A Message From The Executive Chairman Letter to Shareholders
We are excited about this year’s theme — “World’s Favorite Travel Company” — and are working hard to live up to that promise. With more than 4,100 hotels around the world, more than 360,000 associates want to be the top choice for every travel experience, from weddings and family getaways to business trips and conferences. Last year, I visited more than 170 of our hotels around the world. I see the dedication, passion and pride of our associates everywhere I go. This is who we are — our business is to welcome and serve travelers of every kind, everywhere.
From our company’s beginning, we have succeeded because we’ve stayed true to our core values — Putting People First, Pursuing Excellence, Embracing Change, Acting with Integrity and Serving Our World. For us, 2014 was a year of embracing change. I’ve always believed that change is good; it keeps you relevant and encourages growth and progress. From a more decentralized global business structure, to how we attract talented associates and travelers — these changes are moving us forward and keeping us fresh. Innovations are also fueling our growth, and help us not only to appeal to the next generation of customer, but also delight our already loyal customers with the memorable travel adventures they expect from us.
We are bringing innovation to our brands, our food and beverage offerings, our guest experiences and even our recently reinvented global headquarters, to attract millennials and those with a millennial mindset. In fact, in 2014, we were named by Forbes® as Most Innovative Hotel Company — ranking among the top 20 innovative companies across a variety of industries. Over the past few years, we’ve welcomed exciting new hotel brands that let us capture a new customer segment or provide a new stay experience. In 2014, we welcomed the Protea Hotels® brand in Africa and earlier this year announced an agreement to acquire Delta Hotels and Resorts® in Canada.
Last year, we opened our 4,000th hotel — the Marriott Marquis® Washington, DC. It is only fitting that this spectacular hotel is located only blocks from the site of our first Hot Shoppe restaurant, the company’s initial business nearly 90 years ago.
With change everywhere, we are focused on being the world’s favorite travel company to everyone we touch and serve: our guests, owners, franchisees, shareholders and associates. At the same time, we remain true to our purpose of offering a world of opportunity. For our part, we take pride in making investments in the communities where we do business. For example, across the globe we’re offering opportunity for unemployed youth so they can receive the education and skills they need in today’s economy. We are promoting tourism to build developing economies — like the hotel we opened in Haiti earlier this year. We’re also working with small and growing companies that provide us with goods and services, especially women-owned enterprises in emerging markets globally. And we continue to focus on protecting our natural resources in our hotels and far beyond, including in the Amazon rainforest, Thailand’s mangroves and the fresh water of China’s rivers.
Our associates are our top investment. “Take care of your associates and they’ll take care of the guests” was the philosophy of our founder, my father — J. Willard Marriott. At Marriott, caring for people and the community is part of who we are. Around the globe, we offer our associates fair treatment, respect and opportunities for personal and professional growth. We know that when we feel valued and respected, it helps make our guests feel that way too. That’s part of our deeply embedded company culture, and is the main ingredient in our success.
We have a longstanding reputation for excellent customer service. We continually seek innovative and creative ways to meet the needs of our guests. We maintain high standards in every aspect of our business, from ethics and human rights to environmental and social sustainability to diversity and inclusion. I’m proud that we are recognized for our commitment to our customers and associates. In 2014, we were again named as one of the best places to work in surveys all over the world, from FORTUNE® to Working Mother to the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work,® and to once again be among FORTUNE’s World’s Most Admired Companies.
We invite you to join us and hope we can be the “World’s Favorite Travel Company,” and yours, too. Wherever you travel, we’ll be there to welcome you at one of our many exciting brands around the world. Wishing you great travel experiences wherever you go!
J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr.
Follow Bill Marriott’s blog at MarriottOnTheMove.com