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Marriott International: Leading the Way in Luxury Hospitality

Marriott International: Leading the Hospitality Industry

When it comes to luxury hospitality, one name stands tall above the rest: Marriott International. Founded in 1927 by J.

Willard Marriott and his wife Alice, the company has grown to become the largest hotel chain in the world. With 30 brands and over 6,500 properties in 127 countries and territories, Marriott International’s global presence is unrivaled in the hospitality industry.

While the company’s sheer size is impressive, there are other exceptional qualities that make Marriott International stand out. This article will delve into the strengths of Marriott International, starting with the impressive financials.

Financials

As a publicly traded company, Marriott International discloses detailed financial reports that provide a glimpse into its success. In 2019, the company reported revenue of $20.97 billion and a net income of $1.27 billion.

As of August 2020, Marriott International’s ticker symbol is MAR, and the company is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Marriott’s Strengths

1.

Global Presence

Marriott International has a vast global presence, with properties in 127 countries and territories. In 2019, the company opened 516 new properties worldwide, adding over 78,000 rooms to its portfolio.

This embrace of global expansion has made Marriott International the largest hotel chain in the world, with 1.4 million rooms available for guests.

2.

Market Leadership

Marriott International’s 30 brands offer a variety of hospitality experiences, from luxury to affordable. All of their brands are carefully curated and cater to different customer segments.

Marriott International acquired the Ritz Carlton in 1995 and has since expanded it into a globally recognized brand. The 2016 acquisition of Starwood brought in another seven brand names under the Marriott banner, the most famous of which is St. Regis.

The massive acquisition of Starwood reinforced the company’s market position as the leader in the global hospitality industry.

3.

Excellent Reputation

Marriott International takes pride in its excellent reputation, as demonstrated by its ranking as the 44th most diverse Fortune 500 company in 2020. The company is committed to hiring and promoting diverse talent throughout its organization, and Marriott employees report high levels of job satisfaction.

Marriott was the first hotel company to start its own vocational training school in 1990, partnering with community colleges to teach students the necessary skills to work in the hospitality industry.

4.

Strategic Partnerships

Marriott International is constantly seeking partnerships with companies that can help it grow in key markets. Its strategic partnership with Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group has been a significant milestone.

In 2017, Marriott launched a joint venture with Alibaba to offer a seamless travel experience for Chinese travelers through Alibabas travel platform, Fliggy. The partnership allows customers to book Marriott stays, access personalized travel recommendations, and use AliPay for payment.

5. Profitable Acquisitions

Marriott International has a track record of profitable acquisitions, with Starwood as its biggest acquisition to date.

The $13 billion deal brought in properties, a loyalty program, and even key personnel responsible for developing the company’s website. The acquisition of Starwood also accelerated the company’s growth in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa while expanding its presence in Europe and South America.

In 2019, Marriott acquired the luxury hotel group, Elegant Hotels, which operates seven hotels in the Caribbean.

6.

Loyal Customers

Marriott International has a huge loyal customer base synonymous with luxurious travel. The company operates a loyalty program that has over 137 million members worldwide.

The Marriott Bonvoy program has evolved to offer exclusive experiences for its elite members. Members can access exclusive room upgrades, free nights, and access to VIP experiences.

7. Strict Code of Conduct

Marriott International has an ingrained culture of cleanliness, etiquette, and punctuality.

The Marriott brand stands for quality and high standards of guest service. The brand has some set of rules that are upheld by employees worldwide.

Marriott regularly trains employees on how to deliver the best customer experience. Marriott inspections are frequent to ensure every property is adhering to brand standards, keeping with the brand’s high standards of quality.

8. Highly Innovative

Marriott International continues to lead innovation in the hospitality industry.

The company recently launched Villas and Homes, a program that expands its luxury rental offerings beyond standard hotel rooms. The program offers travelers more than 25,000 luxury homes and condos in over 250 cities worldwide, with concierge service and 24/7 support.

The use of mobile technology has enabled the wallet-free experience, aimed at removing cumbersome lines at check-ins. Marriott’s mobile app, which has won numerous awards, allows hotel guests to check-in from their smartphone, open their hotel rooms using their phones, and order room service from the app.

