For a college student who’s looking to build a hospitality career, Marriott’s Voyage Program is the gold standard. Scratch that — for a college student who’s looking to kickstart their post-grad career, regardless of industry, Marriott’s Voyage Program is platinum.
This isn’t an oversell, let me walk you through it.
Meet Max. Max is entering their senior year of college as a Comms major and has no idea what’s happening post-graduation. Max wants to enter the workforce, to find a full-time, grown-up job, but has no idea where to apply. Max likes working with people and is *really* good at solving programs — they know this from their beloved side gig of working as a restaurant server — but is unsure of how those skills translate in the “real world.”
Max has never considered hospitality as their full-time career (and between you and me, doesn’t even know that it’s a field of study), but at their college’s career fair runs into the Marriott table. A very enthusiastic and patient recruiter explains Voyage — a 12-month program for recent college grads that places them in one of hundreds of Marriott hotels around the country in a manager-level position with full pay and benefits, including paid relocation if they’re choosing to move away from home.
Max is intrigued — could this be the perfect first step in Max’s career? — and heads back to their apartment and applies for the program.
A mere 15-minutes later, Max gets an email prompt to complete the video interview portion. Still looking sharp from the career fair and feeling inspired, Max goes for it and records answers to questions like, “Why are you a fit for this role?” and clicks submit.
Now exhausted but psyched for what’s to come, Max calls it a night.
Over the next week, Max hears back from the same patient, enthusiastic recruiter — they made it to the next round! Per the recruiter’s instructions, Max sends their preferences for location (beach-adjacent, please!) and, department (F&B or Front Desk sound like a fit, given Max’s skillset). Then, Max gets prompted to complete a skills assessment. Taking advantage of schoolwork being light at the moment, Max finishes all the steps and gets back to the recruiter promptly, which seems to help things move pretty fast.
After that, the recruiter schedules a virtual interview for a few days later — thank goodness, because Max (an admitted hospitality newbie) needs time to research and prepare. Max has also never used Microsoft Teams before, so they practice a few times with their roommate to get the lighting and background just right.
That preparation pays off, and Max crushes the interview.
Just one week later… Max has an offer! The position: An F&B Voyager at a beach-adjacent hotel, just as requested! Wow, a real, full-time job at a Fortune 500 company with salary, benefits and full relocation support — Marriott is even introducing Max to other Voyagers in the new city for potential future roommates. Max accepts.
It’s only October and graduation isn’t until May — and Max already has an actual, grown-up job lined up. Life is good.
Jump forward a few years, and Max is the Director of Operations at a different hotel with even better beach views. Max has been promoted a handful of times, is very satisfied with their comp and benefits (especially being able to land cheap hotel rates with the Marriott associate travel discount), adores the team culture, and has even been nominated for a corporate leadership development program by their boss. Life is good.
Max is a representation — an amalgamation, if you will — of the thousands of college students who have entered Marriott’s Voyage Program and built robust, successful careers as a result. In addition to being a shining light of opportunity for those with uncertain trajectories (cough cough, Max!), the Voyage Program also serves as the kick-start for students with laser-focused career paths:
- Big dreams of becoming a luxury GM?
- Passionate about finance but bored with banks?
- Hopes of a chef career with maximum stability?
Okay, we’ve convinced you — the Marriott Voyage Program is the best. Now, to walk through all the nitty-gritty details like salary, benefits, eligibility and more, we tapped two experts for the U.S. and Canada Voyage Program:
- Sarah D’Angelo, Director, Talent Acquisition + University Recruitment
- Michael Wiszowaty, Senior Manager, University Relations + Recruiting
Let’s get through those FAQs. Keep in mind that these answers are specific to U.S. and Canada.
When did Marriott Voyage Program start? How long has it been around?
Sarah: Marriott has had a management training program for a long time and has been through many iterations. Voyage grew out of all of that in 2012. We realized that the training program we were providing was not sufficient; we needed to give students a true training and onboarding experience that would help grow them into great leaders.
Is this a global program? Can I be a Voyager in French wine country if I currently live in Idaho?
