How to Stay in Business, Say "Thanks"

October 29, 2013
Calling customers
At my desk calling customers

Back when my parents ran a root beer stand, all it took to show a customer appreciation for their business was a reach across the counter, a shake of their hand and a hearty “thank you.”

My Dad spent about 75 percent of his time out of the office, immersed in operations, and at least half of that time talking to customers. Over time, he built up a great following.  He also listened to so many suggestions for menu items that at one time Hot Shoppes served 250 items.

Today, we have millions of guests staying at our hotels every year, and it’s a little tougher to make that personal connection with a customer.

That’s why every year since 1993 we’ve set aside a few special days in the fall for Global Customer Appreciation. Don’t get me wrong — we should be thanking our guests every day — but I think it’s important that, as a company, we reflect and recognize that our customers are the reason we go to work every day.

From October 28 through November 1, it’s our chance to give back to those who choose Marriott.  Across the globe, our associates organize community service work, arrange visits to customers, and host grand events in our hotels.

For my part, I get to sit down every year and make personal phone calls. It’s my version of reaching across the counter for a hand shake. It’s always funny when the person at the other end of the phone doesn’t believe who I am.  

This year’s customer appreciation theme is “See the World in a whole new way.”  A lot’s been happening.  We introduced MOXY, imported AC Hotels to the U.S. and continue to expand Autograph.  Last year Gaylord Hotels joined the Marriott family of brands.  We have never been better positioned to host a wide range of customers — the next-gen traveler, the large group, the family vacation — and show them the world like no one else.

The depth and breadth of our brands is terrific.  It enables us to reach out to more customers than ever before.  As we continue to grow, it’s important to always thank your customers.  A personal touch goes an even longer way in this age of tweeting and texting.  Pick up the phone or grab a cup of coffee with a customer.  It builds personal bonds that hopefully lead to repeat business.

How often do you say “Thank You” to a customer? 

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


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I recently stayed at the JW Marriott on Post Street in San Francisco and I would like to commend two of your employees who went out of their way to make our stay that much better. Their names are Kyle Dorley and Jason Wright. These two individuals and the rest of your employees at this hotel were excellent and I would definitely stay here again!

My name is Jean Wiles and I wanted to write you a personal letter regarding the outstanding service we received at the BWI Marriott. My husband and I and about 40 guests all stayed at the hotel to celebrate our son's wedding that was held in Columbia, Md on April 11, 2015. I am in the process of writing to the Director and General Managers of the BWI Marriott to commend the actions of the Event Manager, Ms. Catrena T. Townes and everyone we came in contact with during the course of the weekend. Everything that could have gone wrong - did! but the "hiccups" as she called them - were all resolved immediately and more than to our satisfaction. With a wedding of nearly 200 and being from out of town - (we live in GA), this could have been and extremely nerve racking experience, instead, Ms Townes and every member of the staff that we interacted with could not have been nicer. We are frequent travelers (both here and abroad) and are owners of several weeks in the Vacation Club so we have come to expect excellent service and accommodations - this went beyond the norm. We believe it begins at the top so kudos to you and please keep doing whatever it is you are doing - it's working!!!!!!

A shout-out to Efrain Bones at the Residence Inn in Lombard, IL. Great employee, the right attitude, a good representative for your company. Nice to see someone go the extra mile for a client.

I just stayed at the Marriott Fairfield in Austin. I needed to stop and take some time to commend your general manager Jeremy Sherman. He is always out front making sure all our needs are met and always with a smile. Great customer service

That's true.Treat others as you would like to be treated. That is good not onle in business, but also in a real life. Thank you, Mr.Marriott!

Customer Appreciation is a very important element for boosting a business and valued customers always return to those who give respect and care to their esteemed clientele.

Hi Mr. Marriott,

My name is Opal Hunt and I work at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Lancaster, Pa. Recently, we had a celebration for the RALLY AROUND 85. Thank you so much for sending the party things, the certificate and the gift cards! I appreciate it very much! I love my job and working at a Marriott hotel.

Gratefully yours,
Opal A. Hunt
Outstanding GSR

P.S. I collect pins and LOVE my Fairfield Inn pin!

We would like to commend Mr. Adam Lutz, manager of the Marriott Suites, San Diego, CA, on Pacific Highway, Our stay there was outstanding beginning with his most capable and helpful staff. Our accommodations were wonderful and the breakfasts were delicious and like nothing we have ever experienced staying at a hotel. Evening activities and food were great.

I traveled to San Diego each year for pleasure and always stayed at a hotel on Hotel Circle. Your facilities, manager and his staff far surpassed the other facility.

You can be sure in our future travels we will book at Marriott Suites under the management of Mr. Adam Lutz.

Karen L. Klapperich

Always enjoy my stay at Marriott. Never a bad experience.

