Project Name
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Fairfield Inn by Marriott

Marriott International

Nationwide - 120 projects


From 2005-2008, the hospitality industry experienced significant growth in new projects identified for development.  The confluence of a strong economy, liberal consumer spending and low airfares gave rise to a need for the addition of hotel rooms across the country.  This demand, coupled with historically low interest rates and relatively small barriers to entry into the industry resulted in an unprecedented surge in applications for new hotel projects.

Zimmerman Weintraub Associates’ (“ZWA”) long standing client, Marriott International (Marriott) select service market share gained strength throughout the 1990’s and 2000.  As a leader in the hospitality business, Marriott International’ pipeline grew at an extraordinary rate, with select service and extended stay properties opening at a pace of one every other day throughout the North America Lodging Operations (NALO) region in 2007 and 2008. 

ZWA was retained by Marriott to implement an extensive and aggressive outsourcing program to support the growing but highly variable volume of projects submitted to Marriott for architectural and interior design review and approval.

In January 2006, a robust outsourced program was launched, capable of handling the increased volume of work submitted to Marriott for review.  A critically important component of the program addressed the qualitative aspects of the review process in addition to the quantitative aspects of volume and process timing.

Expertise of the ZWA dedicated team was achieved through an ongoing collaborative training effort with Marriott, thereby allowing the ZWA team to interface directly with franchisees and reduce the volume of work flowing directly to Marriott’s Headquarters-based Architecture & Construction Group.  Additional primary objectives included to:

§  Reduce backlog review workload and allocate sufficient design support for projects throughout their design and construction cycle.

§  Develop strategic approach and response to projects that incorporated variances to the brand’s prototypical arrangement of spaces and amenities.

§  Reduce the process time required for preliminary design and construction drawing reviews.

§  Improve the responsiveness to franchisee inquiries and requests.

§  Improve the quality and quantity of information retained about each project throughout the design and construction process. This included increased tracking and forecasting so that managers could make better decisions and assist in their staffs’ success

Careful consideration was given to the organization, planning and staffing of the outsourced program.  Team members were selected based upon their possession of skills, emotional intelligence and communication style that was most compatible with the staff at Marriott International as well as Franchisees who chose to develop Fairfield Inn properties.

ZWA worked to integrate the internal goals and objectives of Marriott while optimizing the communication skills and emotional intelligence of the staff deployed to the outsource program.  Existing processes, team dynamics and management decisions were analyzed on an ongoing basis, measured for results and monitored to determine the root causes for program and process deficiencies. Processes for making continuous adjustments were developed and implemented.

Over the two-and-one-half years that the program was in place, there was significant improvement in the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the program.  Over 175 hotels were successfully reviewed at both the schematic and construction documents phases of the architecture and interior design process.   Moreover, there were a number of key lessons learned that could be derived from the program for application to the GSA IDIQ Contract.

Benefits to Client

As the program reached maturity in 2008, Zimmerman-Weintraub performed nearly 30% of all plan reviews issued by the Marriott Architecture & Construction Group, and almost all of the reviews issued for prototypical Fairfield Inn projects.  Process improvements reduced the overall delivery time of reviews issued through ZWA’s offices from an average of 28 business days to just under 13 business days.  Regional Vice Presidents charged with managing the franchisee accounts noted a reduction in complaints about the timing and content of design reviews issued by the ZWA in contrast to the quantity of complaints received prior to launching the outsourced program

Over time, ZWA’s participation in projects migrated from task work to program management and eventually evolved to include many aspects of the interior design process, including the preparation of project-specific bills of materials and material take-offs.  Together the teams enhanced the value associated with the design review process to levels that were beyond what was initially anticipated. 

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