On Wednesday, CNBC will air a detailed look into Marriott International’s global hotel empire with the documentary “Hotel: Behind Closed Doors at Marriott.” The hour-long piece, hosted by Scott Wapner of “Fast Money Halftime Report,” will give viewers a glimpse into the lodging giant’s past, present, and future plans.
“At CNBC, we’ve done documentaries on many large, Fortune 500 companies. Marriott is hard to ignore,” says Wapner. “They are the largest, publicly traded hotel company in the world, so it seemed like a natural fit. Everybody travels. Probably 99 percent of the public has stayed in a hotel, and most of those people have no idea what it takes to actually run a hotel.”
Wapner and his crew spent nearly six months researching, filming, and traveling to different Marriott locations around the world. The piece shows five different facets of the family-owned company ranging from its history to its ambitious expansion plans in India—an emerging global market where hotel development still has its difficulties.
“India is one of Marriott’s biggest growth markets. A lot of people would look towards China, and certainly Marriott has huge plans and many properties there, but India is really a place that Marriott has targeted,” says Wapner. “India is still a country of contrast. It proved to be a good place for us to go—not only to see Marriott’s new frontier, but also all the challenges that come along with it.”
The documentary also features a day-in-the-life look at what it takes to operate a big box property by visiting the 43-story, 1,400-room New Orleans Marriott. The segment covers everything from how guestrooms are cleaned to how food is served for large banquets and events. The documentary crew was also on hand as managers and staff of the hotel prepared for Hurricane Isaac as it barreled down on the Louisiana city, seven years after Katrina.
Wapner says that one of the most interesting parts of the documentary relates to how Marriott, and other hotels, determine hotel-room prices.
“We all try to get the best rate and we all have our own methods for trying to get that rate,” says Wapner. “But I don’t think anybody knows just how much effort hotel companies put into figuring out the science of room pricing. They go to great lengths to really maximize every single penny that comes out of the system.”
The Ritz-Carlton brand also gets its share of the spotlight in the film. CNBC wanted to present an in-depth look at the iconic, luxury brand that acts as an independently owned division of Marriott International.
“We really wanted to find out what the essence of a Ritz is,” says Wapner. “What it boils down to is an insane attention to detail. It’s a really interesting company because they strive for absolute perfection—in the way the hotels look, in the way their guests are treated, and in the way employees act. They up the ante and take it to the next level.”
Wapner hopes that the documentary, which airs at 9 p.m. EST/PST, will help consumers understand just how much effort and hard work is behind every single successful hotel stay.
“I hope that as guests travel to their next hotel room, they will think about all what goes into feeding them, cleaning their rooms, and making their stays more enjoyable.” he says. “There is an army of people behind the scenes that works to pull it off without a hitch.”