Background of the Hospitality Pioneer
There are a large number of prominent pioneers/leaders who changed the face of the hospitality and tourism industry. These leaders have either introduced something new to the tourism and hospitality sector or improved the existing practices in the industry. The lodging pioneers such as J.W Bill Marriott, Cesar Ritz, and Steve A. Wynn and food and beverage/club pioneers like Howard Schultz have made invaluable contributions to the hospitality and tourism industry. The following part discusses the background of these four hospitality pioneers.
J.W Bill Marriott
John Willard Bill Marriott Jr. is an American lodging pioneer who is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Marriot International. Marriott completed his primary school studies from the St. Albans School in Washington and gained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Utah. He joined the Marriot Corporation in 1956 and served the company for decades in different roles such as Executive Vice President, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. Bill is well known for the revenue management practice that he introduced to the hotel industry. He was nominated for the Hotel Travel Personality of the Year award in the year of 2006.
Cesar Ritz was a pioneer in the hotel and lodging industry who founded several hotels including the popular ones like The Ritz Hotel in London and the Hotel Ritz in Paris. As Sherwood and Fallon point out, considering his contributions to hotel industry, Ritz was known in the nickname ‘king of hoteliers, and hoteliers to kings’ (p.na). At the age of 15, Ritz joined as an apprentice in a hotel in Brig and was later fired by the patron of the hotel claiming that Ritz would never add any value to the hotel business. He left to Paris where he obtained extensive exposure to hotel management and eventually became a successful hotelier. By the late 1890s, Ritz became a busy hotelier who was responsible for managing the business of several hotel chains in different countries. He died on 26th October 1918.
Steve A. Wynn
Stephen Alan Steve Wynn is an American business tycoon prominent for his significant contributions to the casino and hotel industry. Steve Wynn earned graduation from The Manlius School in New York and improved his knowledge base of topics like cultural anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. In his early career, Wynn obtained an opportunity to manage the construction and daily activities of a number of historically important hotels including Golden Nugget, The Mirage, and Treasure Island. His contributions to the rejuvenation and expansion of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s were priceless. Currently, as Stutz reports, Wynn is the CEO and Chairman of the Board in Wynn Resorts and his net worth represents $2.9 billion as of May 2015 (Stutz, “New mix of Nevadans..”).
Howard D. Schultz is an American pioneer in the food and beverage industry, and he was the former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics. Currently he is well known as the CEO and the Chairman of Starbucks. Schultz studied in the Canarsie High School, and upon completing the graduation he joined Xerox Corporation as a salesperson. In 1979, he served the role of a general manager for a Swedish coffee business where he charged with the responsibility of managing the company’s US operations. Subsequently he joined Starbucks as the Director of Marketing. As Arnold cites, Schultz became the co-founder of Maveron investment group in 1998 with Dan Levitan (496). He invited negative attention and put his company into trouble when he commented that the economy of the Western Europe, particularly UK was extremely vulnerable in the wake of the global financial crisis 2009.
Leadership Style and Characteristics
It is obvious that every successful leader has a unique leadership style that helps them accomplish their goals and objectives by contributing significantly to the growth of the organization they serve. In the following session, the leadership style and characteristics of the chosen hospitality pioneers will be discussed.
J.W Bill Marriott
While analyzing the leadership style of Marriot, it seems that he pays particular focus to the approach of putting the people first. Marriot strongly believed that actually employees make the different in the hospitality business, and hence he strived specifically to keep his workforce motivated. He increasingly emphasized on the importance of providing career growth opportunities for people in developing a potential workforce. According to the report of American Foundation for the Blind, Marriot has pointed that roughly 50% of his general managers have been with the organization for more than 25 years, and most of them started their career in the company as hourly workers (American Foundation for the Blind). Hence, Marriot’s people-focused leadership style has assisted him to retain skilled and potential employees to the organization and thereby improve the overall quality of the business. In the viewpoint of Marriot, when employees feel that their company really cares for them, they would take sincere efforts to add value to the firm’s reputation.
