Marriott Wants To Expand To Manage Restaurants, Spas And Golf Courses – Not Just Hotels

Job listings can offer insight into a company’s strategy. For instance a decade ago a leaked job listing for someone to drive Delta’s revenue-based changes to SkyMiles gave us a couple of years’ advance notice to the dumpster fire that earn and burn would become in that program. An HR job listing at American Airlines tipped the world to the carrier’s CEO succession planning.

Marriott posted a new job on Monday for a “Director, Venue Management Digital Products” and it appears to suggest that the Bethesda, Maryland-based company that manages and markets hotels is looking to expand into management of several different types of venues as well.

The Director of Venue Management Digital Products (Applications) will be responsible for developing software products essential to operating a venue. The scope will focus on dinning venues, spas, golf courses and any similar venue that requires reservation management, menu and online ordering, offers and coupons, loyalty programs, digital payment acceptance and digital receipts.

This role will play a pivotal role in growing the suite of product offerings that Marriott can offer venue operators. We would be operating as B2B2C service provider that can provide services that are agnostic to existing reservation systems and point of sales (POS) systems that can integrate into Marriott’s flagship products like the Bonvoy App, and other customer touchpoints.

This effort will involve a multi-million dollar budget and team of 15 or more people. The chain appears to envision restaurant management, golf course management, and spa management “and any similar venue that requires reservation management, menu and online ordering, offers and coupons, loyalty programs…”

The company managing these postings for Marriott did say the focus would be on “dinning venues” but Marriott has fallen down on providing “dinning” to its Bonvoy members, at least at breakfast during the pandemic.

Marriott has been in several different adjacent businesses in the past. For instance in 1993 Marriott spun off its hotel ownership and airport and highway concessions business into Host Marriott. Then in 1996 Host Marriott again divided with Marriott Services Corporation (now HMSHost) managing concessions that also included sports and entertainment venues.

Now, rather than providing food concessions at sports and entertainment venues, they want to manage the venues themselves it seems.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Perhaps they should focus on improving/fixing their core business first, and then venture off into their side projects?

  2. VX_Flier is spot on. With the “Marriott’s” gone so has the sense of service first last and always. Host International is simply a name/ company run/controlled by “equity capital” where bottom line first last and always. They are so afraid of their franchisees that there is no oversight for consistency quality customer relations.

  3. Marriott’s already been into managing some of this kind of stuff.

    Back before the late 1990s break-up of Marriott into multiple publicly-traded companies, Marriott itself had at least some restaurant type services under its management. Think school cafeteria restaurants and prison food service. Host and a bunch of other stuff were all Marriott before that “break it up to unleash value” meant to also let different Marriott relatives to have a bit more of their own sandbox.

    Marriott is just heading back a bit toward some of the very businesses they’ve been in before.

  4. Maybe they’ll get back into running theme parks. Older folks in Chicago and around Santa Clara heading to Six Flags still say they’re going to “Marriott’s”, since it was originally “Marriott’s Great America”.

    As far as I see it, they’re just creating more ways for their customers to get Bonvoyed.

  5. They can’t manage their existing franchisees. I’d avoid anything Marriott touches because it ends badly. See: Starwood, Bonvoy, etc.

  6. Great America amusement parks were indeed Marriott. They eventually became part of Bally. The Bally with the casino stuff, the Bally that became part of Hilton. Somewhere in there Six Flags got into the scene and grabbed Great America in Illinois. It’s all been one long ride with Marriott, sort of like that creaky American Eagle roller coaster.

  7. Paul,

    Back when I was connected with the Marriotts, they had so many dozens of corporate vehicles affiliated somehow that there was no way for anyone in the company or family to remember all of them by heart.

    Hilton and Starwood’s structures looked like models of spartan simplicity when put next to Marriott.

  8. There is at least one good thing out of this.
    We’ll know which restaurants, spas, and golf courses to avoid.

  9. I seem to remember that Marriott had a role in helping to run the Miami Doral golf resort for a short time. Maybe not the 5 golf courses, but possibly the residential and spa activities were under their control. This was a few years before the Trump organisation purchased it.

  10. “Out of an abundance of caution and customer demand, our groundskeeping crew will only cut the grass once per month.”
    “Out of an abundance of caution and customer demand, we will be transitioning to contactless massages where you massage yourself in the privacy of your own room!”
    “In these unprecedented times, and out of an abundance of caution, we’re offering Grab And Run meals in all our restaurants! Not only are they bland, pathetic imitations of fast food that you can consume over a sink like a rat, but they reflect what you, the consumer, absolutely loves about the restaurant experience!”

  11. Marriott (and all the big brands) know that the franchisees are ready to get out of this business…it was a generational growth curve that investors benefited from and that big brands enjoyed however they have increasingly screwed their franchisees who truly understand this business. Now they look for outside “investors” who have no clue how this business is run and what it takes to operate a hotel and are surprised to find out what is inside…and the operation of their hotels reflects the ignorance. Now that we are (hopefully) on the upward trajectory post COVID, the franchisee is going to liquidate and get out…no longer worth the hassle of dealing with big brand franchise who mandates too much with little revenue to show for it.

    Marriott knows this and wants to expand into other areas, but it has no hands on capabilities..only paper pushers and attorneys to tie up all of its franchisees and bill the deuce out of them. They are technologically way behind every other industry because they have always skimmed off the top of its franchisees…so why invest in technology when the other guy is paying the bills. Don’t let stock prices fool you. There is a difference in investing in stock and investing in their brand….they are worlds apart.

  12. This has nothing to do with managing restaurants & venues, but has everything to do with getting commissions for directing travelers on places to spend their money. No different than open table, trip advisor and everyone else. They already do this today and are simply looking to further expand…nothing to see here.

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