James Tingley is a big believer in letting creativity fuel success. The 59-year-old
general manager of the Delta Prince Edward by Marriott, in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
doesn’t like to micro-manage his complement of 200 staff. “I’ve learned through the years to let creativity and innovation loose, yet check in often to provide support and guidance.”
After three years managing the 211-room property, the Edmundston, N.B. native has
found his groove in a hotel that he and his staff treat more like an extension of their
home than a business. “As complex as our industry has become, I tell [staff]
‘we are welcoming people into our home. If you were having friends or family come stay with you, you would make sure the front of your home was clean and tidy and your home spotlessly clean and welcoming. You would tell them what’s happening in the community and most likely cook your favourite dish. As they were leaving, you would tell them how
wonderful it was to spend time with them, welcome them back and wish them safe travels.’ In essence, that’s what our business is — how we provide experiences and build loyalty.”
The waterfront hotel, which boasts 60,000 sq. ft of meeting space, is connected to the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre, with an additional 50,000 sq. ft. of space. It hums with activity through the summer, when it caters to convention groups and
leisure travellers. Then, from November to April, its mix changes to business travellers and small meetings, sports tournaments and social events.
Like any hotel in today’s competitive industry, attracting guests has become more challenging. “Keeping current is measured in hours, not days or weeks anymore.” The biggest challenge, he says, is delivering on the brand (Delta) voice, which under Marriott is well refined and defined.
The hotel’s association with Marriott has fuelled “a spike in customers that might not have come to P.E.I. or stayed with us. The Marriott Reward loyalty program has raised our hotel’s profile,” he says. “The network where our Marriott Reward members and SPG members can stay has expanded significantly, making for a seamless booking experience and expanded itinerary.”
Still, the hotel doesn’t rest on its laurels. Four years ago, the F&B team brought its seasonal outdoor restaurant, Brakish, back to life. “We’ve created a fun atmosphere and brand that equates to a lively environment.
We’ve realized significant growth YOY and recruiting for seasonal staff has improved.”
But it’s all in a day’s work. “Success is never final.
There’s a constant desire to do more. It still comes down to people and how we engage each moment of truth for our brand and ourselves to take care of our guests and each other.”