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Last month, I shared 5 Things You Might Not Know About Hyatt, now let’s talk about this hotel giant. Marriott International is one of the largest hotel chains in the world, with more than 8,000 properties across 131 countries and territories. It was founded in 1927 by J. Willard Marriott and has since grown to become a household name. You might think you know all about the brand, but here are five lesser-known things about Marriott:
5. Marriott Started as a Root Beer Stand
Marriott did not start as a hotel chain, but rather as a root beer stand in Washington D.C. in 1927. It was located in front of the A&W Root Beer plant, and J. Willard Marriott served the soft drink to thirsty customers. This later became the Hot Shoppes Restaurant chain and that evolved into today’s Marriott International hotelier. The food served at the Marriott’s first Hot Shoppes included chili and tamales. Alice Marriott made the food in her apartment kitchen and brought it into the first two restaurants as neither of them had a kitchen.
4. Marriott was the First Hotel Chain to Have a Computerized Reservation System
In 1965, Marriott became the first hotel chain to implement a computerized reservation system. The system was called “Marriott’s Automatic Reservation System” (MARS) and was a major innovation in the hospitality industry. It allowed customers to make reservations at any Marriott property around the world, and it was one of the first systems to use real-time availability.
3. Marriott’s First International Hotel was in Acapulco, Mexico
The hotel was called Paraíso del Pacifico and it opened in March of 1969. At the time, it was a glamorous destination and Braniff International Airways was flying passengers direct to Acapulco from the US.
2. Marriott Bonvoy is the Largest Hotel Loyalty Program
Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, is huge. It has over 160 million members and offers a range of benefits such as free nights, room upgrades, and exclusive experiences. Members can also earn points for their stays and redeem them for rewards. While the program is not as rich as it once was (I’m looking at you, Ambassador status), it does a good job of rewarding loyalty. By comparison, Hilton Honors has 146 million members and IHG One Rewards has 100 million.
1. You’ll Find the Book of Mormon in Most Hotel Rooms
Marriott was founded by members of the LDS Church and today you’ll find the Bible and the Book of Mormon in most guest rooms. This tradition has remained since Marriott entered the hotel business in the late 1950s. The company has removed them from some brands like Moxy and Element, but overall, you’ll find both religious works in your nightstand.
Anthony’s Take: Marriott has long been one of my go-to hotel portfolios. I started with Starwood Preferred Guest many years ago and have stayed at some wonderful hotels around the world.
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