Profits tumbled by half between 1989 and 1992, and Marriott was devastated by $3.6 billion in debt. (Albrecht 1999) A controversial plan to split the company into two parts - one a profitable hotel and food-service business, and the other a debt-laden owner of depressed real estate - proved successful. Another strategy that proved successful was to accelerate franchising hotels. In 1989, 21 percent of hotels were franchised, and by 1993, 27 percent were franchised and plans were formulated to franchise 50 percent by 1997. (Albrecht 1999) Marriott avoided the risk of a loss of quality by selecting franchisees with the same philosophy about quality and by quickly withdrawing a franchise if standards are lowered in any way. Marriott also has a product in every price category: the high-end J. W. Marriott, business-class Marriott, moderate Courtyard by Marriott, budget-priced Fairfield Inns, and suite hotels. (Albrecht 1999) Moreover, Marriott has invested heavily in the burgeoning retirement accommodation business. Another aspect of the Marriott success story is its corporate cultural guidelines. These cultural guidelines are not necessarily similar to Mary Kay, but, nonetheless, they are clear and distinct and evolved from the Marriott ethic.
The Marriotts are a Mormon family, workaholic and devout. (Stern 1992) The Book of Mormon is placed in Marriott hotel rooms along with the Gideon Bible and a biography of the founder. The cultural guidelines range from the development of team spirit to the management of time and to personal habits relating to physical fitness and spiritual commitment. After financial or strategic plans have been specified, Marriott has shifted to building commitment among people in the organization. The major change, and the most difficult, has been the development of new operating cultures that are required to succeed in new markets. None of Marriott's traditions appear sacred at the Courtyard division. Even the all-cotton towels, a tradition of Marriott's hotel chain, have been replaced with cheaper fabric. The biography of the company founder, offered for free at Marriott hotels, is sold at Courtyard vending machines. These cultural changes were also implemented at other hotel divisions aimed at serving different target markets. The company is attempting to operate the smaller, less complicated hotels with managers who have less experience than its traditional managers. Another deviation from tradition is to hire managers from competing chains rather than from within the Marriott organization. Marriott competed on the strong organizational capability to change. Marriott hotels competed directly with such firms as Hilton, Hyatt, Four Seasons, and Sheraton. (Albrecht 1999) Although many strategies were similar, Marriott tried to serve its clientele better. Marriott focused on becoming an employer of choice, and this meant competing with indirect competitors such as McDonald's, Burger King, Sears, and other organizations that hire large numbers of employees from the traditional applicant pool. To compete, Marriott has tried to become a more attractive employer. Marriott began by focusing its resources on food with its Hot Shoppe restaurants and by serving airlines with food. Institutional food service to airlines, hospitals, airports, schools, and business organizations became an integral part of its business. Marriott also offers a product portfolio ranging from luxurious accommodations (Marriott Suites) to traditional rooms (Marriott) to lodging for family vacationers (Residence Inn), business travelers (Courtyard), and those desiring economy (Fairfield Inn). This product portfolio has contributed to the Marriott success story. Although during the 1980s the number of hotel rooms grew more than 40 percent, leading to overcapacity and weak profits adversely affecting the Marriott and the hotel industry, the Marriott has bounced back in the 1990s. Like many other retail service organizations, close cost control pro cedures, the innovation of new customer service approaches, and the capability of knowing when and how to change have been responsible for a success story. In addition, Marriott is future oriented and is pulling out all the stops in one market, senior life-care communities, which combine deluxe retirement housing with medical and nursing facilities. Taking into consideration history and corporate culture of Marriott, if I was interviewed for the manager’s position, I would definitely state that I prefer working in one organization for a long period of time, and getting stable promotions in this very organization. I would also emphasize that devoting my time to work would be one of my first priorities, as this would ensure my corporate growth and being in line with the company’s shareholders’ expectations. I would further stress that I would like to take part in developing new initiatives as for how to make the hotel I work for more successful.