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Marriott Hotels

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The case examines Marriott International’s (Marriott) various innovative HR practices, which earned it the reputation of being ‘the best place to work’ in the hospitality industry. It describes Marriott’s ‘Spirit to Serve’ culture and the company’s HR philosophy which guided its various HR initiatives. The case gives an overview of the best practices employed by the company in the recruitment, selection, training and development of employees. It also details the employee retention strategies and grievance redressal system at Marriott. Finally, the case reviews the benefits reaped by the company because of its employee friendly HR practices.

» Understand the role of an organizational philosophy and culture in the development of human resource policies in a multinational organization

» Get insights into the HR best practices of a large global service organization

» Understand the role of employee development programs for retaining employees and improving organizational productivity

» Appreciate the benefits that accrue to an organization through the use of employee-friendly policies

The Spirit to Serve
Once, when a customer checked in at an Anaheim Marriott hotel, she was in a very disturbed state of mind. It was on her way to the hotel that she learnt of her sister’s death. The worst part was that she had to wait the whole night at the hotel to board a flight the next morning.

As she checked into the hotel, Charles, who was looking after room service, asked her why she was upset. On hearing her reply, he assured her of any help she might need through the night. Soon after, Charles returned with a pot of coffee and a piece of apple pie, at his own expense. He also handed her a sympathy card, signed by seven of his colleagues.| | By pooling some money contributed by his colleagues, he brought some flowers and gave them to her, saying, “We just wanted you to know you’re not among strangers here.”3 | Narrating this incident to JW Marriott Jr., the CEO of Marriott International Inc4(Bill Marriott), the customer wrote, “Mr. Marriott, I’ll never meet you. And I don’t need to meet you because I met Charles. I know what you stand for.

I know what your values are. I want to assure you that as long as I live; I will stay at your hotels and tell my friends to stay at your hotels.

That night I realized that you care more about me as a person than you do about the few dollars I spent at your hotel.”5|

The Spirit to Serve Contd…
The warm and considerate attitude of employees like Charles is, perhaps, the major reason why customers across the world remain loyal to one name in the hospitality industry -Marriott. Charles, through his conduct, reflected the attitude of the 128,000 Marriott employees who strive to work with the ‘spirit to serve.’

Commenting on how Marriott creates loyal customers, JW Marriott said, “Our people care a lot about the guests and we work very hard to encourage our people to do so. We have reward programmes, employee celebrations and a lot of stroking of our people to make sure they recognize the value of the guest.”

Background Note
In 1927, J. William Marriott (JW Marriott) set-up a nine-seat root beer7 shop in Washington. After some time, William started serving hot food along with the root beer and named the shop as ‘The Hot Shoppe.’ In 1929, Hot Shoppe was officially incorporated as Hot Shoppes Inc and in 1937, Hot Shoppe, ventured into airline catering at Washington airport, serving the Eastern, American and Capital airlines.

Over the next three decades, Hot Shoppes diversified into other businesses including food services management8 by starting a cafeteria at the US Treasury Building in Washington DC and the Highway Division. In 1966, the company ventured overseas, acquiring an airline catering kitchen in Caracas, Venezuela. In November 1967, its name was changed to the Marriott Corporation (Marriott). | In 1982, Marriott acquired Host International, a leading hospitality services provider in the US, becoming the largest operator of airport terminal food, beverage and merchandise facilities in the US. In the 1980s, Marriott acquired several companies including the American Resorts Corporation (vacation business, 1984), Gladieux Corporation (food service company, 1985), Service Systems (contact food service company, 1985), Howard Johnson Company (hotels & inns, 1985) and Residency Inn Company9 (1987). With the acquisition of the Saga Corporation, a diversified food service management company in 1986, Marriott became the largest food service management company in the US.| Marriott also diversified into the moderate price segment of hotels under the brand name ‘Courtyard’ (1983). In 1987, Marriott entered the field of economy lodging by launching the first Fairfield Inn in Atlanta, Georgia. That year, Marriott also launched its worldwide reservation centre (WRC)10 at Omaha, Nebraska. This centre became the largest one-point reservation operation in the US hotel industry.

* 18. Marriott Facts It is turning the outcomes of the creative process into useful products, services, or work methods 2832 lodging properties 2046 furnished corporate housing rental units. Marriott has strong international presence in countries like Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, China, and Germany. * 19. Marriotts size and position in themarket Operates and franchises more than 2600 hotels and resorts, totaling approximately 425,900 rooms and 6,300 vacation ownership villas worldwide. 15 brands Has hotels in 73 countries. It is ranked as the lodging industry’s most admired company and one of the best places to work for by Fortune® magazine

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