Owning a Marriott: Tips
Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Apoorva Gandhi, VP, Multicultural Affairs, Marriott International: That’s very interesting. Speaking of business value, do you have guidance for our listeners who might be thinking, “I like what Marriott is doing here?”
You’re really capitalizing on some of the demographic trends that you just mentioned. Some of our listeners might have an interest in acquiring or investing in a Marriott branded hotel.
What types of experiences do you think are vital in succeeding as a branded Marriott hotel owner?
In my travels in my corporate career, there are many places where I feel like a minority because of the demographic of the room.
One place in the world where I’m probably not a minority is when I talk with hotel owners. There, I am part of the majority, which is a great feeling. I can roll in and say whatever I think, and everyone agrees with me all the time. It’s great.
Owning a Marriott: South Asian Tendencies
All kidding aside, the good news is, for Indians in particular, it’s very much in the blood. We are great entrepreneurs. It’s not just a stereotype. It’s true.
If you look at the demographics in the United States, it shows our success as a culture here. The business environment and entrepreneurship that happens in India is amazing as well.
Here are a couple of things for folks who are interested in getting involved in hotel ownership.
Owning a Marriott: Represent Community
We host something called a Diversity Ownership seminar a couple of times a year. At Marriott, it’s very important to us that we have a great pipeline of diverse owners.
We have a program around that and we’re very proud of our commitment. We want to have folks who own our hotels in the community who represent that community. It’s really critical to us.
Owning a Marriott: Attend Seminars
We host these things called “So you want to own a hotel 101.” We talk about what it means to own a hotel. What’s the capital outlay? How does the process work?
We demystify it a bit. With Indians, it doesn’t take much to demystify it because there are so many Indians already involved in our business. With other cultures, we do need to spend time to help people understand. It’s not easy, but it’s not such an insurmountable thing.
Owning a Marriott: Entrepreneurial Attitude
What we look for are folks who have that entrepreneurial attitude.
A lot of times, we’re not the first business that they have. Many times, these are folks who already own a Dunkin Donuts, Subway or a frozen yogurt business.
Maybe they’ve done pretty well. Maybe they’re looking to do something different. Maybe they want to get to the next level of entrepreneurship and being their own boss.
We find that we might be their second or third entrepreneurial venture. It’s not easy.
People may have the capital or we show them ways that they can get the capital to get started. They may start off with one of our brands like Fairfield Inn & Suites or TownePlace Suites. They are our select service brands, which are mostly franchised. They can go at it from that perspective.
Owning a Marriott: Good Track Record
We’re looking for people who have a good track record.
We are a great brand. Our returns for our owners are fantastic. Everyone who has been in a hotel knows that it’s a lot of work. We Indians are used to it.
It’s about having that entrepreneurial attitude. That’s what we look for.
Are you interested in owning a Marriott hotel? Tell us what intrigues you in the comments section below.
The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Apoorva Gandhi
The entire interview transcript is at: Apoorva Gandhi NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – The Intersection of Indian Culture and Hospitality Industry
Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show
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Listen to the entire interview on iTunes