Sarah: Voyage is offered in over 50 countries. However, it’s important to note that in order to work in ANY country, you require work authorization there. (We do not sponsor work visas for the Voyage Program here in the U.S.) We recommend that you always start Voyage where you already have that work authorization, which is likely your “home” country.
Who is eligible to be a Voyager?
Sarah: All Voyagers must have work authorization in the country for which they’re applying AND either be a current senior who graduates with a bachelor’s degree prior to the program starting or be a recent graduate who has received their bachelor’s degree within the past 24 months. It’s a small window to qualify for Voyage, because it is truly meant to be an entry-level leadership position.
How long is the Marriott Voyage Program?
Sarah: The Voyage Program is typically 12 months in the U.S. (though it can run longer) and Canada and can be up to 18 months internationally.
How much does the Marriott Voyage Program pay?
Sarah: It varies based on the location and discipline you choose, but no one makes less than $45,450 annually. You can make up to $76,230 if you are in NYC and in accounting.
What type of schedule can a Voyager anticipate?
Sarah: Typically, Voyagers are scheduled for 40-hour work weeks, but can sometimes work a little more or a little less than that depending on the hotel’s business demand. All Voyagers are also eligible for overtime, so if you work more, you’ll make more! Because hotels are a 24/7 operation, most Voyagers can expect to work weekends and holidays—it’s just the nature of our business.
What types of benefits do Marriott Voyagers receive?
Sarah: As full-time Marriott associates, you’re eligible for all the same benefits as any other full-time associate. What’s more: we pay to relocate you to your city of choice, help you find roommates before day one, and for certain departments, provide sign-on bonuses (looking at you, Culinary and Engineering).
Are there remote Voyage roles or all in-person?
Sarah: The heart of our business is hotel operations—hotels can’t function without great customer service and a strong housekeeping team, which requires associates to be in person to make it work. Therefore, 99% of all Voyage roles are in-person. One exception currently is a Sales Voyager, but Sales Voyagers make up 1% of all our Voyage hires, making them incredibly competitive. Getting your foot in the door with Marriott is just the first part of your journey; once part of our team, you can easily change departments in the future. (Don’t believe us? Here’s just one of the many stories of hotel internal mobility.)
When does the Voyage Program officially start?
Sarah: We have start dates in January, February, June, July, and a small handful in September. A new Voyager is eligible to start their position following graduation. For example, if you graduate in May, you could start in either June or July, depending on any summer vacation plans.
How many recent grads get hired every year as Voyagers?
Michael: In the 2022-23 academic calendar, we received 6,700+ applications and hired 600+ Voyagers.
Is it only for hospitality majors?
Michael: No way. Disciplines include Rooms Operations, Front Office, Food & Beverage, Event Management, Accounting & Finance, Culinary, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Revenue Management, Sales, Housekeeping, and Banquets.
Sarah: For culinarians, we are seeking students who have a culinary arts degree, or have significant experience “working the line” if their degree is in another field of study. Culinary Voyagers can expect to be working in the kitchen, so having proper knife skills and training is a must. For facilities management engineers (we use the term “engineer” to describe the people who keep the hotel in working order, anything from lightbulbs to fire alarms), we are seeking students who have previous experience or a degree in facilities management — being able to fix an HVAC system or a water main break will come in handy! For accountants, we are seeking students who are accounting majors or accounting minors. While we do accept other majors, those who don’t have an accounting background may not be interested in the Accounting & Finance Voyage Program since it is managerial accounting based.
What happens over the course of the Program?
Michael: During your Voyage, you will be able to immerse yourself in the operations of your specific discipline and in other disciplines through mini-departmental rotations. Though you will be able to have some hands-on in multiple departments, this is not a rotational training program as you will be spending 95% of your time in your specific discipline. To supplement your hands-on development, you are assigned the Voyage curriculum which allows you to learn specific discipline and departmental training. In addition, as a Voyager, you have formal monthly rap sessions with your Property Coach (direct manager) and formal quarterly rap sessions with your Property Champion (executive hotel member). These rap sessions help ensure that you have both the support and knowledge in your program to be successful in your new Marriott career!