This month, our company celebrates its 90th anniversary. In 1927, my parents drove east from Salt Lake City with a marriage license in one hand and an A&W franchise license in the other. They set their sights on Washington, D.C., and opened a nine-stool A&W root beer stand on May 20.
My parents had an incredible business sense—the hot and muggy capitol city was just the place to sell ice cold, refreshing root beer that summer. Soon the weather turned colder and they needed to change their strategy if they wanted to stay in business. My mother, who majored in Spanish in college, charmed the chef at the Mexican embassy and he taught her how to make hot tamales and chili. They added tamales, chili, hot dogs and burgers to the menu and called their little place The Hot Shoppe.
It’s that history of innovation and dedication to excellence that has informed everything we have done at Marriott since then. Of course fads, fashion, trends, and relationships continually change, but our focus on embracing change, putting people first, and pursuing excellence has never wavered.
I’m incredibly thankful for my parents laying that foundation. They have left a tremendous legacy not just for me and my family, but for the millions of associates and guests who have experienced for themselves the core values they established back in 1927.
We are always looking to the future. The age of 90 could be considered stuffy and old, but this company is anything but stodgy. We are shaping how people travel through technology and innovation—all while being the world’s largest hotel company. It’s been an exciting season of change here at Marriott. There’s no limit to what’s yet to come.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move for the last 90 years and the next!