There’s a Chinese proverb, “Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.” China is full of people who “go see” … people who travel and explore the world. Today, the Chinese are leading the golden age of travel.
When we opened our first hotel in China in 1979 I never dreamed the demand for our hotels would be so high that today we would be opening one hotel a week in that region. Our company’s core values match well with the Chinese culture. As my parents taught me, if you take care of your associates, they will take care of the guest and those guests will keep coming back. That has certainly been the case in Asia.
In 2013 I published my second book “Without Reservations: How a Family Root Beer Stand Grew into a Global Hotel Company.” And, today, I am honored that my book was recently published in simplified Chinese.
It’s a great story of how a young couple’s humble beginnings have grown to become the world’s favorite travel company. It’s a story that any culture can relate to—rolling up your sleeves to get the job done, pursuing excellence every step of the way.
China is key to our development in Asia. But we’re not just about the business. We’re about building the hospitality industry into one of the most prestigious in Asia. Through programs like the China Hospitality Education Initiative and the Marriott Apprentice Program, we are teaching young people how to lead teams, develop hotels and become the next generation of business leaders.
We are committed to the Women in Leadership Conference, which empowers professional Asian women. And we are working with Yao Foundation and Project Hope to build schools for children in rural areas. In fact, part of the proceeds of the Chinese-simplified version of my book will be donated to Yao Foundation.
China isn’t just a “market” to us. It is a land of explorers where we feel right at home. My family’s company has found another home in Asia and now, so does “Without Reservations.”
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.