Oct 13, 2021 - Economy

One-on-one with Stephanie Linnartz of Marriott International

Stephanie Linnartz of Marriott International in 2018.

Stephanie Linnartz of Marriott International in 2018. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

“People are dying for experiences now more than ever,” Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott International president, tells Axios.

  • “Leisure travel in many states and parts of the world is beating 2019,” Linnartz notes, speaking on the sidelines of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.

Why it matters: The economy is swinging back toward spending on services, but low wages and working conditions have caused record numbers of people to quit the industry.

  • Leisure and hospitality workers quit at a 6.4% rate in August, more than double the total rate across all industries.

What she's saying: “We're doing a lot to make sure, as we go out and try to hire people back into our hotels, [that] they see us as a career, not just as a job,” says Linnartz.

  • While the company has raised wages and offered signing bonuses and incentives, Linnartz believes that offering people the opportunity to work their way up differentiates Marriott from competitors. 
  • “People want careers and futures, and I think that’s the magic sauce.”

What we're watching: Even though some aspects of travel will change forever, Linnartz sees remote work and "blesiure" — a blend of business and leisure travel — driving future growth through extended stay bookings.

  • Companies that opt to do away with offices are convening staff together several times a year. And employees who can live anywhere will continue to take advantage of the flexibility, she says.

The bottom line: "While some segments of business may go down, I think new ones will blossom up, and net, net ... I'm very bullish on the future of travel."

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