I’m proud to say we’re making history with the simple, cotton hotel towel.
Marriott International has found a way to have the towels and bath mats for our U.S. hotels produced in the USA - with cotton grown in the USA. We signed a long-term agreement with Standard Textile to purchase towels for our nearly 3,000 U.S. hotels.
I had the opportunity to see production in action when I visited two of Standard Textile’s manufacturing plants… One in Thomaston, Ga., and the other in Union, S.C. The teams there are excited about this new relationship. They’ve been busy keeping up with the demand—an annual production of nearly three million bath towels and five million hand towels. I could feel the energy there… people taking pride in their efforts to create a quality product for our customers.
I was also impressed with Standard Textile's CEO Gary Heiman. His associates all wear red uniform shirts with the word "Innovation" on the back. The leading edge technology I saw in these plants is a result of successful motivation at its best.
Once most of our hotels switch to the new towels in the next two years, you’ll see tags with “Made in USA” on our towels and bath mats across all of our brands. Each, of course, will be a bit different since our towel items always meet specific brand standards.
We know towels are very important to our guests, which is why we spend a great deal of time thinking about them. We think our customers will appreciate knowing that an item they use every day in our hotels represents progress for the U.S. economy as well as for the environment.
By producing these textiles here in the U.S. instead of overseas, we’ll eliminate 300 ocean-going container shipments annually, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Standard Textile uses cutting-edge machinery and special processes that reduce water consumption. Marriott hasn’t sourced 100% of guestroom towels from U.S. makers since the 1990s, when U.S. manufacturing began to fade away.
As a global company, it makes sense to do business this way in other parts of the world and we’ll continue to look for new opportunities.
We think that both customers AND employees who see the “Made in USA” tag on our towels and bath mats will feel proud. And that’s very important to me.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.