If you’re going to stay on top of your game, you’ve got to keep growing, but you must grow responsibly. In our industry, we either grow by opening new hotels or attract existing properties. Our development team is always analyzing potential partnerships. A few years ago, we joined forces with AC Hotels in Europe. Before that, it was the acquisition of Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance. And now Gaylord Entertainment.
Why Gaylord? Gaylord obviously has some terrific properties. They really are mini-cities, they’re so big.
There’s the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. And with it comes the General Jackson Showboat and the Wildhorse Saloon. I have a soft place in my heart for country western music. It’s part of our company heritage. My dad was good friends with Roy Rogers, and we developed the Roy Roger’s restaurant chain many years ago. (Below is a video clip of my visit to Gaylord National and Shrek greeting me.)
Adding the Gaylord properties to our system raises the bar substantially. Each of their hotels is geographically diverse and delivers on the “everything in one place” concept. For us, it also adds a lot of revenue, especially from large group bookings. We are recognized as the leader in the big convention and group business. And this Gaylord addition gives us more product to sell to our major convention customers.
Gaylord hotels are masters of creating magical experiences for their guests, especially around the holiday season at Christmas time when group business is particularly slow.
Gaylord DreamWorks Animation characters like Shrek walk around the hotel … guests can slide down 20-foot slides made entirely of ice. And, if you haven't seen it snow indoors … you’re in for a real treat. Great family fun. I can’t wait to take my grandkids.Gaylord will benefit too. They’ll gain access to our Marriott Rewards customers worldwide, as well as our distribution channels and sales engines. For guests, everything they love about Gaylord properties will remain the same, as both our companies combine our expertise and our imaginations to deliver the best guest experience possible.
So, welcome, Gaylord, to the Marriott family of brands. You’ll fit right in. We’re excited about working with you.
I’m Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the move.