I was recently in Puerto Rico and had the opportunity to meet with the governor, Luis Fortuño. He really understands the immense value the travel and tourism industry brings to his country. Back in the 1990s, Governor Fortuño served as the first Secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and, also, the President of Puerto Rico’s Hotel Development Corporation.
And in his current role, Governor Fortuño is calling on his past experience to position Puerto Rico as an inviting destination that offers wonderful hotels for corporate, group and leisure guests to create an economic stimulus for the island. Thanks to his commitment to travel and tourism, Puerto Rico is becoming one of the leading Caribbean destinations for upscale and luxury hotels.
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About every March, I head to Camelback Inn, our Marriott resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a vacation with my family. It’s usually spring break for the kids and I celebrate my birthday there and have every year since 1967. I’ve been going to Camelback since I was 16 and love that part of the world.
One thing that we really enjoy while we’re there is going to the spa. For many, getting a massage is an incredibly relaxing and mind clearing activity. In addition to the spa at Camelback, we manage 169 other spas worldwide and we have more than 90 new spas in our pipeline. Spas are really becoming a major part of our business.
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I recently visited our two newest JW Marriott hotels in Chicago and Indianapolis. The JW Marriott brand is one of our fastest growing. We now have 51 hotels and will be opening new hotels in India; Cannes, France and the Maldives this year.
Not only is this a great brand, but I am proud that we are creating jobs in the community. Between the two hotels, we have hired 1,100 people and will generate millions of dollars annually in tax revenue.
These two beautiful hotels are very different from each other, but they both offer a warm, authentic and relaxed guest experience that’s unique in the luxury segment.
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A few months ago, I mentioned a great contest our Fairfield Inn & Suites brand was doing called “The Small Business Challenge.” The owners of ten small businesses stayed for free at our Fairfield Inn & Suites hotels as they traveled around the country, trying to grow their businesses and competing for a grand prize of $20,000.
I really like this promotion as my father was an entrepreneur and without his spirit of innovation, taking risks and tremendous determination, Marriott wouldn’t be here today. So, I have a great amount of admiration and respect for people who start a business from the ground up.
Continue reading "Congratulating the Fairfield Inn & Suites Small Business Challenge Winner: ecycler" »
Winston Churchill, one of my heroes, once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.” It certainly describes the challenge our Marriott associates have faced over the past several weeks, as Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and other countries in the region have experienced a great deal of political turmoil and unrest. Marriott has quite a large presence in that part of the world with 30 hotels across many brands. The safety and well being of our guests and associates is always our number one concern.
In Libya, our brand new JW Marriott hotel in Tripoli opened for business just as the disturbances began. As we reviewed the options, we realized we needed to evacuate the few guests who were in the hotel, as well as our 185 associates who had come to Tripoli in pursuit of new careers with Marriott. The evacuation was coordinated by our regional crisis team and operations team, headed up by Mark Satterfield. It was a complicated operation with special bus convoys and a charter Airbus 310 airplane. We all breathed a sigh of relief as they took off from Tripoli airport and landed safely in Jordan, to return to their home countries and their families.
Continue reading "Our Culture Sustains Us Through Challenging Times" »
Ed Fuller, our president and managing director of international lodging, knows first hand that you can’t lead with your feet on the desk. You’ve got to get those boots on the ground, as Ed says, and I agree with him. Ed has shown that by just returning from Egypt where we have seven hotels. When the recent civil unrest unfolded, he knew there was no substitute for being there in person to help our hotel owners and associates through this very difficult, challenging time.
Ed has just written a new book called — what else? — You Can’t Lead With Your Feet on the Desk. Among the many great management tips he shares are three that I recommend to you:
One: to respect is to inspire. The hotel business is all about service, which means it’s all about motivating our frontline people. We can see to it that you get a comfortable bed, but if the person at the front desk hasn’t made you feel very, very welcome, the bed won’t feel great. A salary won’t motivate people to deliver service; they need to believe that they will rise through the organization and find new opportunities if they really take care of our customers. The respect we show our people through a policy that “promotes from within” pays dividends in the experience that our guests enjoy.
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