Looking back at where we’ve come from – a small root beer stand started in 1927 – has always been an important part of our company’s culture. You can’t look forward until you appreciate where you’ve come from. Ask any Marriott associate and they’ll tell you about how my parents moved to Washington, D.C., with a dream to provide good food and good service at a fair price.
My parents knew they needed the help of loyal and hard-working associates to help them realize that dream. From the start of our company, my father always said, “take good care of our associates and they’ll take good care of the guests.”
I came across an old Reader’s Digest in our archives that had a feature story about my father in 1972. The author wrote, “There is an aura of certainty among employees that it is, deserves to be and will ever remain number one in its field. This mystique is rooted in the warm personality and sensibly unselfish instincts that have always guided the man in whose image the company is cast.”
The article goes on to recap all the ways my father treated his associates well. From employee stock purchase and profit sharing plans, to tuition reimbursement and training programs—my father’s perspective on “enlightened capitalism” was one to be aspired to in 1972. He was indeed blazing the trail for what is now commonplace in Fortune 500 companies.
I couldn’t be prouder of my father and his legacy of treating his employees with respect and fairness. It’s our competitive advantage. His concern of treating his employees honorably has served us well in our company history. It’s why we’ve been so successful and why our future is bright.
In 1972 we had 18 hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Mexico. Now, we have 4,400 properties worldwide. I know we could not have gotten to this point without the core value of putting people first.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.