Thoughts on My Birthday

March 28, 2019
JWM Jr and Debbie laughing by birthday cake March2018_500x400
Celebrating my 86th birthday with my daughter, Debbie Harrison.

I turned 87 years old this week and I have to say, I feel great.

I spent the day, as I always do, with my family at Camelback Inn in Arizona. We’ve been going there for more than 50 years. I have 21 great-grandchildren now, ranging in age from 2 weeks to 12 years old. Eighteen of them were able to attend. We were all dancing and singing and having fun. It was a real thrill to be part of it. Family is really what life is about.

Of course, as I reach this milestone, I can’t help but look back at my 60-plus-year career. I am truly grateful for the success of Marriott International. There are more than 700,000 people around the world who wear a Marriott name badge today and if you think about it, we’ve hired millions of people in our 92-year history, providing opportunities for advancement for them and their families. That’s a real source of pleasure for me.

People ask me all the time what leadership advice I have for the next generation. I would say surround yourself with good people. Do the best that you can. And don’t study things to death. Move ahead and make a decision. Don’t take months and years to develop a perfect solution.

I’d also argue that while technology has become a huge part of all of our lives, nothing beats a clean, fresh room. Take care of the basics. It all comes down to taking care of the customer. I continue to run into guests who have frequented the same hotel for 10 or 20 years all because of the people who work there. My parents, J.W. and Alice Marriott, started our people-first culture when they first opened their doors as a root beer stand back in 1927. My dad would tell me almost daily: Take care of our employees and they will take care of our guests and our guests will keep coming back. Nine decades later, that is still our philosophy.

So, what is the secret to longevity? Don’t ask me. I try to walk on the treadmill five days a week. But I eat all the wrong things – too much beef and too many desserts.

I can’t help it. I grew up in the Hot Shoppes, my family’s restaurant business. I ate cheese burgers and drank chocolate shakes practically every day.

It’s hard to give that up. 

But as I’ve often said, success is never final.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Amazing and inspiring story!
For me the secret to longevity is happiness.
Happiness is doing what you love and being surrounded by people you love :)

Happy Birthday Bill! Still going strong!
Love the BONVoY program.
Thank you very much.
Bob Braun
Director, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Retired

Happy Birthday, I love that philosophy:)


Love your comment 'success is never final'...., and the fact that your still going strong at the ripe old age of 87! Huge congrats, and happy belated birthday!

Inspiration to all...

Steve Cooper
Founder of Hebedrinks and a Marriott 'super fan'!

Happy belated birthday Mr. Marriott.

It is a great pleasure to be one of the 700,000 team members of the Marriott family. The story of your family is very inspiring, and I hope one day I can also make a great success in my career.

Take care.

Just wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday, Mr. Marriott! Although these wishes are belated in writing, I have remembered and thought about you on your birthday since the first day I started working at Marriott in Bethesda in 1969. The ten years I worked with you and Mr. Marriott, Sr. were the most enjoyable and rewarding in my working career. Hope to see you again one day. All the best to you and Donna!

Happy belated birthday Mr. Marriott! Always wanted to meet you. I am a loyal Marriott business traveler for almost 35 years now. One year away from lifetime Titanium.

My girlfriend works for the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix and she got to wish you happy birthday when you came in with your wife to get her hair done. Kate Whitman has been one of your loyal employees for close to 25 years now. We love Marriott and the people that make it great. Hope to see you sometime. Regards,

John "Chris" Powers

Very interesting,good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.
your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it.You’re doing a great job.Keep it up.

I have been a loyal Marriott customer for over 50 years and a proud JW Marriott Camelback Inn Partner...
Bill Marriott exemplifies not only Great Corporate Leadership but Great Family Values. The Marriott name starting with J.W and Alice Marriott is symbolic of Class, Faith and Service. How proud they must be of their Son Bill and the entire Marriott family.

Jim Velghe
CEO/ Work Dynamics, Inc.
Semper Fe

Dear Mr. Marriott
Thank you for sharing your history & your family's love & respect of travelers worldwide - your birthday reflection is a positive gift to travelers! Belated best wishes! I hope you and your family had a marvelous time in Arizona! A beautiful state!

As a guest, I have been grateful to be able to stay at the former SPG location, Le Meridien in Montreal, CANADA. Staff here has always been extraordinary and I am hopeful the tradition continues under the Marriott brand name.

As a guest over the last 5 years, I feel happy & fortunate to know and recognize many staff. For me personally, the staff has been a bit like a home away from home. I am thankful this tradition will continue under the Marriott family brand.

I hope you have indeed visited or will visit this marvelous location in the heart of French Canada!

Best wishes,

Juliet Fullerton

Happy Birthday Mr Marriott. The Camal Back Inn is my favorite Marriott. My husband and I are headed to Arizona this week so looking forward to relaxing. When I walk in the door I feel like I am home. So perfect.!

A Belated 87th Birthday! My parents are both 91 and still doing great. Glad to hear that you are too! Deserts are one of the good things in life. Glad that you are still enjoying them!

Best Wishes, Celebrate and Cheers!!!