Cesar Ritz used charismatic and visionary leadership styles to influence his followers and to make best out of them. Ritz focuses specifically on guest experience believing that customers are always true. He created better physical environment for employees and trained them specifically to meet the standards of service excellence. Ritz was an innovative leader who always encouraged employee creativity and involvement believing that the quality of employee contributions determines the growth of the hospitality sector. Respect for staff was one of the key characteristics of Ritz’s leadership style, and this quality helped him become a great hotelier. Furthermore, he often used unconventional worksite strategies to get things done and took some level of risks to meet targets.
Steve A. Wynn
Like Bill Marriot, Wynn also follows a people-oriented leadership approach. The premise of his leadership policy is that when the organization takes care of its employees, they in turn would take better care of the guest and the situation would ultimately contribute to greater client satisfaction. He adds that if employees are worried, they cannot make the visitors happy as they may tend to care for themselves. The central aspect of Wynn’s leadership strategy is that the morale of the crew can have a great influence on the overall performance of the organization. While analyzing his leadership traits, it is obvious that his courageous and risk taking attitude made him a successful global leader.
Howard Schultz adopted transformational or democratic leadership approach to keep his audience motivated and to improve their operational outcomes. He seeks feedbacks and suggestions from his employees through personal calls and emails. Schultz encourages employee involvement in decision making because he believes that sharing of ideas and brainstorming sessions would enhance the quality of decisions made. Another important leadership quality of Schultz is that he promotes the idea of flexible working as he thinks that this worksite strategy would aid the staff to maintain an effective tie between their work life and family life, which is a key to meeting employee satisfaction. Evidences suggest that the features of transformational leadership such as individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence, and inspirational motivation have contributed to Schultz’s fame as a successful leader.
Primary leadership quality for today’s hospitality leaders
Currently the hospitality industry has grown beyond all finite limits, and unsurprisingly the degree of competitive rivalry too is high. In this context, it is really crucial for hospitality leaders to be more competitive in addressing the ongoing changes occurring in the market environment and to confront the market rivals successfully. The following session will explore the primary leadership quality modeled by the chosen hospitality pioneers that seems to be significant for today’s hospitality leaders to incorporate into their own leadership style.
J.W Bill Marriott
Undoubtedly, Marriott’s leadership strategy (putting the people first) itself is his primary leadership quality that may be followed by current hospitality leaders to enhance their operational efficiency. It is obvious that employees can really make differences in the today’s hospitality sector because it is purely a service-oriented industry. In other words, the workforce is an invaluable asset for a service industry like hospitality business. In addition, today employees have great exposure to a range of potential employment opportunities, particularly if they possess a long-term work experience. Hence, employees may leave an organization if it fails to meet their interests appropriately and the situation in turn would add to the firm’s recruitment and training costs unreasonably. Hence, it is strongly suggestible for the modern hospitality leaders to focus primarily on their people (workforce).
Employee empowerment is recognized to be the primary leadership quality of Ritz that can be adopted by current hospitality leaders to strengthen their leadership approach. In the current highly competitive business landscape, it is senseless to follow the autocratic leadership approach where the leader thinks that he knows everything better than his employees and hence he does not need to listen to them. It is strongly recommendable for today’s hospitality leaders to foster employee creativity and involvement so as to promote shared efforts for achieving the goals and objectives of the organization. Providing employees with the opportunities to learn and explore things, the business can improve its competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Steve A. Wynn
While evaluating the primary leadership quality of Wynn that is advisable for current hospital leaders to adopt, it is nothing but his people-focused policy. Like Wynn did, the modern leaders must realize the significance of enhancing the staff morale, which is crucial factor influencing workforce productivity. In order to keep employees committed to the organization, it is vital to consider their worksite concerns and other issues. When a leader takes sincere efforts to ensure the wellbeing of his followers, they are more likely to be grateful to the leader as well as the organization. At this point, employees may go beyond their job responsibilities to help the organization meet its short-term and long-term objectives. In short, people-focused leadership culture may assist modern hospitality leaders to obtain a competitive edge over market rivals.
