Hotelier Profile: Travis Cutler, Senior Manager, State Government Affairs, Marriott International

Describe your career path so far.
After graduating from college, I began my career in government affairs at a Virginia-based electric and natural gas utility. I spent nearly ten years engaging in state and local advocacy across several states in the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2014, I completed my master’s degree in public policy. While most of my professional experience has centered around energy and environmental policy, I eventually became interested in finding an opportunity that would offer exposure to a wider range of policy issues. That interest is part of what brought me to Marriott.

How long have you been the Senior Manager of State Government Affairs for Marriott?
Just over one year.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
One of the things I enjoy most is representing a company that evokes such a positive reaction from legislators and from the public. At the outset of almost any new meeting, a legislator or staffer will invariably bring up a positive experience they’ve had staying at a Marriott hotel. It always helps the conversation get started on the right foot.

What is the most interesting part of your job?
One of the most interesting parts of the job has to do with covering such a broad territory. It is truly eye-opening to get firsthand experience in so many different political environments.

What is a typical work day like for you?
There really isn’t a “typical” day. Depending on the time of year, I could spend an entire day in the halls of a state capitol or I could spend the entire day jumping from one conference call to another. On any given day though, you must be prepared to engage on a variety of challenging policy debates that are taking place in vastly different political venues. The days spent doing a blitz of meetings in a state capitol or a city hall are the most exciting.

What advice do you have for those interested in entering government affairs for the hospitality industry?
My advice to others is to make sure you spend time observing and working alongside folks at the property level. I think it is important to learn as much as you can about the day-to-day operations so you can fully understand the industry’s pressure points as they relate to various policy concepts. 