By Colleen Isherwood
MISSISSAUGA — When Paul Loehr became regional VP of Lodging Development for Marriott Canada almost two years ago, he noticed that the popular Fairfield brand was underrepresented in the market, but it's now catching up quickly.
In early 2018, Fairfield had just single digit market share in Canada among its upscale select service competitive set, which includes Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn. Here in Canada, there were 100 Holiday Inn Expresses and more than 50 Hamptons, but not as many Fairfields. Today, there are 24 Fairfields in Canada, with 15 in the pipeline.
Fairfield and TownePlace Suites are the fastest growing Marriott brands in Canada. (Marriott has 17 TownePlace Suites hotels in its Canadian pipeline).
The Fairfield brand was inspired by the Marriott family's weekend retreat, the farm owned by JW (Bill) Marriott Sr. and his wife Alice in the early 1950s. Fairfield Farm, in Virginia's Blue Mountains, was a place for them to get away from the hustle and bustle of business. A comfortable, warm, welcoming place to relax or entertain friends, this farm was the inspiration for the brand, which launched in 1987.
“It's all about warmth, family, comfort and simplicity,” Loehr said. “You get a friendly greeting, a good night's sleep and a hotel breakfast in the morning. The brand gives the business traveller everything that's important. Fairfield is Marriott's second largest brand — the first is Courtyard. In March, 2019, Marriott opened its 1,000th Fairfield. It has the largest pipeline globally among all of the Marriott brands.”
“The question was how to build momentum,” Loehr told CLN. “Our number one relationship is amongst the development community. They knew about Delta and Marriott, but there was an opportunity to bring this brand to Canada — to communicate the merits of this brand. The developers asked about how much space it would require, costs and ROI. We shared the high level brand standards and target customers. We have had good success communicating about Fairfield to our development partners.
“Consumers love brands like Fairfield — and one neat thing is the Fairfield Guarantee, which is their promise to customers.”
Smaller prototypes suitable for Canada
The smaller Fairfield prototype is particularly suitable for Canada. Originally, the brand's prototype was for 111 rooms, but Marriott got feedback from the development community all over North America asking if they could make it smaller. The smaller, 79-room prototype, introduced in 2019, makes more sense for centres that include Kitimat and Golden B.C.; Hinton, Alta,; Orillia, Newmarket and Sarnia, Ont.; and Brossard, Que.
The smaller prototype requires just 1.5 acres of land and is 43,000 square feet, down from 56,000 for the larger Fairfield Inn & Suites prototype.
Fairfield/TownePlace Suites dual brand coming soon
Marriott has great success with the small prototypes of both Fairfield and TownePlace Suites. The next logical step was to combine the two in a dual-branded hotel. The new TownePlace Suites small prototype is 89 rooms compared to the standard TownePlace Suites prototype, which is 112 rooms. Developers are now able to more effectively and economically deliver Fairfield and TownePlace Suites into tertiary markets as a result of these smaller prototypes.
“We will be releasing a new Fairfield/TownePlace Suites dual branded small prototype in Q2 2020,” Loehr told CLN.