As opening nears, Austin’s JW Marriott looks to hire 700 workers

Dec 15, 2014
Austin American Statesman

With opening day just two months away, downtown Austin’s JW Marriott is looking to hire about 700 employees


The hotel will host a job fair Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. Applications are also being accepted online at jwmarriottaustin.com


Full-time and part-time positions in a variety of departments are available, including sous chef, housekeeping manager, administrative assistant, cashier, loss prevention supervisor, turn-down attendant, room service server, buser, banquet bartender, laundry attendant, night auditor and maintenance


Many of the workers will start in January, ahead of the planned Feb. 13 opening for the JW Marriott, which is at East Second Street and Congress Avenue


“We’re already getting strong interest from job applicants, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Jay Spurr, sales and marketing manager for the 1,012-room convention hotel. “We’re looking for 700 great people to fill 700 great jobs.”


The 700 positions are in addition to a handful of employees already on staff


Construction is about 95 percent done on the project, Spurr said. In addition to finishing up guest rooms and public spaces such as the ballrooms and lobby, crews have been busy moving in furniture delivered by about 500 18-wheelers


Spurr, who has been on the job for more than three years, said his sales team has already booked groups that account for 435,000 guest nights through 2021, including groups set to check in just hours after the hotel opens its doors to the public


By adding more rooms to the tight downtown hotel market, the 34-story, 1.2 million-square-foot JW Marriott will help Austin lure more conferences, general manager Scott Blalock said


Currently, there are about 6,500 hotel rooms downtown, according to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. In addition to the 1,012 rooms that the JW Marriott will add, several other hotels are also in various stages of development downtown, including the 1,066-room Fairmont Austin, which is scheduled to open in 2017 at Red River and East Cesar Chavez streets


Hotel occupancy in downtown Austin typically hovers around 80 percent, one of the highest occupancy rates in the nation, Spurr said


Indiana-based White Lodging, the city’s largest hotel operator, is building the JW Marriott. It also runs more than 20 other hotels in Central Texas affiliated with a variety of brands, including Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place, Residence Inn, Springfield Suites and Westin


Austin is one of White Lodging’s strongest markets, Spurr said, which played a key role in the company committing to build the JW Marriott



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