Final Thoughts

Marriott International has set itself apart from other hospitality companies with its innovative thinking and dedication to guest comfort and satisfaction. The company’s global presence, financial strength, market leadership, and strategic partnerships have kept it ahead of the curve in the hospitality industry.

Marriott International has acquired other hotel chains and demonstrated remarkable growth over the years, setting the standards for quality and luxury. The hotel giant’s loyal customers keep coming back, and with the companys constant innovation, Marriott is poised to remain the leader in the hospitality industry.

Marriott International: Leading the Hospitality Industry (Part 2)

As impressive as Marriott International is, even the largest company in the world has its weaknesses and limitations. In this section, we will examine some of the areas where Marriott International could improve.

We will also explore potential opportunities the company could take advantage of to maintain its market leadership and continue to grow. Marriott’s Weaknesses

1.

Ineffective Data Protection

One significant weakness of Marriott International is its security systems. In 2018, the company reported that its Starwood database had been hacked, exposing the personal information of over 500 million guests.

The data breach was one of the biggest in history, and the negative publicity that followed was damaging to the company’s reputation. Marriott International faced scrutiny and criticism from both customers and regulators, prompting concerns about the company’s data protection methods.

2. Poor Positioning

Marriott International brand positioning has evolved over the years, with a focus on family-friendly hospitality.

While some hotels in its portfolio cater to millennials and business travelers, Marriott’s family-focused positioning leaves the company struggling with how to appeal to younger generations. With millennials and Gen-Zers making up a significant percentage of travelers, the lack of innovations that cater to their preferences is a weakness that Marriott International needs to address.

3. Negative Publicity

Marriott International came under scrutiny in 2017 when Hurricane Irma struck its Westin St. John Resort & Villas in St. Thomas, leaving guests and employees stranded.

Reports emerged of guest complaints about the company’s lack of support and assistance. The negative publicity that followed left Marriott facing concerns about its crisis management response and the brand’s reputation as a provider of luxurious holiday experiences.

4. Civil Lawsuits

Marriott International was recently fined for blocking Wi-Fi service in its hotels to force guests to pay for premium Wi-Fi service.

The company was sued, and the Federal Communications Commission fined Marriott International $600,000. The incident was embarrassing for the company and undermined the brand’s image as a provider of excellent customer service.

5. Too Strict

Marriott International’s strict code of conduct is a double-edged sword.

While the brand’s high standards help maintain consistent service quality, sometimes the enforcement of the code can seem inflexible. The company has strict policies for employees, and it is known to fire staff if found guilty of fraud, theft, or other unacceptable behavior.

Some employees have criticized the company’s policy of firing employees without warnings for minor offenses, and this has led to high turnover in some areas. Marriott’s Opportunities

1.

Shifting Demographics

With millennials and Gen-Zers set to make up a large percentage of travelers in the coming years, Marriott International should look for ways to appeal to these groups. These groups tend to be drawn to personalization and unique experiences.

Marriott International could diversify its services, using technology to integrate their loyalty program, offering guests curated, bespoke packages that cater to their preferences. 2.

Focus on Emerging Economies

The hospitality industry is expanding into new regions, with developing countries becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations. Marriott International could focus on these countries and position itself as a provider of high-end luxury hospitality to tap into this market.

This strategy would enable the brand to take advantage of lower real estate and labor costs in these countries while expanding its footprint into new markets. 3.

Diversify Offerings

Marriott International’s Villas and Homes program is a step in the right direction in terms of diversification. The program offers exclusive travel experiences in luxurious rental properties worldwide.

Personalization and customization are key to the hospitality industry’s future, with guests demanding more than just a bed and a room. Marriott International could expand its offerings to give guests tailor-made experiences that cater to their specific preferences.

4. Expand into Related Sectors

Marriott International could also expand its real estate business by offering houses for hire, allowing travelers to have a unique and luxurious home away from home.

The company could also offer property management services for homeowners with vacation properties, leveraging its years of experience in maintaining and managing luxury properties.

