Bill Sullivan, General Manager of the Courtyard University of Delaware, was recently awarded the prestigious Diamond General Manager of the Year award for 2016 at the Marriott Select Service GM Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Bill was one of six GM’s worldwide in the Courtyard brand to receive this incredible honor.


The Diamond General Manager of the Year Award is given to the best of the best in each brand.  Each award winner must demonstrate achievement in operational excellence and hospitality leadership.  Consideration is given to financial management, sales leadership, service leadership and community service.  They must also keep their hotel’s overall satisfaction scores at or above the brand average and show growth in RevPAR index and Occupancy/ADR.


Bill has thrived for more than a decade in a very unique situation at the Courtyard University of Delaware.  He has been the GM at the hotel, which is owned by the University and an active part of the curriculum for the Hospitality School, since its opening in 2004.  Every Student in the program will spend time at the hotel.  Over the years, Bill has built both an amazing operation that strives to drive top performance, while participating as an instructor for the school.  His leadership has helped hundreds of students experience hands on hotel operations, sales and F&B in a world class curriculum.  His hotel is constantly hosting industry leaders and participating in industry educational workshops designed to lead the industry in game changers.  He has a core leadership team, who have worked with Bill for years and challenge themselves to engage with industry trends.  This past year, the University invested in the construction of a new classroom from which instructors will be able to teach students across the world.  Bill has created a proud culture of learning, challenging and developing leadership at the hotel.  His staff and students often express their admiration.


Over the past year, Bill created success at his property showing hospitality leadership and demonstrating operational excellence. Here are some examples:

  • Bill and his team continually looked for ways to drive business. Year over year, the hotel delivered incredible results for the University of Delaware.  The hotel invested capital in the classroom extension, which has freed up the meeting room allowing the hotel to sell the space and increase revenue.


  • As the Courtyard entered 2016, they knew they were faced with increased competition and a softening market. The Courtyard’s comp set declined in RevPar by 1.1% over the previous 12 months, while the Courtyard’s RevPar Index grew 5.8%.  This happened with focus and diligence.  Bill and the sales team, developed a plan to build a sales culture.  They used Marriott sales tools and requalified all their current accounts increasing room night production.


  • The Courtyard University of Delaware served as a training location for the BSA auditors. Hosting them on two occasions, Bill used the opportunity to prepare his hotel and his team for the BSA.  It can be challenging to have new associates at the front desk each semester, but the hotel continues to use a core team to keep the business consistently delivering strong Guest Voice Scores.  Bill also has his students (both undergrad and graduate) BSA the hotel.  This allows the students a real life experience and reminds the hotel- that every day is BSA day!


  • The Courtyard University of Delaware is engaged both in the University community and the local community. The team is always looking for ways to service their community. From hosting parents during visits, serving at local charities to helping students, they are continually touching the lives of people in Newark, DE.  Most recently, the hotel was featured on Mr. Marriott’s Blog for a swim club called the Marriotters.  This swim club started with Bill opening up his hotel’s pool to a local family for their son with Autism.  This grew to include other families.  The hotel became a place where families could bring their children to enjoy a place to swim in a safe environment.


Congratulations to Bill on receiving this great honor.   It is an award that was well deserved.