Dear Mr. Marriott,

I have been working for Cebu City Marriott Hotel for almost 4 months now. Each day of my work since my first day as the Director of Sales and Marketing in our hotel has been filled with so much dynamism in interface with our guests, motivating my team, immersing myself with operations and taking time to study or get ample training.

As I devout myself in all these, every experience has equipped me with the knowledge and value that made me better aligned with the Marriott brand.

When I started I had hesitations if my real personality will ever fit in this hospitality industry, knowing that I opt to be always straightforward. But each day of learning the Marriott ways made me realize that it is alright to be candid and natural for as long as you have the desire to provide genuine care and making each guest feel valued and special is always top of mind.

Now as I continue my journey, I never stop to thank God for this opportunity to be a part of a wonderful Marriott family. I will live the corporate values that Marriott upholds in my work and in my personal life. In our property, I am a strong advocate of living the promise of excellent service.

As me and my team, thank our dear clients for staying loyal with us, allow me to thank you and your parents for starting these all. The opportunity for us Brilliant Hosts and the one of a kind travel experience for our guests.

Mr. Marriott, thank you for your leadership:-)

Mr. Marriott,

You are the epitome of nice. I enjoy your blogs and I read them often.

I have stayed at the Marriott Hotels many times and I will have to say that I have always had great service from the employees. I especially like the new design of the Courtyard Inn.

Thank you.

Teresa Duckworth

Calling our customers or to say "Thank you" is an brilliant idea. Marriott's commitment to pursue excellence that fine tunes (taking action and following up). Understanding the intrendsic sense of quality and core value of excellent service, truly helps us to sustain, retain and achieve more customers. Our guests appreciate that we still think about them after their stay at our hotel. It makes our guests feel we are family and we do care.

Bobby Glover
Chicago Downtown Mag Mile

Being both a customer and a supplier, I know how important it is, as Mr. Marriott says, to just say "Thank You." When I receive a thank you, I appreciate it. For our company's customer partners, I like to shake their hands and truly thank them for their business and business partnership. Great advice for all!

Few companies "thank" people for their business. Perhaps newer corporate management teams think it's beneath them. Way to go Bill.

Dear Mr. Marriott - I could not agree with you more, in fact, I really need to share with you what happened at my event at your property JW Marriott Hill Country Texas. You and your wonderful staff hosted us from Oct 11 - 14, 2013, we invited 3,600+ of our guests to our event, your staff at the hotel was professional, kind, helpful, but most of all pleasant. Your staff pulled out all of the stops, every morning along side of my employees were your staff greeting our clients, helping get them to their destination, whether it was to breakfast, lunch or a session. I at one point stood next to your Director of Accounting, who was greeting our customers as they arrived from our twelve over-flow hotel on the River Walk. All in suits, smiles on their faces going above and beyond. I would be remiss if I did not mention both Vicki Porter and Howard Jacobsen made sure not only our clients were happy but were also safe and dry, at one point in time, they were in the rain greeting our clients, Howard was soaking wet, but still held on to the smiles and greeting people, I am sure he was cold, uncomfortable in a wet suit, but did not complain. Your whole employee base at that property was great. Every morning greeted me in the war room at 5am with smiles and coffee! Thank you and your employees for making our event such a success! Lynne

Mr. Marriott,
I just want to thank you for building such a wonderful "home away from home" for the traveler. I always put my trust in the Marriott brand and I am rarely disappointed! I had a wonderful experience this past summer while volunteering for the US Open in Marion PA. I stayed at the Residence Inn and from the moment I walked to the desk to check in I was greeted with a friendly hello and a willingness to help from the Associates. Even though there were famous golfers staying there I felt I was treated with the same respect and eagerness to help from all the staff and for that I am I felt like a VIP and was treated like one even as I stood in the shadow of some of the worlds number one golfers. The staff you could tell were trained to meet everyone's needs unconditionally! I am sure that is the way they are trained and if they do not have that passion for service of people first.....they do not work for Marriott.
I have had the privilege of being a teacher of children with differing abilities (special needs) for 35 years and I have been blessed to work with so many wonderful children and their families. Mr. Marriott when the children move on I also take time to thank the families for sharing and trusting their children to me. I learn something from every child that will help another one someday and that experience is priceless. I am sure that experiences with different guest build experience for your staff that help the next one. So in many ways both guest and associate benefit.
Looking forward to next year volunteering for the 2014 US Open in Pinehurst NC both weeks Men and Women's unfortunately there are no Marriott rooms to be had (insert sad face). But I will find something.
So Mr. Marriott I thank you for always believing in your Fathers mission. He would be so proud of you today...I have never met you but am proud to know that when I share my thoughts....they will mean something to you and the Marriott Brand. Make a good day and peace be with you. Debbie Ahrns