HB EXCLUSIVE: Fairfield by Marriott hits 1,000 properties

BETHESDA, MD—For the second time in its nearly 100-year history, Marriott International Inc. has grown one of its brands to 1,000 properties. After launching almost 35 years ago, Fairfield by Marriott hit this milestone following a new brand identity and logo just a few months prior.

“Reaching the 1,000 mark is a testament to the brand’s appeal both to owners and franchisees—as well as guests,” said Eric Jacobs, North America chief development officer for Marriott’s select-service and extended-stay brands.

The only other Marriott brand to reach this milestone was Courtyard by Marriott in February 2015, when Courtyard Walla Walla opened in Washington, becoming the upscale brand’s 1,000th hotel.

“Business travelers who seek affordable, comfortable and simple accommodations are really driving the growth of Fairfield by Marriott—not only in the U.S., but around the world,” he said. “In this segment, distribution matters. These hotels are built for road warriors who are traveling from city to city, so being able to easily find locations where they need them is truly important.”

As of Q4 2018, there are 443 hotels with 48,140 rooms in Fairfield’s pipeline, marking a record for the upper-midscale brand. The locations in the brand’s pipeline represent 18 countries and territories.

“It’s an operating model that our owners and franchisees find compelling,” Jacobs said. “With Fairfield by Marriott, they have a quality hotel that offers a terrific night’s stay for guests—and a cost-effective formula that produces solid financial returns. Frankly, it’s a great investment.”

Estimated to open on April 4 at press time, the 1,000th Fairfield location will be the 94-key Fairfield by Marriott Denver Tech Center North in Denver. Located minutes from the Centennial Airport, Tech Center District, Park Meadows Mall, Inverness Business Park and TopGolf, the four-story property will offer complimentary WiFi and breakfast, a business center, a fitness center and an indoor pool.

The owner of the property is Columbia, MD-based Baywood Hotels, which, in its portfolio, has currently more than 100 hotels in North America, including eight opened Fairfield hotels. Baywood developed its first Fairfield in Germantown, MD, in 2004.

To celebrate the 1,000th Fairfield hotel opening, Marriott is running a sweepstakes in the U.S. The winner will receive a trip to any Fairfield in the world.

The brand is also celebrating its milestone with complimentary brownies during the month of May, highlighting a family tradition established years ago by Alice Marriott.

“In this segment of the hotel space—where our core business traveler is a true road warrior who’s constantly traveling across their region, we are laser-focused on identifying the highest-value locations where they might be stopping for the night and where we don’t currently have a Fairfield hotel,” Jacobs said. “To ensure that we identify specific, high-demand markets for our partners to develop and welcome our guests, we use the latest predictive analytical tools to date along with the support of our dedicated development team.”

The hotel group’s strategy for Fairfield in North America has shifted over the years. “At Marriott, we’re all about finding the right brand and right location with the greatest value for partners and shareholders based on our customers’ travel patterns,” he said. “For the Fairfield brand in North America, our strategy, historically, has meant expanding our footprint in secondary and tertiary markets. But in this last development cycle, we’ve pushed into higher-value urban markets such as Chicago, Miami, New York and—of course—Denver.

“After all, road warriors don’t only stay in small-town markets,” he continued. “They want to check into Fairfield hotels in Manhattan, for example, where we have locations near Columbus Circle and Penn Station—as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, where we have four in the pipeline.”

The Fairfield Inn & Suites San Jose North/Silicon Valley hotel is expected to open this summer, and the Fairfield Inn & Suites San Francisco Airport is expected to open next year.

“We’re constantly seeking to do more Fairfield deals in top 25 markets in my region—North America—where it makes sense, whether near an airport or on a downtown city block,” he said.

Of course, smaller markets are also important. Expected to roll out in fall 2019 is a new Fairfield prototype. It will have about 80 rooms compared to the typical 110 rooms.

“In North America, we’re getting ready to launch a prototype with fewer rooms to allow franchisees to bring the brand to new locations in smaller markets where a larger property may not make financial sense,” he said.

The brand is also focusing on growing globally by moving into new markets. “As we open our milestone 1,000th hotel at the Fairfield by Marriott Denver Tech Center, we’re continuing to build our extraordinary pipeline by entering new markets like Mexico, China and India, and are poised to reach our next 1,000th,” said Janis Milham, SVP and global brand leader, classic select brands, Marriott. “These seeds of growth were planted 30 years ago at the Marriott family’s Fairfield Farm, which inspired the warm hospitality the brand is known for today.”

Over the next three years, the Fairfield brand is expected to debut in numerous countries and territories outside of North America, including Chile, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Japan and the Philippines.

For example, in November 2018, Marriott signed a deal with Japanese real estate developer Sekisui House for 12—now a total of 15—Fairfield properties in Japan, the majority of which are expected to open by 2021.

The hotel properties are slated for lesser-known destinations with national parks, traditional mountain villages and historic UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In January 2019, Fairfield by Marriott launched a new logo and brand identity. “The brand identity introduces a new, modern font and a simple colorway,” Milham said. “The new brand identity is calming, warm and continues to reinforce Fairfield’s commitment to simplicity.”

While the hospitality group rolled out the new branding to contemporize the hotel brand, a nod to Fairfield’s history—specifically, the Fairfield Farm, which J. Willard Marriott purchased in 1951—can be seen throughout the brand’s identity.

“Blue and white are featured as the primary colors, and honey gold and dark brown as accent colors, bringing out the feeling of the farm in a modern and calming way,” she said. “A core design element is the use of nature photography from the Fairfield Farm treated as a tonal blue image. The brand highlights the simplicity and beauty in nature by capturing the land surrounding the farm and features these images prominently throughout brand communications.”

This new brand identity and logo will translate to new on-property collateral and a new website, which will impact the look and feel of Fairfield throughout the full guest experience. HB

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