Marriott CEO Speaks on “Where do We Go From Here?”
Luxury Travel Advisor’s parent company, Questex, owns the International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF), which recently convened in Berlin, bringing over 1,200 senior leaders in global hospitality investment and development together for the first time in 18 months. Tony Capuano kicked off the IHIF conference by speaking about how humbling it was to step into the position of Marriott International’s CEO, following the tragic passing of Arne Sorenson this February. Capuano told the IHIF audience that the day the Marriott board announced his appointment, he received 18,000 emails from colleagues around the world—some on furlough because of the pandemic—offering their support.
He said he’s seen that same collaborative spirit in the entire hospitality industry throughout the pandemic.
“While we all have competitors and we all want to excel on behalf of our shareholders, maybe the most admirable thing about the last 18 months is the way that big brand companies have come together for the benefit of the industry,” said Capuano. “The brands and owners and franchisees have come together to innovate and brainstorm about how best to navigate the crisis. We were faced—and continue to be faced—with a formidable and common crisis, and the collaboration I have seen has been inspiring and should fill us all with optimism.”
The hospitality industry has another crisis to face, that of the ongoing labor shortage. Capuano cited statistics indicating that 20 percent of employees in travel and tourism globally have left the segment permanently.
“That will be among the most significant challenges we have to navigate: How do we restore confidence that this is not only an exciting and interesting industry but an industry where people can build lifelong careers?” said Capuano. “How do we wrestle with some of the employees we will be required to hire who don’t have deep experience in hospitality, and, as a result, we end up with a much steeper training curve?” he said.