|Traded as||NASDAQ: MAR
S&P 500 Component
|Founded||Washington, D.C., U.S.
(May 15, 1927)
|Key people||Bill Marriott
(President and CEO)
|Revenue||US$ 11.814 billion (2012)|
|Net income||US$ 571 million (2012)|
|Employees||199,929 (July 2013)|
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is an American diversified hospitality company that manages and franchises a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities. Founded by J. Willard Marriott, the company is now led by President and Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson. Today, Marriott International is the largest hotel company with more than 4,000 properties in over 80 countries and territories around the world, over 670,00 rooms (as of 2013), and additional 195,000 rooms in the development pipeline.
Marriott was founded by J. Willard Marriott in 1927 when he and his wife, Alice Sheets Marriott, opened a root beer stand in Washington, D.C. As a Mormon missionary in the sweltering, humid summers in Washington D.C, Marriott was convinced that what residents of the city needed was a place to get a cool drink. The Marriotts later expanded their enterprise into a chain of restaurants and hotels.
They opened their first hotel, the Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel, in Arlington, Virginia, in 1957. Their second hotel, the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, is Marriott International’s longest operating hotel, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009. Their son, J.W. (Bill) Marriott, Jr., led the company to spectacular worldwide growth during his more than 50-year career. In March 2012, at age 80, he turned the CEO responsibilities over to Arne Sorenson, while he assumed the title of Executive Chairman.
In 2002 Marriott International began a major restructuring by spinning off many Senior Living Services Communities (which is now part of Sunrise Senior Living) and Marriott Distribution Services, so that it could focus on hotel ownership and management. The changes were completed in 2003.
In April 1995, Marriott International acquired a 49% interest in Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC. Marriott International believed that it could increase sales and profit margins for The Ritz-Carlton, a troubled chain with a significant number of properties either losing money or barely breaking even. The cost of Marriott's initial investment was estimated to be about $200 million in cash and assumed debt. The next year, Marriott spent $331 million to take over The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta and buy a majority interest in two properties owned by William Johnson, a real estate developer who had purchased The Ritz-Carlton, Boston in 1983 and expanded his The Ritz-Carlton holdings over the next twenty years.
The Ritz-Carlton began expansion into the lucrative timeshare market among other new initiatives made financially possible by the deep pockets of Marriott, which also lent its own in-house expertise in certain areas. There were other benefits for The Ritz-Carlton flowing from its relationship with Marriott, such as being able to take advantage of the parent company's reservation system and buying power. The partnership was solidified in 1998 when Marriott acquired a majority ownership of The Ritz-Carlton. Today, there are 81 The Ritz-Carlton properties around the world.
Marriott International owned Ramada International Hotels & Resorts until its sale on September 15, 2004 to Cendant. It is the first hotel chain to serve food that is completely free of trans fats at all of its North American properties.
In 2005, Marriott International and Marriott Vacation Club International comprised two of the 53 entities that contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush.
On July 19, 2006, Marriott announced that all lodging buildings they operate in the United States and Canada would become non-smoking beginning September 2006. "The new policy includes all guest rooms, restaurants, lounges, meeting rooms, public space and employee work areas."
On November 11, 2010, Marriott announced plans to add over 600 hotel properties by 2015, the bulk of the additions will be in the emerging markets of India, where it plans to have 100 hotel properties, China and Southeast Asia.
On December 13, 2011, J. W. Marriott, Jr. announced he would be stepping down as CEO of the company, while assuming the role of executive chairman. It was announced that Arne Sorenson would be taking over as CEO as of March 2012.
U.S. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his 2011 federal income taxes on September 21, 2012, showing that he declared $260,390 in director's fees from Marriott International, despite the fact that news was released on January 13, 2011, that he had already stepped down from the Marriott International board to run for President. His previously released 2010 tax returns showed earnings in 2010 of $113,881 in director's fees from Marriott. In February, 2012, Bloomberg reported on Romney's years overseeing tax matters for Marriott, which had included several "scams" (quoting Sen. John McCain) and legal actions brought against Marriott, which Marriott lost in court, over its manipulations of the tax code.
Bill Marriott’s second book, Without Reservations: How A Family Root Beer Stand Grew Into a Global Hotel Company, hit the stands in January 2013, earning early praise from past U.S. presidents and business leaders.
In 2013, Marriott International introduced Vacations by Marriott, the company's official travel deal website.
Marriott operates 18 brands internationally. Most recently, the Marriott purchased the overseas hotel chain Protea Hotels, expanding their international presence.
Marriott also developed three and ultimately opened two theme parks entitled Marriott's Great America from 1976 until 1984. The parks were located in Gurnee, Illinois; Santa Clara, California; and a proposed but never-built location in the Washington, DC area, and were themed celebrating American history. The American-themed areas under Marriott's tenure of ownership included "Carousel Plaza" (the first section beyond the main gates); small-town-themed "Hometown Square"; "The Great Midwest Livestock Exposition At County Fair" with a Turn of the Century rural-fair theme; "Yankee Harbor", inspired by a 19th-century New England port; "Yukon Territory," resembling a Canadian/Alaskan logging camp; and the French Quarter-modeled "Orleans Place". At opening, both parks were laid out nearly identically.
In 1984, Marriott disposed of its theme park division; both parks were sold and today are associated with national theme park chains. The Gurnee location was sold to Six Flags Theme Parks where it operates today as Six Flags Great America. The Santa Clara location was sold to the City of Santa Clara, who retained the underlying property and sold the park to Kings Entertainment Company, renamed Paramount Parks in 1993. From 1993 to 2006, the Santa Clara location was known as Paramount's Great America. In 2006, Paramount Parks was acquired by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company; the Santa Clara park operates today as California's Great America. In the years after their sale, the layouts of the parks have diverged substantially.
Marriott Rewards is the guest loyalty program that offers travelers their choice of points toward free vacations and merchandise or frequent flyer miles, as well as other membership benefits, when staying at Marriott brand hotels worldwide. Frequent travelers also can earn “elite level” benefits with Marriott Rewards, including room upgrades, bonuses, and gifts. There are three “elite” levels—Silver, Gold and Platinum – each based on the number of nights stayed at Marriott hotels each year.