Chapter 4. Trust Must Be Earned


Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.

 --Ralph Waldo Emerson

International hotels are beset by nearly every kind of emergency you can imagine. Few businesses share that unfortunate distinction, and fewer still are called to deal with the list of natural and unnatural disasters that we have faced in recent years. From hurricanes and tsunamis to earthquakes and terrorist bombings, we've seen them all. Some disasters were more difficult to handle than others, but all presented the chance to win and keep the trust of our customers, business partners, and employees.

I'll never forget that first horrific bombing in August 2003 of the JW Marriott in Jakarta, Indonesia. An early-morning phone call woke me at home, and the moment I heard the voice of Alan Orlob, our vice president of international security, I knew we were in trouble. Hearing Alan's voice at an odd hour evokes a Pavlovian response in me. But the emergency Alan went on to relate was like none I had ever encountered. The driver of a truck full of explosives had blown it to bits after being stopped by our security people just outside the hotel's lobby. As it was later determined, 12 people died and some 150 were injured.

We immediately went into crisis mode. Our first concern was for our guests and employees, and we needed to be sure we had a complete listing of their names and locations. Our second concern was for the hotel's owner and ...

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