Final Thoughts

Marriott International’s market leadership and outstanding customer satisfaction demonstrate the strengths the company has in the hospitality industry. However, the company is not bulletproof and has to address its weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

By focusing on opportunities such as diversification of its offerings, expanding into related sectors, and leveraging its standing to focus on emerging markets, Marriott International can position itself for continued growth and success. Marriott has to continuously update its brand positioning, realign itself with shifting demographics, and invest in emerging markets to achieve its long-term objectives and remain the leader of the hospitality industry.

Marriott International: Leading the Hospitality Industry (Part 3)

While Marriott International has a lot of strengths and opportunities, there are certain factors that could pose challenges and potential threats to the brand’s success. These threats are out of the company’s control, but being aware of them enables Marriott International to plan and prepare for any potential risks.

Marriott’s Threats

1. Global Pandemic

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry has taken a severe hit.

Marriott International was not immune to the pandemic’s effects and saw a significant decline in revenue, with the company reporting a loss of $232 million in Q1 2020 alone. The company’s hotels worldwide were forced to close down and lay off employees to cut costs.

Even as some regions have started to recover, the industry is still struggling to regain its footing as health and safety regulations limit travel and customer demand. 2.

Stiff Competition

Marriott International is not the only luxurious hospitality brand in the industry; rivals like Hilton and Novotel are also major players in the industry. These competitors have an established clientele, with brand loyalty and technological advancements that make it challenging for Marriott to stay ahead of the curve.

These companies have traditionally focused on different aspects of the hospitality experience, for example, the budget-friendly Novotel brand focuses on delivering affordable accommodation. Hilton, on the other hand, has a large host of brands catering to a range of budgets and preferences.

3. Looming Recession

The hospitality industry is notoriously cyclical, and hotel chains have historically struggled to maintain growth during economic recessions.

With economic uncertainty worldwide, there is a real risk of a global recession that could negatively impact Marriott’s revenue and profitability. The challenge for Marriott International during an economic downturn would be to maintain brand quality while balancing cost-cutting measures that would allow it to remain competitive.

4. Trade Tension

As a multinational corporation, Marriott International is subject to geopolitical risk arising from trade tensions.

Tariffs and trade wars between the United States and China have caused volatility in the market, and in turn, negatively affected the hospitality industry. The tariffs imposed during a trade war have the potential to develop into destabilizing economic sanctions that would undermine demand for hotels and reduce tourism.

5. Risk of Terror Attacks

The hospitality industry is highly vulnerable to terror attacks.

As a provider of five-star accommodation targeted at foreigners in various locations worldwide, Marriott International is at risk of attack. In some countries, the combination of high-end hospitality with foreign guests puts them at risk from terror groups.

Marriott International has taken steps to increase security measures, but the risk remains substantial, and any incident could damage the brand’s reputation.

Final Thoughts

Marriott International is a leader in the hospitality industry, with a reputation for quality service and exceptional brand value. However, the company still faces numerous challenges that could negatively affect its growth and profitability.

The global pandemic has hit the hospitality industry hard, with restrictions on travel affecting revenue. Competition is fierce, and Marriott International must continually adapt to stay ahead of rivals.

The prospect of a recession or trade tension adds further complexity that potentially impacts the hospitality industry. The risk of terror attacks is ever-present, and brands like Marriott International must ensure that they have robust measures in place to minimize any potential damage to their reputation.

The challenges Marriott International faces are significant, but through a culture of innovation and adaptation, the company can overcome the various threats and continue to be a leader in the hospitality industry. Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world, possesses numerous strengths that have propelled it to the forefront of the hospitality industry.

With its impressive financials, global presence, market leadership, strategic partnerships, loyal customer base, and commitment to innovation, Marriott has established itself as a reputable and thriving brand. However, the company is not without weaknesses and faces threats such as the global pandemic, stiff competition, potential economic downturns, trade tensions, and the risk of terror attacks.

These challenges are reminders of the volatile nature of the industry and the need for continual adaptation and preparedness. Despite the obstacles, Marriott International’s commitment to excellence and customer-centric approach positions the company to overcome these threats and maintain its market leadership.

The world of hospitality continues to evolve, and Marriott International’s ability to navigate these challenges while staying true to its core values will determine its long-term success.

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