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Marriott International Helps Our Heroes

Leading lodging company’s programs help veterans become associates and business partners.

At Marriott International, the “Spirit To Serve” philosophy is deeply rooted in the fabric of the company’s culture. From reaching out to veteran suppliers to programs for veteran job seekers, Marriott is demonstrating how it is supporting American heroes through a number of programs it has developed and supported to lend a hand to our military.

In 1997, Marriott was the first company in the hotel industry to establish a formal supplier diversity program. The company’s commitment to this program includes providing opportunities to people, including veterans who own small businesses and sell their goods and services to Marriott. The company is also a partner with the National Veteran-Owned Business Association.

Through fundraising and in-kind support, Marriott and its associates and hotels help the United Service Organization’s Operation Enduring Care, which raises funds to help wounded, ill and injured troops and their families and caregivers restore their lives. They have access to two warrior and family centers, one at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., scheduled to open in spring 2014 and one in Fort Belvoir, Va., which opened earlier this year.

The warrior and family centers feature an abundance of recreational space, quiet areas for relaxation, a state-of-the-art learning center where guests can take online courses and plan their post-military careers, and a sprawling healing garden located just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows of the centers where visitors can reflect and even work through simple physical rehabilitation tasks. Guests visiting the Fort Belvoir garden will enjoy beautiful trees planted by Marriott’s Washington, D.C., Business Council. Since opening, the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir has hosted nearly 38,000 guests.

A Job-Seeking Resource

For those veterans seeking jobs, Marriott recently made it easier for them to find employment at its thousands of properties around the world. The new “Marriott, Where I Belong” campaign features active associates, including military veterans, and highlights the experience working for a company that is consistently recognized as the employer of choice around the globe.

“Spirit To Serve” is an important part of Marriott’s culture and echoes the values of the brave men and women in uniform.

Job seekers can access jobs and more information about the company through Marriott’s first mobile careers site or the redesigned “Marriott, Where I Belong” careers website. There is a special page on the site that focuses on the company’s efforts to welcome veterans as associates and features three associates who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Marriott’s Executive Chairman J.W. Bill Marriott Jr. served in the Navy as an officer.

“Spirit To Serve” is an important part of Marriott’s culture and echoes the values of the brave men and women in uniform. In 2012, Marriott began a partnership with the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program to promote the opportunity for veterans to franchise hotels through the program’s Operation Enduring Opportunity. Marriott announced its commitment to hire veterans to add to its growing corps of veteran associates.

“Hotels for Heroes”

Last year, Marriott was the first hotel company to agree to participate in the Fisher House Foundation’s Hotels for Heroes, a national program that will allow American citizens to donate their hotel reward points to wounded warriors and their families. “Hotels for Heroes” is modeled after the national “Hero Miles” program, which provides free round-trip airfare to wounded warriors traveling to receive care through the military health system, as well as to friends and family visiting them.
Rewards members who want to donate points can visit www.marriottrewards.com. Points can be redeemed for Hotel for Heroes Charitable Awards in the following denominations: 1,000; 5,000; 10,000 and 25,000 Marriott Rewards points. Since becoming part of the program, nearly 200 military heroes and their families have used more than 12 million points for Marriott property stays.

Other initiatives that Marriott offers military personnel include discounts at more than 3,800 hotels around the world and reduced golf rates through the Fairways Furloughs Military Golf program.

The company sincerely appreciates the dedication of our servicemen and women and the work they do to protect our freedom. Our purpose, as a company, is to provide a world of opportunity to our associates, customers, owners and guests. Marriott knows that veterans can make great associates and business partners and is honored to be able to offer support and opportunity to our military heroes and their families.

Apoorva Gandhi is vice president, multicultural markets and alliances for Marriott International, a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Md. with more than 3,800 properties in 72 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012. Find him at http://fransocial.franchise.org/Home/ via the directory.

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