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Tue, 2 May 2017

Marriott Expands Modular Construction Initiative

Marriott is expanding its drive to use modular construction of hotels in North America, saying it expects to sign 50 hotel deals in 2017 that incorporate prefabricated guestrooms or bathrooms – more than 10% of the Select Brand signings expected for the region this year.

With the modular process, hotel guestrooms and/or bathrooms are manufactured away from the hotel site in a climate-controlled factory. Once made, the prefabricated units get transported to the hotel site, where the hotel’s base podium has already been built. The units get stacked into place by crane, at which point workers complete the building on-site including electrical, plumbing and other finishing work. Unlike traditional methods, this process avoids time-consuming challenges that can delay construction such as skilled labor shortages and poor weather.

“Construction is the next frontier for innovation, and modular is leading the way,” said Eric Jacobs, Marriott International’s Chief Development Officer of Select Brands, North America. “By working with our pre-approved modular partners, owners can open hotels faster, put associates to work earlier and generate revenues sooner. It’s another example of Marriott’s focus on optimizing our partners’ return on investment.”

The 97-room Folsom Fairfield Inn & Suites in Folsom, California

Though more common in Europe and Asia, the modular method is gaining new attention in the U.S. as construction demand across the country eclipses the number of available skilled workers in all real estate classes.

Marriott began researching modular construction in 2014 by identifying companies that could potentially manufacture hotel spaces. After a rigorous selection process, Marriott then launched its pilot modular initiative at its 2015 CONNECT conference. Since then, the company has spent time working with select owners who were early adopters of modular construction for their projects, as well as educating lenders about financing such projects.

“We believe the modular process will be a game changer for our valued development partners, especially during a time when labor shortages can be a challenge to timely openings,” said Karim Khalifa, Marriott International’s Senior Vice President of Global Design Strategies. “As modular construction gains popularity and acceptance in the hotel industry, costs can also decrease over time.”

So far, Marriott has opened one hotel under its modular initiative – the 97-room Folsom Fairfield Inn & Suites in Folsom, California (pictured).

This hotel features the work of Guerdon, which is based in Boise, Idaho. At its Boise plant, Guerdon produced units that contained two fully outfitted rooms – including bed, desk and toilet – plus a connecting corridor. The units were then transported to Folsom for completion. The hotel opened two months ahead of time, enabling the owner to generate revenue sooner than anticipated.

Marriott has four more hotels in various stages of construction under this initiative, including a Courtyard in Pullman, Washington, and an AC Hotel in Oklahoma City, both of which are set to open in the second quarter. The other two expected to open later this year are AC Hotels in Louisville and Chapel Hill.

See also: Tony Fernandes (AirAsia) and Gary Chapman (Emirates) Talk Aviation @ WTTC Global Summit 2017 - HD Video and What’s Going to Happen to The Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel? HD Video Interview with GM as well as other HD Videos and Podcasts.

See other recent news regarding: Marriott, Modular, Construction.

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