It's been a few weeks since I have been able to sit down and dedicate some time to the Fortune 500 Blog Project. However, over the past few days I've managed to find the time to piece together an entry about Marriott International (MAR), which is #203 on the list. Marriott, of course is the international hotel chain with close to 3,000 hotels within it's portfolio, the company brands include high end hotels like Ritz-Carlton to the more economical hotels like the Courtyard and Fairfield brands.
Stepping Into the Blogosphere
Just yesterday, Marriott's CEO, J. Williard Marriott, Jr. launched his blog, entitled "Marriott On The Move". It's aim is to be a communication device that Bill Marriott can use to express what he's doing with both the business and within his own personal life. The blog has only one entry, since yesterday was its first launch, but I actually found myself having a better opinion of Marriott after reading what Bill Marriott posted.
I have an idea now where Marriott as a business is going, they are planning to open their 3,000th hotel in 2007. I know now that Bill Marriott is on top of things technology wise and is striving to incorporate new features and services across all of Marriott. I also know that Marriott goes to over 250 of his hotels, personally. Had I not read the blog, I'd still think Bill Marriott was this "stuffy, old corporate CEO" who doesn't have a clue what his customers or employers really want, instead I know a lot more about him and the business, heck I even know he listens to Barack Obama podcasts on his own iPod.
This is the kind of communication the consumers love. People want and like to know what's going on with brands they feel they have a personal investment in, as well as the people attached to them. Investors like honesty, and customers want to know that companies really do care and are striving to improve products and services. Mr. Marriott's blog, with just one post covered a heck of a lot of that! It also made me look deeper into the company stock information, history and brands. It served its purpose - it created an interest and drove me to other areas of Marriott's site.
The Washington Post covered the launch of the blog in an article "An Old Dog Learns To Write A New Blog," in it they state:
"Marriott's entry into the blogosphere is another in a series of steps he has taken to keep his Bethesda company -- and himself -- relevant in the fast-changing hotel industry, which is adapting to a more urbane breed of traveler who communicates via the Internet and demands a sophisticated lodging experience. The hotel chain has updated its room furnishings and is retooling its lobbies as places for people to eat, drink, work and socialize."
Marriott, hadn't been a hotel I would first look at for a stay, but now, I'm more inclined to. Why? Although I'm not the "typical" hotel consumer, I perceive Marriott's blog in this way: The company CEO feels his company's customers are important enough to communicate with, through his own blog. Communication is the key! By the 50+ comments on his first blog entry, apparently I'm not alone in that thought.
For a full list of all the companies that have been researched so far, check out the Fortune 500 Blog Project. For the list of Fortune 500 blogs researched by Search Marketing Gurus, check out the Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review category.