October 4, 2023
David S. Marriott
Chairman of the Board, Marriott International
President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The hospitality industry continues to adapt to meet the needs of travelers and employees alike in the new era of work. David S. Marriott, Chairman of the Board of Marriott International, Inc., shared his insights on the industry and its future during our Talent Forward 2023 event.
Marriott International’s Company Culture Prioritizes Caring for People
Marriott International, once a company of 100 hotels, now has 8,600 hotels and 31 different brands in 139 countries and territories around the globe. Marriott attributes that growth to the strength of the chain’s core values.
“Your culture is going to continue to evolve over time, but your core values should really never change,” he said. “[Our] belief [is] that if you take care of people, they'll take care of people, and your business will thrive.”
For Marriott International, this pillar extends beyond its hotel doors, with the brand supporting people facing crises around the world.
“Whether it’s Maui … the earthquakes in Turkey … [or] the challenges we’re facing with the war in Ukraine and the refugees, our business councils really focus on how they can help support those communities and … our associates in parts of the world that are challenged,” Marriott emphasized.
Internal Growth Opportunities Support Employee Loyalty
According to Marriott, many of Marriott International’s C-suite and senior executive employees started in hourly ranks — something his father is most proud of in his time with the company.
“[The hospitality] industry doesn’t necessarily require a four-year degree, but it’s an opportunity for growth, and it's a tremendous industry,” Marriott said. “We've tried to help educate those who are interested in hospitality [and show them] this is really a place for [them] to have a career.”
The New Era of Work Requires Flexibility and Technology Innovation
Before the pandemic, Marriott International was already implementing new practices to accommodate the flexibility and work-life balance desired by the new generation.
“We've worked really hard to create a more flexible work environment and to encourage people to try new opportunities, take risks, and learn different areas of the hotel and the industry,” he said.
The hotel chain also prioritizes listening to employee feedback and ideas. Many team members reported a desire for newer, more efficient systems.
“A clear area that we had ignored because we were focusing on growth was technology innovation,” Marriott explained. “So now we're in the midst of a big technology transformation and working through that."
Marriott believes these better systems will produce better customer data — offering an improved customer experience and allowing employees to thrive.