Schultz’s primary leadership quality is he strives to provide his subordinates with a relaxed worksite environment where they can excel at performing their tasks with greater efficiency. In the busy modern life, people often find it difficult to manage their job responsibilities and family obligations simultaneously and this problem seems to inhibit their workplace performance. This issue could be resolved to a great extent if employees are given the opportunity to opt their flexible working hours. Increased employee productivity, enhanced employee morale, reduced absenteeism are some of the major benefits of the flexible working strategy. Therefore, it would be better for today’s hospitality leaders to adopt a friendly attitude towards meeting the workplace needs of employees.
Comparison of pioneers/leaders
While comparing and contrasting the backgrounds, early family and childhood experiences, education, work experiences, and leadership of the four chosen tourism and hospitality pioneers/leaders, it seems that there are some similarities between J.B Bill Marriot and Steve A. Wynn, and Cesar Ritz and Howard Schultz. Both Marriot and Wynn were born in families with strong financial backgrounds. In addition, both the leaders achieved higher education from reputed universities and expressed their social commitment. To illustrate, as per the records of Boy Scouts of America, Marriot is a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award whereas Wynn is interested to broaden his knowledge base of human-related topics like cultural anthropology (Boy Scouts of America). The fathers of Marriot and Wynn had been running hospitality business at the time of their birth and early childhood, and hence they gained an extensive exposure to this business sector in the early stages of their life. Another significant similarity between these two is that both of them were members of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
The positive attitude of both Marriot and Wynn towards social involvement could be linked to their leadership styles, putting the people first approach and people-oriented approach respectively. Both these leaders believed that employees can plan an inevitable role in enhancing the guest experience in the hospitality sector and hence they focused particularly on meeting the needs of their workforce. This people-focused leadership culture greatly assisted both Marriot and Wynn to become world’s reputed hoteliers.
Cesar Ritz and Howard Schultz were born and raised in poor families. At the age of fifteen, Ritz was forced to become an apprentice in a hotel at Brig due to his poor artistic leanings. As mentioned already, he was terminated from the job by the patron of the hotel claiming that he was good for nothing. Subsequently he left to Paris to grow his career. As Schultz’s family had a poor financial background, he focused more on sports like basketball, baseball, and football. He was awarded a scholarship to the Northern Michigan University considering his excellence in sports and athletics. When Ritz started his career as a hotel waiter, Schultz joined Xerox Corporation as a salesperson after graduating. Compared to Marriot and Wynn, Ritz and Schultz had limited career growth opportunities, and hence they struggled hard to achieve a reputed position in the hospitality world.
However unlike the case of Marriot and Wynn, the leadership styles of Ritz and Schultz were not very identical. When Ritz adopted a charismatic leadership approach, Schultz followed the transformational leadership style to influence and inspire his followers. In the case of Ritz, his unconventional leadership ideologies coupled with the risk taking attitude benefited him to outperform his rivalries. In contrast, Schultz emphasized on concepts like individualized consideration and inspirational motivation and listened carefully to employee suggestions so as to meet client satisfaction. Despite these differences, both of them are strong leaders who are capable of dealing with unfavorable conditions efficiently.
Arnold, Glen. Corporate Financial Management. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.
American Foundation for the Blind. “Discussion on Leadership and Values Between Carl R. Augusto and J.W. Marriott, Jr”. Web 10 July 2015. http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/events-and-awards/american-foundation-for-the-blind-leadership-conference-2014/bill-marriott-on-leadership/1235
Boy Scouts of America. Fact Sheet. Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Web 10 July 2015. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/02-529.pdf
Sherwood, James B and Fallon, Ivan. Orient Express: A Personal Journey. Biteback Publishing, 2012. Print.
Stutz, Howard. “New mix of Nevadans make Forbes 400 list of 'Richest People' in U.S”. Las Vega Review Journal, September 16, 2013. Web 10 July 2015. http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/new-mix-nevadans-make-forbes-400-list-richest-people-us