School Alumnus and Hall of Fame member Richard Farrar (BA ’73), retired vice president of Owner and Franchise Services with Marriott International, was on campus on Friday, September 27 to speak with students in Dr. Jeff Elsworth’s HB 100 – Introduction to Hospitality Business class.
Richard has been to campus many, many times over the past several years, meeting with, mentoring, and speaking with students, so he has a comfort level in the classroom that is very helpful, according to Dr. Elsworth.
In fact, Richard entertained the students, making his presentation fun and informative. He started with the “big picture,” noting the correlation between lodging industry’s supply and demand and the country’s GDP. He asked pointed questions, and students with the correct answers got candy! He discussed the differences between hotels managed and total rooms managed, saying that the New York Marriott Marquis makes more money for Marriott than all of the Fairfield Inns combined. Indeed, projecting the names of lodging franchise and management companies, Richard told the students that for many of them, “in all likelihood, these are the companies you will work for.”
He went on to talk about the need for innovation in the industry, as well as the importance of branding and creating an image. “The Courtyard lobby remodel effort, which included a Panera and Starbucks ‘look’ cost $750,000 per hotel,” he said. “Multiply that by 600 hotels. This is a big investment just to upgrade the image of the Courtyard.”
Richard went on to discuss the “great opportunities” for graduates in hotel sales, marketing, and revenue management. He also noted the importance of loyalty and rewards programs in retaining customers, and emphasized Marriot’s award winning reservation system – all of which help drive Marriott’s profitability.
“Managers make sure things are done right, day-to-day,” said Richard. “But leaders make sure the right things are done.” He urged the students to strive to be leaders, take on challenging leadership roles, and be willing to learn new jobs.
Dr. Ron Cichy (BA ’72, MBA ’77), School director, said, “Richard learned to ‘Think Like The Owner’ in his owner and franchise services leadership position with Marriott. He is a font of knowledge and a treasure trove of connected relationships with his industry colleagues for our students.”