shifts to protecting our guests’ personal well-being and doing our very best to ensure that they have a hotel to come back to.

Many of us watched with dismay as political unrest overwhelmed Bangkok’s streets in early May.  By then, we had closed our three hotels in the immediate vicinity—the Renaissance Bangkok; the Courtyard by Marriott Bangkok and The Mayfair, Marriott Executive Apartments.  We moved our guests to safety to our other hotels in Bangkok and asked the majority of our associates in the affected hotels to stay home for their own safety. We later had to close another of our properties, the Marriott Executive Apartments, Sathorn Vista and relocated guests from there as well.

Left behind in each hotel, however, was a small cadre of associates whose role was to protect their property from the potential damage caused by the protestors. They boarded up the windows, secured the entrances, moved furniture and provisions from the lobby, worked to limit access to the upper floors. And then they waited for as long as 30 days in their empty hotels for the crowd outside to be dispersed -- with limited communication with their friends and families and very great uncertainty about the outcome.

Reopening of Courtyard Bangkok Heroism and dedication to duty takes many forms and none of us know when and how we’ll be called to face the challenge. Heroism is not always recognized, but I’m very proud and want to salute the men and women of these hotels, led by their respective General Managers: Supap Sirins, Doris Marchardt, Stefan Gruber and Carsten Siebert, as well as nearby JW Marriott Bangkok General Manager Peter Caprez.  Peter provided encouragement and timely situation assessments.  Everyone did what they had to do to protect their hotels. I am very proud of all of them.

Today, the streets surrounding these hotels are virtually cleaned up. Bangkok is slowly returning to normal. By the end of May the doors of all these hotels had reopened. Next time you visit one of these wonderful hotels, I know you will be welcomed warmly.  But you will know that somewhere among the smiling faces greeting you, there are a few who quietly faced the challenge at hand—and prevailed.

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

Saluting Marriotts Heroes in Bangkok

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We went to two Marriotts in July of this year and felt very safe.

No matter where I travel I feel safe at a Marriott. Now I understand why...the Marriott family protects and serves.

I have noticed that Marriott Hotels across North America are in the airport parking business. Is this true?

Wow My the Higher Authority Bless these individuals,for number of days I was concerned Bangkok would not survive the protest but thank goodness things are ok there

This made me tear up. So much healthy pride in the Marriott associate family. <3

Nice blog. I love that you used a very specific example and how you spoke about your employees. This is exempleary leadership.

The worldwide Marriott Family and the "Spirit To Serve" overwhelms me with it's commitment to fulfill the promise . As the now largest Hotelier in the world, you all set a shining example to all in the hospitality business...that's why I stay at JW's...always my first choice; as well as bringing all my Rotary Club friends there to do business and relax, while being pampered. heartiest "Well Done"...Jeffers

I hope these associates were apprpriately compensated.

Sir.Thanks for Marriotts Heroes in Bangkok specially those associates who have done good jobs taking care the guests during last Bangkok crisis.Now the situation is back to normal life.Bangkok always would like to welcome all the guets.
Whenever you go to Bangkok,
you can stay with Marriotts Hotela as well.
From Chef Sunant Jamparach
Jeddah Marriott Hotel 1977-1999 retired associate

Bill, a wonderful blog. Thanks for sharing their heroism. My wife and I have met others in the Marriott organization who are no less heros at least in our minds.

Wow - did not realize what had been happening in Bangkok and how it affected Marriott associates. Thanks for sharing their story.

We think all of the wonderful employees are very dedicated and we only visit Marriott brand hotels