By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
TORONTO—There are very few opportunities for a brand to dominate a segment of the hotel industry, but Delta Hotels & Resorts has a chance to own the four star, full service market in Canada, according to Ken Greene, company president and CEO.
“We have almost 9,000 employees, we’re Canadian owned and funded, and we only have properties in Canada today,” Greene told CLN in a wide-ranging interview last month.
While it might seem daunting to participate in an arena occupied by Sheraton and Marriott, Greene says Delta now has two and a half times as many Canadian properties and many more rooms than those two brands. Right now, Delta has 41 properties, while Sheraton has 18 and Marriott 15. Delta has 10,990 rooms, compared to 7,969 for Sheraton and 5,465 for Marriott.
“We could have three to four times more than the competition as we continue to produce quality and solidify our position in the marketplace. We are quite a ways down that path.
“In the last decade, Delta was a bit of a dusty brand with inconsistent quality, but in the last few years, we have spent a lot of money on the brand,” Greene said.
He pointed to renovations in Ottawa, Victoria, Kelowna, Quebec City, Montreal and at the Delta Bessborough in Saskatoon. “We will continue to invest along with our third party owners, and we are seeing very positive results,” Greene added.
The Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown has recently completed extensive renovations to its lobby and restaurant.
“The Delta Prince Edward represents the renovations we are doing in other parts of the country. To date, close to 50 per cent of our portfolio has been renovated and the rest will be renovated over the next few years. Stay tuned for renovations in every single Delta across Canada.”
Delta Centre-Ville to close
In July, Delta Hotels and Resorts was informed that InnVest REIT, owner of the Delta Centre-Ville in Montreal, had sold the hotel. Delta will continue to manage the hotel until October 31, 2013, at which point the hotel is expected to be closed and the property converted to an alternative use by the new owner.
“Delta Hotels and Resorts has been managing the Delta Centre-Ville hotel since 1999, and has not been involved in the business decision to sell or close the property,” said David Bird, senior vice president, operations for Delta, in a release.
“We empathize with the employees who are affected by this decision, and we will support them through the transition period. They will be offered career counselling services through global talent mobility firm Lee Hecht Harrison, and we will also look to help with relocations where possible.”
Guests with reservations and clients with business booked for the Delta Centre-Ville prior to October 31 will not be affected.
For business and rooms booked on and after October 31, Delta will examine the possibilities of transferring business and room reservations to its other property in downtown Montreal, the 456-room Delta Montreal that it has been managing since 1986.
The Centre-Ville property is iconic and, with 711 rooms, huge. Its closing will leave a big gap in the Montreal market.
“We are excited about the second property we own in Montreal,” said Greene. “Last year, we did a full renovation, and we are planning a little more renovation of the exterior and the lobby. It’s in a fabulous location, and it should do even better next year since it will be the only Delta in Montreal.”
Kingston’s $10 million reno
The Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel opened in July after an extensive $10 million renovation which made it the city’s first four-star upscale, full-service hotel.
The Kingston hotel has 126 ModeRoom guest rooms and suites; a completely redesigned lobby and an open space business area featuring a series of interactive, fully connected work hubs and lounge areas; and 5,000 square feet of newly revamped meeting and conference space. The onsite restaurant, AquaTerra by Clark was also fully renovated to include multi-functional and flexible spaces with panoramic waterfront views.
At press time, the new Toronto Delta had just topped 38 floors, and is on track to open in late 2014.
The 46-storey, 567-room property will be a flagship for Delta. “It’s a cut above everything,” said Greene. “We’ve been talking with local business drivers, owners, tourism and convention centre folks, and everybody is excited.”