Arne Sorenson is constantly finding new ways to innovate his business, and in this video interview, he talks about the benefits of working with Expedia, why being at the top can be frustrating, and where he finds inspiration.
PHOENIX—Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson isn’t content for the company to rest on its laurels as the largest hotel company in the world.
“We internally don’t embrace the notion that we are the biggest or that everybody needs to follow us,” he told Hotel News Now in a recent video interview held during The Lodging Conference. “I think that’s a dangerous place for a company to be, because we’ve got to continue to innovate, we’ve got to continue to challenge ourselves to be better.”
Some of those challenges include expanding the company into news sectors, like home sharing and all-inclusive models. They also include striking unique partnerships, like Marriott’s latest deal with Expedia to handle the company’s wholesale rates distribution.
“Innovation is happening everywhere; it’s happening in our business model, it’s happening with these new ventures. … You look around and the pace of change has never been faster,” Sorenson said. “All of that is driving us toward a place where we say we’ve got to make sure the organization is turned on to be open-minded and to innovate, that people broadly in the company have the power to risk something.”
Watch the video interview for Sorenson’s take on Marriott’s Expedia partnership, the company’s newest ventures and where he personally finds innovation:
Sorenson on the Expedia wholesale deal: The wholesale distribution landscape “is often posing risks to us, and I expect our competitors are in the same boat,” he said. “Let’s find a way to make sure our inventory ends up only in (the right) wholesale channels and doesn’t bleed back into other places. … We’re very optimistic they can be helpful to us, and obviously to them, in solving some of that chaos.”
Sorenson on Marriott’s role as a leader: “There are times, honestly, where it gets a little frustrating to have folks look to us and say, ‘Only you can lead the industry in this direction,’” he said. “It can be easy for some of our competitors to lay back and say, ‘Let Marriott take the heat on the change that needs to happen.’ But that comes with the turf, and you do the best you can to navigate through those issues.”
Sorenson on his motivators: “I love being in the hotel and seeing associates who take pride in their work,” he said. “That’s something which has been part of the industry, part of Marriott, for many, many decades and it is the most important part.”