Since acquiring the brand in 2015, Marriott has nearly doubled the Delta Hotels footprint in North America and is focused on keying in on the brand’s image and what it has to offer.
ALLEN, Texas—Marriott International has Delta Hotels on a fast growth track, with two properties opening every other week in 2019, according to Jennifer McLennan, global brand leader for Delta Hotels.
Delta Hotels launched in Canada in 1967, “expanded briefly” in the country and tried to grow internationally without much success, she said during a conversation at the recent opening of the Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center in Allen, Texas.
Marriott acquired the brand in 2015 when there were 35 hotels under the brand. Since then, Delta has nearly doubled its number of hotels in North America. Delta opened 11 hotels last year, and it currently has 61 properties globally with 53 hotels in the pipeline, McLennan said.
Marriott has Delta positioned as a brand for business travelers built on simplicity. The brand aims to help travelers keep moving throughout their stay with “dialed-up” basic offerings, such as a comfortable bed, a clutter-free workspace in the guestroom, a good restaurant and a bar. The brand has coined the tagline, “Simple made perfect,” and ties in other amenities such as a 24-hour fitness center, a grab-and-go market and a 24-hour pantry for Marriott Bonvoy members at platinum status and above.
McLennan added that Delta sits in the “reliability and well-being segment” in the upscale arena, uniquely positioned “just above Four Points and underneath Sheraton” where there is an opportunity to capture guests specifically looking for “premium dial-ups, but with not a lot of additional focus and fluff.”
McLennan said the brand is still working on its point of view in terms of meetings, food and beverage and finding a way to emotionally connect with customers.
“We still have to build our awareness in the U.S. and around the globe, and it’s something that we’re focused on,” she said. “We think that if there is an opportunity to continue to create awareness, what’s that emotional hook that we can continue to drive to really get people to fall in love with Delta?”
In terms of F&B, Delta is looking for ways to give bartenders an opportunity to spend more time with the customer while incorporating a theatrical experience into drink-making, possibly through batch cocktails and infused options for simple drinks.
Delta is also working on nailing down its perspective on meetings, she said, but has done research that has found that different categories of meetings need different types of innovation. The Delta Allen has 91,213 square feet of event space, but that’s not a standard for the brand.
Delta has seen expansive growth in the U.S. and Canada, and deals are being explored in the Middle East/Africa region and in Central America, according to McLennan.
In regards to U.S. development, she said she doesn’t think there’s a “secret sauce” for finding an ideal market for a Delta hotel. It depends on the region, the need and the owner/developer, she said.
“We’ve really seen success in some of these secondary markets; we’re hoping to break into some of these primary markets as well,” she said. “We’re looking at Austin and New York, and as the brand grows I think you’ll continue to see it pop up in some of those (major) markets, too.”
Delta works with partners for things such as design and F&B, and how those come together depends on the property, McLennan said.
At the Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center, Delta and the hotel’s manager, Benchmark Hospitality, worked with Chef Stephan Pyles on the hotel’s Stampede 66 restaurant because Pyles had a specific vision for the space.
“In other cases, we have internal designers or we work with third-party designers that might come up conceptually with a concept and then they work with the owner directly and we provide input, and then they would build that with whatever the conversion or the new build hotel would be,” she said. “If our owner, or if it is a managed hotel and we end up running it, it typically goes through a design process at our headquarters building.”
Editor’s note: Marriott International paid for accommodations, airfare and meals during a recent stay at the Delta Allen property. Complete editorial control was at the discretion of Hotel News Now; Marriott had no influence on the coverage provided.