Giving Small Business a Helping Hand

September 29, 2010

Snagit1 It’s been often repeated that small business is the engine that drives the U.S. economy. President Obama has said it and so have Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan before him.

Not unlike a lot of entrepreneurs, my parents started their company as a very small business with big ideas for the future.  When they opened a nine-stool A&W root beer stand in Washington 83 years ago, they believed they were on to something good. Over the years, their small business grew larger and larger and now we’re listed as one of the Fortune 500.

The road to success, however, was not always easy, as many small businesses today know far too well. My parents’ drive and fierce entrepreneurial spirits helped them get through incredibly difficult times, including the Great Depression.

I know what a hard time my parents had when they opened their second restaurant, which was the first drive in restaurant east of the Mississippi. They didn’t have enough money to pave the parking lot so they got cinders from the garbage collection company and put them on the lot so people would not get stuck in the mud. And they built their little restaurant out of ply wood and other pieces of wood that they could find. It was really a cheap deal but it was successful because the food and service were great.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a repeat of the Great Depression but in today’s difficult economic times; just about every small business needs a boost.

One of our brands, Fairfield Inn & Suites, just launched the Small Business Road to Success Challenge. They’re giving 10 small business owners free stays at Fairfield Inn & Suites over the next three months. They’ll travel around the country, stay in their hotels and we’ll help them grow their businesses and compete to win a grand prize of $20,000. You can follow along as they blog and tweet from the road about their progress at Who knows, maybe one of these finalists will be the next Bill Gates or Bill Marriott, Sr.

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

Giving Small Business a Helping Hand

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It's always nice to hear this big companies helping small business entrepreneurs. Keep it up Mr. Marriot. Gret Job!

Mr. Marriott--

Brendan Ben Feeney here. I've been on the go since my Stay at the Renaissance Stanford Court in San Francisco. Many thanks for your personal assistant for acknowledging my letter to the manager and staff of your California Street iconic property. How kind of you to respond.

Yes. It is true. Marriott does an excellent job using local vendors. A case in point. At the Renaissance on Nob Hill San Francisco, the hotel purchses coffee from a local San Francisco company. I praise Marriott for working with local merchants. This also gives one the "local flavor" of the area.
I'm a off the your Stamford, CT Marriott for business. This will be over 5 stays there in a short period. Marriott. My home away from home. Silver Rewards Member. Brendan Ben Feeney

Good Morning Mr. Marriott, and best wishes for a prosperous New Year. We are looking forward to many Marriott stays over the next few years. Bon Vivant.

Dear Mr. Marriott,

I have been a teacher for the past 15 years teaching pre-school age children. This is a critical age because 90% of a child's brain is developed in the first 5 years of life. This window of opportunity is important to lay a solid foundation by helping a child develop the skills necessary to enter Kindergarten.
So, after much debate, I left my position and created Learning Activity Books and educational DVD's to educate children 2-6 years of age. It is difficult to break into the market especially during these hard economic times. We are in some stores but are trying to get into more stores. What advice would you give to an entrepreneur in this difficult economy?

Beth Costanzo M Ed.
The Adventures of Scuba Jack

Kudos to the staff of TownePlace Suites on Centennial Blvd in Colorado Springs. My husband and I had a personal incident that was terribly painful but Lindsay, Shawna, Rosemary and the two gentlemen maintenance workers went above and beyond, in my opinion, to help us out. Their kindness and quick thinking was so heartwarming and so helpful in such a stressful time. They deserve much praise for the hospitality and wonderful customer service they showed us. Marriott always delivers, but this was above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you Lindsay, Shawna and Rosemary! We will never forget all your kindness

Dear Mr. Marriott:
I have had the pleasure of using your properties over 30 years. I have numerous fond memories from my rehearsal dinner in Dallas, TX till today staying at the Plantation Courtyard in Plantation FL. My stay here has been exceptional due to a young man at the Front Desk. His name is Michael **********. He continues to go the extra mile for me and other guests I have observed while drinking my morning coffee. He exemplifies all that is wonderful about Marriott International. I will return to this property next February for a weeks stay. I am a PhD student at NOVA Southeastern Univ. I will pass along to them as well how wonderful I have been treated!

As both a customer and stock holder of Marriott International, I would like to thank you for keeping your eyes to the future just as your parents did. I just returned from the Ritz property in Kapalua and it was everything I have come to expect from Marriott. The vacation propeties are outstanding as well, and poise the company to take advantage of the eventual recovery in the economy. Job well done!

