Our Story of Innovation

At Marriott, we never stop searching for inventive ways to serve our customers, provide opportunities for our associates, and grow our business. The company that began as a nine-seat A&W root beer stand is recognized today as a top employer and for its superior business operations, which it conducts based on five core values: put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity, and serve our world.


1927-1956

It all began with an A&W root beer stand. Founder J. Willard Marriott and his wife, Alice, got their young business off the ground by quenching people’s thirst during Washington D.C.’s hot, muggy summers. Good food and good service at a fair price became a guiding principle for Hot Shoppes restaurants--and for Marriott International as it grew.

1927

Newlyweds J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, along with business partner Hugh Colton, open the first A&W root beer franchise in Washington, D.C.

1927

The Marriotts add hot food items to their menu--a first for A&W franchises--and the name "Hot Shoppes" is born.

1928

The Marriotts open two more Hot Shoppes, including the East Coast's first drive-in restaurant.

1937

In-flight airline catering debuts when Hot Shoppes begins delivery of boxed lunches to passengers at Hoover Airport, south of Washington, D.C.

1953

Hot Shoppes, Inc. stock becomes public at $10.25/share and sells out in two hours of trading.

1957-1985

Marriott made a historic shift into the hotel business in 1957. The world’s first motor hotel opened in Arlington, Virginia, under the management of J. Willard Marriott’s son, Bill. Over the next 25 years, Marriott became a diverse global enterprise, and Bill Marriott became a visionary CEO whose leadership transformed the hospitality industry.

1959

Key Bridge Marriott opens. Two-year-old Debbie Marriott, Bill and Donna’s daughter, snips the ribbon.

1969

Marriott opens its first international hotel in Acapulco, Mexico.

1972

Marriott partners with Sun Line, becoming the first lodging company to enter the cruise business.

1972

J.W. Marriott, Jr. is named Chief Executive Officer of Marriott.

1983

Marriott debuts lodging for business travelers with the first Courtyard hotel.

1984

The first JW Marriott, named in honor of founder J. Willard Marriott, opens in downtown Washington, D.C.

1985

J. Willard Marriott, Sr. passes away, and J.W. Marriott, Jr. is elected Chairman of the Board.

1986-2011

One company, many brands--that's the innovative model that Marriott began building in the late 1980s. From pioneering the extended-stay business to launching distinctive brands geared toward the business traveler to increasing its presence overseas, Marriott International broke new ground in its quest to become the #1 hospitality company in the world.

1987

With the opening of the first Fairfield Inn and Marriott Suites hotels, Marriott becomes the first lodging company to offer a portfolio of brands.

1987

Marriott acquires Residence Inn and pioneers the extended-stay lodging business.

1988

Marriott opens its 500th hotel in Warsaw, Poland, the first western-managed hotel in Eastern Europe.

1995

Marriott brings a historic brand into its portfolio when it acquires a 49% interest in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

1997

Marriott acquires Renaissance Hotel Group, doubling Marriott’s presence overseas.

1997

Marriott launches TownePlace Suites.

1998

Marriott launches SpringHill Suites by Marriott.

1999

Marriott acquires ExecuStay corporate housing company.

2000

Marriott International co-founder Alice Sheets Marriott passes at the age of 92.

2004

The first Bulgari Hotels & Resorts property opens in Milan, Italy.

2008

Bill Marriott and Ian Schrager officially announce the EDITION brand.

2009

Marriott launches Autograph Collection, a new brand of upscale and luxury independent hotels.

2011

AC Hotels by Marriott brand formally launches.

2012 & Beyond

Today we are on a mission to shape the future of travel through technology and innovation. From mobile check-in and lobby Greatrooms to transforming the meeting experience with our Red Coat Direct app, we are making travel more brilliant for our guests.

2012

Arne Sorenson becomes President and CEO of Marriott International.

2012

Marriott acquires Gaylord Hotels Brand adding five hotels and approximately 2 million square feet of meeting and event space.

2013

Marriott debuts MOXY HOTELS – The new brand is the company’s first entry into the economy tier, three-star hospitality segment in Europe.

2013

Design-focused AC Hotels by Marriott brand is imported into the Americas.

2014

Marriott nearly doubles distribution in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms with its acquisition of Protea Hotels’ Brands.

2015

2015: Marriott International acquires Delta Hotels and Resorts®; Becomes the Largest Full-Service Hotelier in Canada.

2016

Marriott International acquires Starwood Hotels & Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company with 5,700+ properties offering more than 1.1 million rooms across 30 brands in over 110 countries.

Classic Photos

J. Willard and Alice Sheets Marriott

Early 1930s

Family photo in car

Clockwise, J. Willard, Alice, Richard, Duke & Bill 1945

Bethesda Hot Shoppe

J.W. Marriott, Jr. at the Bethesda, Maryland Hot Shoppe

J. Willard & Alice Marriott

1950

Bill and fiancée Donna Garff at Fairfield Farm

1954

Ensign J.W. Marriott, Jr. with his Jaguar XK-120

1954

John, Stephen & Debbie Marriott

1963

Marriott Family, ca. 1973

Left to right: Bill, Debbie, John, Alice, J. Willard, Richard, Stephen, Donna, David, Karen, Sandy, Nancy, Mary Alice & Julieanne

J. Willard & Alice Sheets Marriott at Fairfield Farm

ca. 1978