Marriott on the Move



From Herdsmen to Hotel Workers

Posted: July 5, 2011 02:53:15 PM

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When we open the doors to a new hotel, we also open the doors to a world of opportunity for people who may never have imagined that they could work for a company like Marriott. 

Philip Papadopoulos

Philip Papadopoulos is the general manager of the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa and recently told me the inspiring story of how his hotel helped poor farmers and herdsmen in Jordan break out of the bounds of poverty.

Since it opened in 2002, the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort has looked for dedicated people to successfully run the 250-room hotel. They recruited associates from the capital city of Amman, but they also took a bold step to source employees from two local villages.

The idea of working at a resort was only a dream for those villagers who depended on the land for their livelihood.  They endured below-poverty conditions with family members living in one room, no plumbing, thin walls, and dirt floors on which they placed their blankets to sleep.



When the hotel’s human resources team reached out to these farmers, many locals questioned the wisdom of such a move.  But they soon found that a number of farmers were eager to work for the resort.  The hotel training team first offered them hygiene, grooming and etiquette classes. Then they taught them hospitality skills. And finally the farmers and herdsmen were offered English lessons so they could talk to our guests.  

Philip said the team went on to do even more for these associates.  For example, rather than discard used, but still very useful items like furniture, mattresses and linen, they donated them to the associates, who had little more than a ragged blanket, a few chickens and some sheep. 

The risk of hiring these villagers has really paid off.  Nine years later more than half the associates working at the hotel are from that same little village.  Philip says, “They come to work eager to serve, their shoes polished and their smiles wide.”  

I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear stories like Philip’s. I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.


Posted By: Sarah (07/05/2011 at 05:08 PM)

I follow your blog and this entry made me smile. Thank you, Mr. Marriott, for being a statesman in the truest sense and for opening up a world of opportunity for these herdsmen and their families. That is the real Marriott Reward!

Posted By: Ken Wyshnicki (07/05/2011 at 05:14 PM)

Absoulutely a fantastic destination and resort...the people of Jordan are wonderful....

Posted By: Marie Harford, Montreal, Quebec (07/05/2011 at 05:48 PM)

Thank you very much for this story. I think thatcommitments like this help to make the world a better place. Congratulations.

Posted By: Deborah J. Ahrns (07/05/2011 at 05:55 PM)

What a wonderful story. Marriott continues to have an impact on people those working and those enjoying the wonderful well developed facilities. I am sure here in the USA many shelters could also use the soft goods and furnishings when a property receives an update. I would love to have one of your designers do my home. I own three Vacation club properties and they are beautiful. I have been a teacher for 33 years and I have always told my husband I would love to work for Marriott. I get that "proud" feeling when I stay at my resorts or any of the properties. MY home away from home. THANK YOU

Posted By: Redha Widarsyah (07/05/2011 at 07:05 PM)

This story only justifies how hospitality industry can alleviate the poor economic condition of the community it surrounded and provided a vital economic contribution to the residents of the community. Thank you so much, Mr.Marriott for sharing this story. Keep Marriott on the move. God Bless.

Posted By: Ramon Fargas (07/05/2011 at 09:53 PM)

It is really great to hear about this story. When business sincerely helps the poor and not just primarily concerned about profit, that business is blessed with God's providence.

Posted By: Susan Dickson (07/06/2011 at 08:06 AM)

This story just made my day.

Posted By: Paula (07/06/2011 at 12:26 PM)

What an amazing story! This really touched my heart. Mr. Papadopoulos and his staff should be highly commended for their actions. I sincerely hope that others follow along.

Posted By: Hank Mancini (07/06/2011 at 04:26 PM)

Another Marriott heartwarming story. Thanks!

Posted By: Peggy Liu (07/06/2011 at 05:17 PM)

This is such an inspiring story, Mr. Marriott. Having been a Marriott associate for close to 25 years (6 more months to go before I can join the elite Quarter Century Club), Marriott has never ceased to impress me with what they do for their associates and the communities. Thank you.

Posted By: Tom Osterman (07/07/2011 at 10:59 AM)

When one is in their 80's they still look for and thrive on awe inspiring stories and events. This is not only an inspiring story but even more important, a greatly encouraging one for the rest of the world to think about and do. Congratulations to Marriott and you Bill for allowing the human spirit to flourish at Marriott.

Posted By: Mª Gloria Fariña García (07/09/2011 at 11:16 AM)

A wholly altruistic desire to help. Thank you

Posted By: Orlando Tourism (07/09/2011 at 07:12 PM)

This is truly a story of a partnership that enlightens everyone on how hospitality benefits the community. Thanks.

Posted By: LaVonne (07/10/2011 at 11:50 AM)

Mr. Marriott, thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.The story showed a sense of responsibility amongst the team members and a dedication to Marriott standards. Mr. Marriott your involvement confirmed a great staff and a great company.

Posted By: Megan (07/20/2011 at 03:10 PM)

Thanks for posting this! It is great to know that this company is dedicated to helping improve the lives of others, both employees and customers. Through this hotel in Jordan, Marriott is helping not only the villagers in Jordan, but also helping the world become a better place.

Posted By: Joy Deveaux (08/31/2011 at 05:29 PM)

I really like this comment. It is inspiring, and it makes me thankful for my job.

The comments to this entry are closed.


I'm Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO of Marriott International.

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