Growing Marriott: Our Merger with Starwood

September 22, 2016


NYC Times Square
Celebrating with President and CEO Arne Sorenson and associates in New York City's Times Square. (Charles Sykes/AP Images for Marriott International)

On this historic day, my parents are on my mind. The company they founded as a nine-seat root beer stand nearly 90 years ago today becomes the largest lodging company in the world. With Marriott International’s merger with Starwood complete, our family grows to 500,000 associates at more than 5,700 managed and franchised properties worldwide.

When the secret sauce of a business is your people, such growth might be cause for concern. Will there be a culture clash?

JWM at St Regis NY
Greeting some of our newest associates at the St. Regis in New York City.

I’m not worried. I’m confident we will successfully go from competitors to colleagues.

Starwood associates have an equal commitment to service excellence. They have a proven track record of taking care of guests all over the world. It gives me great comfort that the company values that were established by my parents will not only survive this transaction – they will become the glue that binds us together.

My father, J. Willard Marriott, Sr. had a bold vision. He always talked about the need to grow while never losing sight of what it was that made our guests come back again and again – our wonderful associates.

Starwood and Marriott associates both understand the role we play in travelers’ lives. We see our guests on their best days – like when they choose to celebrate a wedding or an anniversary with us – and on their worst days – like when they arrive exhausted after spending the day at the bedside of a sick child or parent. We give rest to the road warriors, who travel the world on a quest for business, and we are there for well-earned vacations.

The constant through it all is service. We ensure that our guests feel as though they are being welcomed home even when they are halfway around the world. And while a beautiful hotel and comfortable bed are a part of that, it’s our people who make the big difference. The friendly smile, the attention to detail, the commitment to meeting our guests’ needs – all are hallmarks of a great stay and the tremendous staying power of our company.

To the hundreds of thousands of Marriott International associates – regardless of the brand on the name tag you wear -- be it W, Renaissance, Westin or Courtyard or any of the 30 brands now in our global portfolio – you are all part of the Marriott International family. Our intention is to take care of you so you will take care of our guests. That is how we have built this business for nearly 90 years and what will define our success for years to come.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

Listen to audio


Read the official press release about the Starwood acquisition.


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