The process began in between 2003 and 2007, when brand management embarked in what was then called the “prune and plant” phase — removing chain laggards and partnering with key owners who would “represent the brand in the right way.” During 2009 the chain also dropped its Fairfield Inn concept, so that now every property must contain suites.
The company management has taken a concerted effort to export the brand into emerging markets throughout the globe. Brazil and India top the list, with nine properties and more than 1,400 rooms under development. The first property in India will open during 2013; while a 2014 opening is slated for a property in Brazil.
The most notable change for Fairfield comes in the form of the brand’s new fourth generation prototype. Featuring brighter colors and a more functional design, the prototype is designed to address the top three priorities of business travelers: a work space, better bath experience, and storage solutions.
To meet the first need, Fairfield’s management team built a flexible work space with a rolling desk and chair, brighter lighting, more outlets and an ergonomic chair. To address the second need, the group implemented glass showers in king-size rooms. Additionally, the Fairfield brand will now feature a number of drawers with “peek-a-boo” openings to allow travelers to see what have been packed away so as not to leave anything behind.
The fourth generation prototype was also designed with affordability in mind, as it affords developers flexibility to fit their budgets. Fairfield can fit most footprints and boxes so that a property in a major urban market might opt for fewer suites, for example, while a property in a more expansive leisure market might feature more suites to drive higher rates. On average, 25 percent of the typical Fairfield rooms are suites.
Marriott will allow conversions only in select markets, and only in specific buildings and sites. Existing assets will not be required to completely upgrade to the fourth generation prototype, but the brand’s renovation package includes most of the prototype’s core components, such as the improved work station and furniture for public spaces.
Marriott requires every hotel within its system to renovate every six years. Fairfield franchisors will be expected to implement the new renovation package on that schedule.