Name: Taylor S.
Position: Event Operations Voyager
Hotel: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
Dream destination: Colmar, France.
Drink or treat of choice: Ice-cold Dr. Pepper
From experiencing the “behind the scenes” of a hotel to gaining access and advice from Marriott’s top leaders, our Voyage Program is the best of its kind for hands-on, early career, leadership development. Okay, we might be a tad biased, so take it from associates like Taylor, an Event Operations Voyager at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
Since starting the program in the summer of 2023, Taylor has gotten to experience and learn new tasks almost every day, like helping organize a 1,000-person event for the first time.
“The evening started with a reception, moved to a seated dinner, and ended with an afterparty,” says Taylor. “With a team of over 40 servers, we were able to pull off an amazing plated dinner and an afterparty that included more than 10 bars and 15 tables of midnight snacks. Not only are events this size a great opportunity to see our team in action, but also it allows us to test our strengths and weaknesses.”
Another highlight for Taylor was being able to sit down for a one-on-one chat with her hotel’s Resort Manager and receive unique and personal advice. “Getting to talk about my goals and plans with my Voyage experience and beyond was a really impactful experience,” says Taylor.“Discussing your goals and plans with someone with more than 20 years of experience in hotels and in Marriott helps you see where you might need to pivot, gain more experience in a specific skill, and learn what looks realistic for you.”
If you’re interested in the Marriott Voyage Program, here’s a step-by-step overview of the Voyage application process.
For more about Taylor’s journey, learn from her own experience below.
What are some of your responsibilities on a regular day?
My typical day to day includes lots of paperwork, leading servers on their functions, collaborating with other managers, and working with other departments within our property to provide outstanding events for our guests. I have enjoyed getting the opportunity to shadow servers, housemen, and my fellow managers to learn more about our department and better understand the specifics of event and banquet setups. There is so much that goes into each room set and even the smallest buffet that I am now privy to, I absolutely appreciate everything everyone has taught me so far.
How did you end up in the Marriott Voyage program?
I found the Voyage program online last summer during an events internship. My goal was to continue my management training while learning more about a new side of events. I applied in late September for the Voyage program that opened up in January, but I did not end up hearing back until mid-November. The admission process included a video call, a personality assessment, and a final interview fairly quickly. I was offered the opportunity at my current hotel over Thanksgiving and accepted the first week of December! My program did not end up starting until June due to a Voyager already in the Banquet department, but I appreciated the time and opportunity to settle in more to my new city and adult life.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of my Voyager experience is for sure the team I work with! While life happens, everyone always comes in with a smile on their face and that makes the events we work on so fun! I think when we have such a great team as we do, our guests see that, and they have a better experience themselves. In the office with the other managers, I love being able to ask questions without judgment, and also joke around. Coming straight from Texas A&M University, I was worried that as a new young professional there would be an awkward transition period, and I was worried about how serious this new environment would be. However, this team welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to be my unique self while helping me grow as a professional. They have made my Voyager experience so amazing so far, and I am so grateful I was able to start here at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
How has Marriott supported your growth and given you the opportunity to try new things?
Within my role as an Event Operations Voyager, every day and every new experience has allowed me to grow and try new things. I came from a planning background initially, so dealing more with banquets and the set-up side of things, I have learned so many new things. I really appreciate this side of events, and I love how learning all of this information will eventually allow me to be a better planner. Along with learning the ins and outs of this new side of events, I also have had the opportunity to meet with General Managers, Senior Management, and network with other hotel personnel in the San Antonio area. This opportunity gave me so much advice I know I will be taking forward with me in my career. Specifically, the General Manager at the San Antonio Rivercenter & Riverwalk Hotel, who gave me the advice that it is okay to want to move around a lot especially when you are early in your career. Not only are you able to make so many connections but you are also able to learn from so many amazing professionals, she said. It will only help you succeed within the company.
How would you describe Marriott’s culture?
Marriott’s culture is very team oriented and ensures we go above and beyond for guests but also team members. Specifically at the hotel I work at, knowing we recognize accomplishments and celebrate team members for birthdays, service anniversaries, and amazing work makes me feel comfortable and excited to do more. I also love that Marriott senior managers all seem to be willing to talk to anyone about work and our goals.
What does a good day at work look like for you?
A good day as an Events Operations Voyager starts with arriving in a great mood and getting to chat with my fellow team members a bit as I walk into the office. Usually having prepped my paperwork, labels, and diagrams the night before I have the time to sift through my email for important information, prep to meet the servers, and perhaps even grab a Starbucks from our in-hotel cafe. Another part of a good day is when the staff comes in in a great mood, as it makes the events loads more fun! Obviously, whatever event I am working on goes smoothly, I am able to complete my recap, and help out in the office before skedaddling back to my apartment for some play time with my dog!
Where do you hope the Voyage program will take you?
After my year here at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, I am currently planning to continue in the banquets department within the Marriott company. I have discovered such a love for this company not just within myself, but in so many random people I speak to who have worked or continue to work for Marriott. I would appreciate the opportunity to move out of Texas after living here my whole life and I am currently considering Savannah, GA, Washington, D.C., Nashville, or Boston! While talking to many professionals where I work, I have found that this JW is an exceptional place to start as it is so busy and always moving, especially in the events department. I hope to take the lessons I am learning to another larger convention style property and continue to work large, exciting events.