When I first started my professional career right out of graduate school I immediately gravitated towards a few brands for business travel. At the time the big two for me were Delta and Marriott. I’m not sure why I fell in love with Marriott in particular, but I did and that close affinity never really went away even though I have long since divorced Delta. What did go away was how often I stayed at the Marriott Hotel brand itself. Instead I found myself patronizing the JW Marriott, Renaissance or one of the many other brands within the Marriott family. It wasn’t until Marriott approached me to participate in a innovative program that I realized this shift, but there’s no denying it.
I still loved the Marriott brand though and so I accepted their invitation to participate in the Culturazzi event series. The goal of the series is to shine a bright light on the transformation Marriott has undergone in recent years; a coming out party of sorts. What I experienced truly surprised me and once again changed my thoughts about this enduring hotel brand.
Yes, I was compensated for my time and yes it would be easy for me to write a fluff piece, but I haven’t done that and I won’t. Will I gush? Yes, probably but it’s truly heartfelt. For the first time in a long time I felt as if a hotel had listened to its guests and changed the way it does business with us in mind. Not exactly a novel concept, but one that is all too rare sometimes.
As I wrote in an earlier post, when I walked through the lobby with the newly revamped Great Room design I was shocked and amazed at Marriott’s rebirth. Gone was the depressing lobby, long dimly lit hallways and a dodgy bar with a lone businessperson nursing a whiskey and flirting with the waitress. In its place is a grand space, open and well lit, decorated with function and design in mind. Scores of outlets makes it a great place to surf the web, do some work while watching TV, sipping a beer and nibbling on some snacks. In other words, it’s a fun place to be and I wasn’t alone, whenever I walked through this heart of the hotel it was packed with people like me, surfing the web and enjoying the day.
Before I knew it I had fallen in love with Marriott Hotels again, and it felt good. When I travel it’s always a mix of business and pleasure. If it’s business I always find some down time to see the sights and explore and if I’m on vacation, I almost always have to do some work. I don’t think I’m alone either, thanks to our electronic tethers we are always working, even on a beach in Fiji and we need hotels that can accommodate this new lifestyle. The new look and feel of Marriott has made this possible and I couldn’t be happier to be affiliated with them, even if in a very small way.