Delta opportunities inside and outside Canada

VANCOUVER — Marriott Hotels of Canada president Don Cleary sat down with CLN to talk about opportunities for Delta inside and outside Canada at the Western Hotel and Resort Investment Conference Oct. 20.

VANCOUVER — Marriott Hotels of Canada president Don Cleary sat down with CLN to talk about opportunities for Delta inside and outside Canada at the Western Hotel and Resort Investment Conference today.

He said he has been pleasantly surprised at the interest in Delta in the U.S. and other parts of the world. U.S. markets see Delta as an entry-level full service brand with a lot of conversion possibilities. A broad variety of markets can support a Delta, i.e. large and mid-sized U.S. cities.

There has been interest in Canada as well, both in markets not already served by Delta and in markets with a Delta that could support conversion opportunities.

“We have had good success with many of the older Delta properties in Canada, reaching agreements regarding property improvement plans,” Cleary said, adding that type of investment is also good for the brand in Canada.

Marriott Rewards should be integrated into the critical mass of Delta hotels by January, and the rest shortly thereafter. “We have done a great job of integrating Delta into Marriott, and that is our intention, to fully integrate management systems and services,” Cleary said.

Cleary said he is excited about the 6,500 associates that joined Marriott through Delta, adding that the “people-first” cultures of the two organizations are very similar. He would like to look beyond the company's managed properties to the franchised hotels to provide career growth and opportunities for associates.

“I would like to broaden the base of talent within our organization, and work with our franchise partners to give our associates more career opportunities. I would like to make it one fully integrated team. Canada has a small footprint of that talent. I have held preliminary discussions with franchise partners and they welcome the opportunity to work with us,” Cleary said. 

Healthy pipeline

Marriott Canada expects to open 14 hotels in the country this year, and another 20 next year. Most of the growth is in the select service brands such as Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites. “They are broadly based geographically, the majority are new build and we have a very healthy pipeline,” he said.

Marriott also expects to complete a couple of full service hotels by the end of next year, including the JW Marriott and Autograph Collection hotels that are part of the BC Place development in Vancouver. They will also open a full service hotel at Calgary airport next year.