If you look after your associates, they’ll look after your customers,” says Scott Allison, VP, Canadian Operations, Marriott Hotels of Canada. Eighty-six years later, this core value — espoused by Marriott Hotels founder, J. Willard Marriott in 1927 — spells continued success for the organization, which generated $640.5 million in sales in 2012, an increase of 6.5 per cent over the previous year.
It’s the emphasis on valuing staff that’s produced a year of solid performance at its 74 hotels in Canada, which include brands such as Marriott, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites. To wit, the company was once again named to the Aon Hewitt Top 50 Employers list in 2012, ranking higher than the previous year. And, it was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 36 most admired companies in the world.
Last year, it opened eight new hotels in Canada, including the Courtyard by Marriott London, Ont., and Courtyard by Marriott St. Jacobs, Ont., as well as new adjoining hotels at the Calgary Airport — the Courtyard by Marriott and the Residence Inn by Marriott.
The company also partnered with Vancouver-based SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts to open the newly renovated Residence Inn by Marriott in downtown Vancouver, the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Mississauga, Ont., and the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in St. John’s, N.L.
Most notably, the company announced its first Autograph Collection hotel — the only Canadian outpost — at the Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews, N.B.
Last year, Marriott also increased its overall performance via its Courtyard Refreshing Business program. Here, hotel lobbies have been revamped to become more engaging and inviting, featuring well lit, creatively designed and functionally organized spaces. Guests can order drinks and food and connect on their electronic devices.
With 25 properties in the pipeline, the company is building momentum towards having 100 hotels open in Canada by 2015. The bulk of the 25 will be select-service or extended-stay brands, including Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield and Springhill Suites. Such secondary- and tertiary-market emphasis, Allison explains, reflects Marriott’s high rate of development in the major urban markets.
This growth is a key measure of the company’s performance in 2012. “Its owners — both existing and new — [are] telling us, ‘We believe in your portfolio of brands, and we want to grow with you,’” says Allison. Such a development, he believes, is the result of working consistently with existing and new partners, even through the downturn of 2008 to 2009, which made it difficult to close deals. “It was a [factor of] great perseverance with our developers,” he says. “It was an investment over time.”