The Top Three Things I Look for When Visiting a Hotel

February 2, 2018


It probably goes without saying, but I have visited thousands of hotels. Just this past year, I have seen over 100—and that’s a drop in the bucket compared to my younger days. Touring properties is a passion of mine, not an obligation. 

I’m often my happiest when I’m at a hotel and spending time with Marriott International associates. And while I would love to spend all my time chatting with them, I’m also there to evaluate the hotel and how it is running. Here’s what I’m looking for:


Engaged Associates

That goes back to our roots where we started in the food business 90 years ago. The minute I step onto a property, I can feel the mood of the associates. I can tell when associates are engaged and when they’re simply going through the motions. It all starts at the top; when everyone is excited about their work, it tells me their general manager is doing something right. There’s nothing more important for a GM than having a finger on the pulse of the organization.


Quality Food

Like most people, I enjoy going out to dinner. Dining on property gives me a firsthand view of how a major piece of Marriott’s business is working. There is some excellent food that comes from our hotels. If I can stay on property for a great meal rather than look around the neighborhood for one, I’ll stay. Plus, when I see an on-property restaurant full of happy diners, it tells me the hotel is working hard to provide guests with a complete and wonderful experience.



Just like my dad, I look for cleanliness. One of my favorite tests is evaluating the cleanliness of the elevator grooves, along the threshold of the elevator. That may sound a little crazy, but, to me, it shows attention to detail. Elevators are one of the most trafficked areas in a hotel, so associates should pay extra attention to those areas. Treating cleanliness as a priority will always be worth the time. Though it may seem like a small thing to others, it’s those little things that add up.


I’m curious, what do you look for when staying at a hotel? Let me know in the comments.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move!

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No wrinkled Sheets, even clean don't look inviting. Clean Bathroom and Coffee Station. Friendly Face and service plus price makes a difference to some people.... I like to pay for what I get, not for the name.

I always look at the bathroom vents and often find them dusty. It seems to me vents are disappearing in hotels now, perhaps the rooms are vented in some other way.

Hello Mr. Marriott. I do enjoy reading your blog, it is both entertaining and informative. I work in the Fall River call center. When I plan on traveling I first check the hotels in the area I will be visiting: What is their reputation? What does it look like? What have past guests said about it? Is it in a safe area, especially if I'm travelling by my self. What is the cost? Cleanliness is a big thing for me. If the pictures I see show an unkempt property I won't bother looking further. If the associates aren't engaged with the guests that also seems indicative of poor management. I've had jobs, like the one I have now, where the mangers care about their employees and want to take care of them. In turn, the employees take care of the guests. On the other side of the coin, I've had jobs were it was obvious that the management didn't care about the employees and it showed in the employees work. I have a degree in Baking/Pastry and do agree with you that the quality of the food is big deal. If the food is not good then it seems to be a side effect of the aforementioned issues. Thankfully I've not had any issues with the cleanliness, unengaged associates or poor food with any hotel I've stayed at.

I look for an experience in a hotel. If I am able to pick any hotel, why would I pick the Marriott? Customer service should make me feel like no other hotel is capable of doing because I want a home away from home and I would like to return year after year.
Comfort is second because a good nights sleep is key to how your day turns out.

I check the return air vents, specifically in the bathroom. If they have dust and grim I know they don't clean thoroughly!

I appreciate Bill’s emphasis on cleanliness. Of equal importance is the people factor.
The cleanliness is great but if the people are not memorable then you may not make the effort to come back.
When I am in your “House,” I want it to feel like I have “Come Home!”

Cleanliness first of all. Efficient, friendly, knowledgeable staff, CONSISTENCY.

I have been Marriott customer(Twin BRIDGES my 1st) for over 55 years. I have since retired so I do not travel as much, but when I its Marriott!! The best hotels any where.