TORONTO — Marriott plans to open a Delta Hotel every two weeks between now and the end of next year, mainly in the U.S., doubling its portfolio. The 37 existing Deltas will also see US$106 million (C$143 million) in renovations, said Roz Winegrad, AVP owner and franchise services, Marriott Hotels of Canada, in an interview with CLN.
Marriott's acquisition of Delta took place two years ago, on April 2, 2015. While Marriott hasn't added any new hotels to the Canadian inventory, Winegrad said there is very, very strong interest in the brand, especially in the U.S. There's already one Delta in Orlando, Fla., which opened in 2016, and others are planned for Boston, and Hunt Valley in suburban Boston. Delta is opening a hotel in Shanghai, China as well.
“Canadians' beloved brand will be planted in the U.S.,” said Winegrad. “As we start development in the U.S., we realize that brand recognition is very powerful.
“Doubling the number of Deltas speaks to the power of the Marriott system. We have many people opening Deltas who have not been our traditional partners. In Canada that is the case as well.”
Over the past two years, Marriott has divided its 30 brands into “swim lanes,” and at a development session before the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference, they described the distinctions between the brands.
Delta hotels are for the “streamliner” who wants productivity and efficiency — the frequent traveller who values momentum and prioritizes quality over quality. Delta offers a room that works, with free Wi-Fi, bottled water and a dialled up work area. F&B offerings can include the Delta Elite Pantry, and Grab & Go Market, and a concept bar. The service philosophy is “purposeful service, a perceptive and intuitive staff who knows what you need and when you need it.”
“It's all about 'simple made perfect' — the tagline says it all,” noted Winegrad. “For the transient, meeting or weekend leisure guest, it's full service without the pomp and circumstance. Delta does certain important touchpoints really well — great F&B and great bar, a really quick, upscale grab and go. The bar is energized and defines the lobby. There's no loud music, just a place to get out of the room and have a really great good experience, with casual, upscale, comfortable seating.
“The Delta room features bed linens, blankets and towels that are super great, but there's not a lot of stuff. Delta guests don't need slippers and robes, just towels to wrap up in and sheets that are over the top.”
Delta used to have the “mode room,” and elements of that have worked really well. “Deltas are not cookie-cutter,” said Winegrad. “With all of our brands, there's a sense of where you are — bringing in some piece of the local community.”
The total of C$143 million in renovations will affect every single Delta, except those that are already on strategy such as the Delta Toronto or Delta Okanagan, under the guidance of Marriott International's interior design manager, Karyn Faryna, who is based in Toronto.
Back to the expansion plans. There are a number of signed deals underway that will be announced soon. But not every Delta is a conversion, and some will be built from the ground up.
In addition to the advantages of a defined brand and the 100 million Marriott Rewards club members, Marriott offers a focus on training, under the direction of Greg Durrer, global brand leader for Delta at Marriott International, said Winegrad. Marriott has also created a Delta Advisory Board, which held its first meeting in February.