Bill Marriott always seems to do the right thing and to do it with a certain amount of class that others don't quite achieve. Thank you!
the autistic market is growing-we need more awareness and help

As a small business owner/traveler who has to pay for his hotel expenses and not just expense them away, I find the Marriott process very frustrating and difficult to really help out small business owners. There are significant numbers of promo codes that can save hundreds of dollars on a trip but to find these deals you have to spend days worth of time to explore. I would expect more out of rewards program to a platinum member with more than 16 years of membership. I feel like anyone else off the street can get the same deals I can and the dedicated platinum line just looks up the same rates I can do online. To really help small business owners and platinum members, why don't you send us promotions for selected cities and dates of travel?

Mr. Marriott,

It's good to know that you are actually helping small businesses. They are the single most important thing for this country right now; the very blood line of U.S' economy.



Mr. Bill Marriott-
I nominate you for the reward for excellance.While,I've had my ups and downs,it's alwys ended on a UP!
My best to you serve on the SPRIT TO SERVE,and all you do for the very fine organization-of which you are a part.
Best-george stacey

Glad to see your commitment to helping small businesses. I started a small business and hope to hold a full-day small business seminar at The Mayflower Renaissance on Saturday, January 8, 2011 for small and mid-size business owners. The event is free to attendees.

I am eagerly waiting to hear if Marriott will agree to be a sponsor for the event by donating the meeting space and, perhaps, food. Beyond the sponsorship, I would really love to have Marriott's Chief Privacy Officer speak at the conference to the importance of and best practices surrounding consumer privacy. Thanks for your consideration. God Bless.

Dear Mr Marriott,
As a small business owner, I appreciate doing business with other family owners. Your business and family of hotels is terrific. One of my concerns is that your company gives a significant break on rates for larger companies and the small guy is actually paying the larger portion of the bill. Your thoughts on working with small business owners in a way to make it a special corporate for us?


Tim Vander Wall

Mr. Marriott,
What a great initiative! It really speaks to the fact that you continue to remember and honor your roots. You remember where you came from and what it took to get to where you are now. You understand that others may be going through the same situation as your parents when they first started out and you have made the commitment to help pave their way. Your actions should be applauded. Many times when people become successful, they have a tendency to forget their struggles, much less help those who might be going through the same thing they once did. You truly are an enlightened entrepreneur.

If Marriott believed in helping the helping the small business person....try making the website and customer support more user friendly so that we do not waste so much of our time trying to get information, that is readily available at all other airline, car rental and hotel sites

Dear Mr. Marriot,
I was so disappointed to learn that the roof top Merlot restaurant in Ottawa is only going to cater to special events beginning November 1. I still think of it as "La Ronde". This revolving restaurant has been an Ottawa icon for decades and many people like myself consider it a very special place to celebrate milestones or to just enjoy an elegant and special outing. I really hope you will try to amend your plans in some way so that small groups of families, friends and colleagues can continue to celebrate life's events together in this beautiful venue, at least from time to time. I treated my friend to breakfast there this morning to celebrate her retirement and it was just lovely. When I left, I thought how sorry I will be to see this door closed to me after 30 years of enjoying such a unique and special place.

You're "Doing the Right Thing". Thanks.

Dear Mr. Marriott,
I enjoy speech that you gave me a insight of true success of being a business. giving me great ideal being a great new business owner.

Thank you for always being a great human being and reminding us that where we will stand in the future is determined on the ground we step on today. Our nation's small businesses' grounds will be as solid as a diamond, as long as they keep the human element in mind.

Dear Mr. Marriot
You have a great chain of hotels, reaching excellence at each step.
I feel at home when I go to a Marriot Hotel
Ing. Oscar A. Mignone

It's all about the spirit to serve and you do it so well. Thanks Mr.Marriott for relating the simple truths which lie behind successful people. We all have much to gain from your insightful blog. Keep on movin. Fred.

AND I THINK YOU HAVE IT ALL SIR... GOOD ON YOU because you willing to share to others. GBU.

What a great day to read your motivational insights.

Today the State of Pa. her Senate passed a small business bill for veterans. Since your a Navy man you'll know our advocacy to remove the politics and cascade the veteran potentials is great medicine in these transitional vet movements.

I have seen former homeless veterans become homeowners and then small business owners, I have seen women veterans become the CEO of a company having found their wellness cascade. As an advocate for small business I still reflect on your research in co- partnerships with the Culinary Inst of America on winning and keeping customers. A great read. A defining business plan is a plan where small business can and will re-start. So as I say "win-win is to hire a vet, better yet invest in a vet", and they will excite their communities business plans and share the potentials for the all.
Jim White-Pittsburgh Vet Mentor.

Ms Juliette Adams' eloquence is only matched with the noble intention of Mr. Marriott.
"les grands esprits se rencontrent"