Hotels

Finding “human capital” the biggest challenge for Marriott’s regional VP

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Marriott’s vice president for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific said matching the demand for staff with the supply of hotels in the region remains his biggest challenge.

Speaking to Travel Weekly at the third annual Destination Pacific Islands showcase in Sydney earlier this week, Sean Hunt said securing the right staff to fill Marriott International’s 1,000 Asia-Pacific properties (700 built and around 300 to open) is one of his constant battles.

“They all need general managers, directors of sales and marketing, directors of finance, directors of IT – and to find that human capital is increasingly competitive,” he said.

“We [Marriott International] are not the only company growing – our competitors are growing as well.”

Hunt, 53, joined the world’s largest hotel company after it acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2016, where he was employed as regional vice president. He maintains his recruitment was a “small part” of the hotel company’s transaction.

This year, Hunt and his team have been celebrating their 50th hotel in the region. But although Marriott reached its goal set in 2016, he says Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific remain “geographically challenging”.

“As you know, it’s five hours across the middle of Australia … we have Tahiti and Samoa – five to six hours flight from here. Getting around up to the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas is three hours, and another hour-and-a-half by road.

“Getting around the portfolio takes time, so that’s challenging. But what’s exciting is the growth,” he told Travel Weekly.

On Tuesday, Marriott opened Canberra’s first Autograph Collection hotel, while the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Perth in November will see the brand’s return to Australia.

Hunt also revealed Hobart will open Tasmania’s first Marriott hotel with The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in September next year.

Staying relevant and engaging in a competitive environment is another of Marriott’s constant challenges, Hunt acknowledged.

“[We] continue to reinvent ourselves … and to listen to our customers,” he said.

“Are we the best at it and do we get it right all the time? No, I don’t think we do. But I think we consistently try and consistently change to ensure we’re relevant to our customers.”

Moving forward, Hunt said creating more opportunities for connection through more properties in the region and understanding Millennials have “a different way of looking at the world” was a key part of staying relevant for the next generation.

“They [Gen Z and Millennials] value looking after the planet … and they look at the world differently,” he said, “but we also have [older guests] as well, so how do we make sure we don’t alienate them as well? It’s continually making sure that we are relevant.”

Hunt qualified that although there were certainly older guests concerned with the environment and the social responsibility of brands they associate themselves with, the next generation seems to be even more so concerned.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Cruise

Tourism

Travel Agents

Digital travel ad impressions up 40 per cent says Nielsen Ad Intel

Looks like your marketing team’s efforts are paying off, with ads views climbing dramatically in Australia following the most recent lockdown.

Share

CommentComments

News

Tourism

OMICRON: WHO urges those over 60 to cancel travel plans as SA tightens restrictions

The UN health authority warned countries that blanket bans don’t work, while an Aussie epidemiologist says the government’s current restrictions won’t make much difference.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Planeterra launches holiday fundraising for community tourism

Not sure what to get your colleague for Secret Santa? They’ll be hard-pressed to complain about a donation in their name to support community tourism projects.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WATCH: Rebel Wilson stars as glam castaway in new Tourism Fiji ad

The Aussie actress channels Tom Hanks’ Castaway in this latest campaign for Tourism Fiji, However, we’re not convinced Hanks could pull off the metallic dress as well as Wilson does.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Club Med opens first Canada property, reveals plans for new Utah ski resort

Those who enjoy the ease of an all-inclusive resort stay will be stoked to learn about Club Med’s latest spate of winter wonderland offerings.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Norwegian Cruise Line unveils its largest deployment in history

Batten down the hatches because NCL has released its 2024/25 line up including brand-new homeports in Haifa, Israel and La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

US flight attendants rush back to self-defence in face of rising passenger unruliness

In order to avoid a drunken sky-high fight club breaking out, crewmembers are taking to the studio to keep the peace.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Accor introduce global portfolio of boutique hotels and luxurious resorts, Emblems Collection

A new line of luxury hotels and resorts are what we need to bring the world out of the global pandemic and into an opulent fantasy that only a Disney princess could think up.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Bali had 6.3 million tourists in 2019, in the first 9 months of 2021 it had 43

With tourism rates in Bali so low, we imagine that even Schapelle Corby would be gladly welcomed back.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism

Destination NSW Launches Vibrant “Feel New Sydney” Campaign

Destination NSW unveils “Feel New Sydney” work. Just don’t expect the locals to be pleasant or let you in when driving.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Destinations

News

Tourism

Fiji welcomes first flight of international visitors in 20 months as borders open

Sydneysiders touched down yesterday to a big bula welcome almost two years in the making!

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

I Love New York launches new training course for travel agents. Enter for your chance to win!

Calling all Aussie travel agents! Complete the training by the end of January 2022 and you could win a New York-style “za” for you and your team!

Share

CommentComments