Inside the curated world of Marriott’s portfolio of hotel brands
1927: The Beginning
In 1927, when J. Willard Marriott and his wife, Alice, opened an A&W root beer stand in Washington, D.C., they weren’t planning on becoming the largest hotel operator in the world. They did, however, understand that the secret to success lies in due diligence and integrity. These shared values would lead the Marriotts down an unprecedented path of expansion, ultimately transforming the couple’s nine-seat restaurant into a family-operated hotel business that today encompasses more than 7,000 properties around the world.
PHOTO: J.W. “Bill” Marriott stands in the doorway of his first Hot Shoppe restaurant in Washington, D.C.
While Marriott International, with its portfolio of 30 different hotel brands, may look considerably different today than it did nearly 100 years ago, the core values remain the same. And those values make a stay at a Marriott property one that guests want to repeat, even when they’re not on the road. To that end, Marriott offers a selection of home goods ranging from beds to barware that enables guests to bring home the Marriott standard of quality.
PHOTO: JW Marriott Austin
Form Meets Function
Whether it’s bath towels or bedsheets, products designed for hotels must meet two distinct objectives: They must be both enticing to use and durable enough to withstand repeated use. After all, you may not wash your own bedsheets 300 nights a year, but a hotel does, and those sheets need to be as pristine on the 300th night as they are on the first. Needless to say, the products that do achieve this blend of form and function are as desirable at home as in a hotel room. And to find them, Marriott listens to the people who know best what works: staff and guests.
Commitment to Feedback
Feedback experiences run the gamut from customer service calls (which is how Marriott’s home fragrance line essentially arrived on the consumer market) to Marriott’s M-Beta hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. At that property, cheery red buttons were placed strategically throughout the hotel to enable guests to provide a real-time thumbs-up on every feature they liked, from the arrival experience to the restaurant.
PHOTO: Marriott Attune Fragrance
The Innovation Lab
The most striking example of Marriott International’s commitment to feedback, however, is the Innovation Lab that resides two stories below the company’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. Stretching across 10,000 square feet, the space showcases full-size prototypes of guest rooms from each of the company’s 30 different brands. It is within the Innovation Lab that hotel associates and others can experience the reality of a given space, from how well the lighting functions to how comfortable the furniture is. And this experience gives Marriott the opportunity to revise ideas as many times as it takes before implementing a new feature at a hotel.
PHOTO: The Innovation Lab
Minding Mother Nature
While some things remain the same today as they did in 1927, others have changed, and Marriott International has changed with them. One of the most important recent challenges the company has faced is sustainability. As early as 2006, Marriott formed an Executive Green Council, which reported directly to the C.E.O. regarding how the company could enhance its ecological performance. Over the years, this focus has intensified. In 2012, Marriott teamed up with MindClick Group to achieve sustainable sourcing for a variety of goods, including hotel furniture, fixtures and equipment. Marriott also partners with Ecolab to harness new technologies that allow hotels to reduce waste and water usage while minimizing their carbon output. The net result is a business approach that, in keeping with the times, emphasizes how Marriott can continue sustainably into the future.
Marriott at Home
Extending the benefits of disciplined product sourcing directly to guests
With many of its signature products now available commercially, Marriott extends the benefits of its disciplined sourcing directly to guests. The Marriott Bed, for example, is enjoyed at Marriott hotels around the world and is among the company’s most coveted items with both foam and innerspring options available. Guests can round out the Marriott hotel sleep experience with luxury bedsheets, blankets and comforters and an array of pillows that include options with down, feathers and down and down alternative.
Accent pillows and even artwork offer distinctive ways to bring home modern aesthetic of a Marriott hotel, while other features create a spa-like atmosphere to evoke a favorite getaway. Plush towels, for example, are as absorbent as they are touchable, and bath-and-body products developed by This Works feel indulgent while offering all the advantages of scientific research.
Of course, Marriott International consists of many different hotel experiences, and guests can find products online from across the portfolio including Renaissance®, JW Marriott®, Westin®, St. Regis® and more. From the days of root beer to modern hotel stays that convey the importance of well-being and sustainability, Marriott International continues to share its innovation and expertise with the people who matter most: Its guests.