Amanda Cox, director of sales and marketing at JW Marriott Marco Island, is responsible for all top-line revenue results and demand generation for the entire resort, in addition to spearheading the resort’s groundbreaking modernizations. She’s been with Marriott since 2000 [she began her career as an intern back when it was the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort] and is now in what she calls her third “tour of duty.” Cox says, “I suppose I keep coming back because it’s home.”
In November 2018, following a three-year $320-million transformation, the JW Marriott Marco Island opened Lanai Tower (doubling the resort’s function space); launched Marriott’s first Paradise by Sirene, an adult’s only sector of the new tower; and 10K Alley, a virtual entertainment center. Cox explains the importance of thinking outside the box, as well as the victories and struggles involved with expanding a resort with new technological advances.
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
When I was a junior in college, a valued faculty advisor suggested finding a large hotel and working behind the front desk to learn how to read and react to people. I knew exactly what hotel I wanted to work at—the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, which is now JW! I was instantly hooked on the industry and never looked back
How do you stay on top of trends in the industry?
I’m definitely a lifelong learner. Always wanting to be one step ahead is in my DNA, so I certainly apply that to my professional life. I read a lot—I follow a variety of blogs and vlogs, industry magazines and marketing journals across a variety of disciplines. And perhaps most important, I spend time with our guests—I talk to meeting planners, interact with convention attendees and socialize with our vacationers. This provides me a great opportunity to find out what’s driving their intent to purchase within the hospitality industry.
What are some things that set the JW Marriott Marco Island apart from other properties you’ve worked at?
It’s the ultimate resort. The JW Marriott Marco Island is our only domestic resort that owns and operates its own beach, two golf courses and spa. Combine that with more 14 restaurants and the most state-of-the-art oceanfront function space in the country and you’ve got quite an offering. But what makes the JW Marriott Marco Island truly unique is its associates. They are the most passionate, dedicated group of individuals I’ve ever worked with.