Marriott’s New Photo-Driven Ploy To Attract Millennial Workers

Marriott revamped its job listings to showcase some of the smiling faces of its 203,479 associates on the job. We take a look.

By 2018, millennials will make up half of the workforce, and Marriott wants to ensure it gets the best talent of the future to staff the hotel chain’s 1,408 locations. How? Crowdsourced photos.


Thousands (or maybe millions) of words have spilled about how the largest generation ever approaches employment. Millenials job hop; millenials value job flexibility; millenials want to get paid, but prioritize culture over salary.

That last point is what the hotel behemoth has latched onto as the key to attracting the best workers. Its plan to snag the best twenty-somethings out there is convincing young people that Marriott is a fun, cool place to work–through pictures of its staff having fun on the job. To do that, Marriott has redesigned its job search engine to include images from actual employees.

The site works like any virtual corporate job board. Search by location, skill type, or both, and a string of relevant listings pops up. On a given day, Marriott has openings for between 8,000 and 10,000 positions. Things start to look slightly different and (only slightly) modern once a potential candidate clicks through to an individual job. “We’ve challenged our team to innovate around the job descriptions,” Lance Bloomberg, who works on branding for Marriott’s employment services, told Fast Company. “We think of job descriptions as our point of sale, much like the aisle in a grocery store. This is our opportunity to provide the most useful information to the job seeker. We know this is where they’re making their decisions.”

In addition to the usual rote explanations of required expertise and what jobs entail, the site posts pictures of actual employees in Marriott hotels looking happy to be doing whatever they’re doing, whether it’s hawking beachside tacos or changing tablecloths. This Toronto Marriott listing, for instance, has a picture of eight staff members dressed up in Canadian pride gear. Most of the postings have at least one photo of employees in their native habitats. The images also have share buttons, ostensibly to appeal to a sharing-obsessed generation. “Knowing that so much of how millenials are communicating is via social media, we wanted to provide the opportunity to share this content,” said Bloomberg. Since launching the initiative on October 1, the images have drawn an average of 8,500 daily views. (That calculates to less than a view per listing.)

To get the pictures, back in April Marriott had its associates send in photos from various locations in and around the hotel. Corporate incentivized participation by offering perks to locations that sent in the best or most options. After combing through 17,000 submissions, Marriott picked the images most indicative of the company culture for the job site. The idea is to get prospective employees to “picture yourself here.” “The project was inspired by TripAdvisor,” says Bloomberg.

That’s an odd place to get inspiration to appeal to a younger demographic. TripAdvisor wouldn’t share the age breakdown of its 280 million unique monthly visitors, but this Street article suggests it appeals to an older age group, between 45 and 70 years old. Just looking at the website, it doesn’t have a particularly fresh look, even though the site was redesigned in 2013. A muse along the lines of Airbnb may have made more sense.


HR exec Kristy Godbold claims that no other job search site is doing what Marriott has done, and that may very well be true. But what will really help Marriott attract young people is the middling job market. Millennials are facing higher unemployment rates than any other demographic. And what Marriott has–besides the new slideshows of happy employees–is jobs, employing 203,479 associates worldwide.

About the author

Rebecca Greenfield is a former Fast Company staff writer. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Wire, where she focused on technology news.