Position: Recreation Manager
Hotel: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa
Dream destination: Hawaii
Drink or treat of choice: A protein smoothie with almond milk, protein, blueberries, and banana
What does it look like when your job is overseeing the fun stuff at a fabulous resort with its own waterpark? We asked DJ, a Recreation Manager at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa, which houses a 9-acre water park with its very own 1,100-foot lazy river and many more fun activities and amenities.
“A good day for me starts with a 5 am cardio [session] to get me amped up for the day. Once I get to work at 8 am, I have my coffee, do a waterpark walk-through, and take notes on tasks that need to be rectified,” he explains.
“After I get my notes completed, I check my emails and schedule to make sure everything is aligned. My team arrives and then my focus is setting them up for success by making sure they have everything they need to do their job. The waterpark will then open and from there, it’s about greeting our guests and catering to any needs they may have to ensure they are enjoying their experience.”
Before starting his Marriott journey in 2016, DJ worked as an Operations Manager at the famed Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Texas. Learn all about his experience as an associate, and why he sees himself “staying with Marriott [his] entire career,” below.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I love training and helping mold my team members into great associates. This is very critical in helping us succeed as a department and the reason our guests continue to return.
Which of Marriott’s values resonate most with you?
All the Marriott values are very important to me but the one that resonates the most with me is “Uplifting”. I believe in setting the tone every day for my team and bringing in that positive, high-energy motivation they need to help us take care of our guests and it starts with me.
How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?
I feel welcome and like I’m coming to a family reunion every day. Our leaders make me feel appreciated, set clear goals and expectations, and are always willing to get their hands dirty if need be. I see myself staying with Marriott my entire career.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Our culture is what makes us stand out. We are all about taking care of our guests and pursuing excellence in every category. We treat our associates like family and in doing that they do their best to make sure our guests are happy and continue to return from generation to generation.
Favorite part of working at Marriott?
I enjoy meeting new people from different backgrounds and locations throughout the world. Connecting with our guests is very important to me and I want them to feel like they are visiting their home away from home.
What was your Marriott interview process like, and any tips for candidates who want a role like yours?
I was very nervous about my first Marriott interview, but I was confident because I was prepared, and I had practiced a lot in the mirror. That first impression is everything so when interviewing, I think that if you look good you feel good. Also, having great eye contact and having detailed stories that stand behind the questions being asked.
Describe a moment you felt like a part of a community at Marriott.
What makes our property unique is how we care for the community. Each year we host a golf tournament, and all proceeds go towards the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. We had a family come out to represent the CMN hospital and I was chosen to spend the day with them and show them a great time while at our hotel. This was special to me because it helped me understand I’m an important piece of the Marriott family and giving back is always something I pride myself on.
Describe a moment you felt supported at Marriott.
My team supports me and trusts me with every decision I make. Also, taking time off to visit my family in Houston has never been a challenge. I can take as much time as I need to enjoy personal time and that is a great example of work/life balance.
Proudest moment of your career so far?
During Christmas time, I went to the San Antonio Hospital with Santa and met with cancer patients. I was able to play games and do art projects with them. Just seeing them in high spirits and being a part of that was uplifting for me.