Marriott's 'Spirit to Serve' is in Good Hands

April 14, 2014

25K hrs of community service

When I was a boy and young man, community service was of little or no interest to me.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps I considered my Naval service career enough.  No one had even thought of recycling or wearing a seat belt for that matter.  We had sacrificed during the war.

Now, I’m noticing a growing importance for serving our communities around the world, particularly among today’s young people – the Gen X and Y’s.  Marriott’s college recruiters report and our new hires want to work for a socially responsible company. 


It really hit home for me when students at the BYU Marriott School of Management – for its 25th anniversary – launched a “Spirit to Serve” community service campaign named after ours at Marriott International. “Studying” and “volunteering” were two activities I never considered doing together in college. Today’s generation thinks otherwise. Good for them.

The BYU goal is impressive.  At the entrance to the school, stands a large lucite-shaped “M.” Inside, blue tennis balls mark the progress. The goal is to fill it up and reach 25,000 hours of community service.  Each ball equals one hour. It’s a great visual reminder.  But more than that, it’s a wonderful tribute to our company’s culture of service.  

I’ve learned a lot by volunteering. I don’t cook a lot, but I did for DC Central Kitchen.  At the Atlanta Food Bank, bagging groceries was tricky for me.  At a Habitat for Humanity build, I was pretty good at tossing some loose rocks out of the way and hammering.  I ran with the torch-in-hand to kick-off our yearly Children’s Miracle Network activities.

It’s nice to know that Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve” will be in good hands with this giving-back next generation. I’m passing the torch, may it shine brightly.

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

P.S.  Since recording this blog, the school reached its goal of 25,000 hours of service and the "Big M" is filled with tennis balls.  Congratulations!  

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I am sitting at a coffee shop reading this and I feel like....amazing. I am thankful everyday for I am a Marriott. Being part of the team makes me even happier. It's the best thing I've ever had.

I wish my hotel would do these kind of events more must be such a great feeling to help a community or even anyone...

Comment on our experience with one of your Front Desk Associates in the Residence Inn 1015 Montecito Drive, Corona, CA 92879 USA on the night of April 21st 2014:

I want your Executive team to recognize Kelly, your Front Desk Clerk working the night shift, for her outstanding customer service. My family has been staying at the RI for several weeks because of a home flood and times have been challenging to say the least. We returned to the RI after a difficult day and found out that our card key would not open our room (#329) door. My wife and I were given three sets of new card keys but none was able to open the door. Kelly even used her master key but the locking mechanism was not even active (no lights). She escalated the incident to her manager and she proceeded to disassemble the door lock to replace the batteries and rest it. Even that did not fix the problem but she was gracious enough to move my family to another room. She made arrangements for the Maintenance Engineer to work on the door lock first thing tomorrow morning since all of our clean clothes are in our room.

Please make sure Kelly and her manager are recognized for their excellent customer service in a situation beyond their control. Normally I don't stay up at nearly 11:00pm to compliment someone but I did not want to let this opportunity to slip by me.

Dear Bill,

The Spirit to Serve is alive and well at the Marriott Stellaris Hotel in Aruba! This I can personally attest to. My wife and I just returned to Chicago from spending our 25th Anniversary at your resort in Aruba and as incredulous as it may seem, it wasn't the beauty of Aruba or the climate that lingers in our minds it is the way we were treated by the wonderful staff at your hotel.

My wife and I learned a very important lesson while on this trip and we have Marriott to thank. You see, we are small business owners and, as such, often wear many hats. What we learned from your staff is that doing little, seemingly insignificant (but unexpected) acts of kindness that add value to one's experience)leave lasting, positive experiences.

I'd like to explain. When we made our reservations, it was for a garden view room. A couple of days before departing, I called the Aruba Marriott to explain that my wife and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and I asked if there was any possibility of getting a room upgrade to surprise my wife. The person I spoke to immediately congratulated me and said that though they were completely booked they would see what they could do.
We arrived in Aruba late in the evening on April 5th. We were brought up to our room by a very congenial bellman who also was effusive in his praise of our wedding anniversary. When we walked out to our terrace we were so very pleasantly surprised and delighted by the most beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea with the gleam of the moon shining on the water. It's a scene we'll never forget.

But that's far from all. A couple of nights later we returned to our room after a late dinner to find the most beautiful flower arrangement, a bottle of champagne and strawberry cheesecake waiting for us to enjoy. And enjoy we did!! All of this was accompanied by a heartfelt note from the staff who makes up the rooms congratulating us yet again.

There was another evening when we had forgotten to lock our safe before going out. When we returned to our room there was a voice message (from the Loss and Prevention department) waiting for us,informing us that they had locked it for us but that we needed to call them to get it unlocked. This department, upon finding out we were celebrating our 25th, also surprised us with a bottle of wine and souvenirs of Aruba to take back home.

So, Bill, I tell you this to let you know that we will return to Marriott time and again because your staff went out of their way to make our anniversary celebration special. Just little things, true. But, I think, little things that exemplify what Marriott means when they say Spirit to Serve.

Thank you so much for the hospitality,

Ron Rescigno
708-974-2600, x105
Rescigno's Marketing Connections

The example of the Marriott family's and Marriott International's spirit to serve has inspired our students at the Marriott School. This morning the final tennis balls were loaded into the giant M near the entrance to our building. Bill, we are happy to report that we have achieved our goal of 25,000 hours of service, and we're even a little ahead of schedule. Thanks also to your parents, your brother, Dick, and the entire Marriott family for all you have done to strengthen the Marriott School. We love the name of our school. In a November 10, 1998 Devotional address, President Gordon B. Hinckley urged the students of Brigham Young University "to stand a little taller, to rise a little higher, to be a little better." Your family's spirit of giving and service demonstrates you have taken President Hinckley's urging to heart, and raises the bar for everyone affiliated with the Marriott School. Thank you for your spirit to serve.