Marriott Eyes A Future Filled With Modular Hotels

When you’re the world’s largest lodging company and you’ve promised to open a new hotel every 14 hours for the next three years, time is certainly a factor in keeping your projects on track.

In order to keep projects speeding along, Marriott Hotels International is diving deep into a new business strategy, modular hotels.
“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.

In December, the company opened its first factory-built property in North America, the 97-room Folsom Fairfield Inn & Suites in Folsom, California. For the project, Marriott partnered with Boise-based Guerdo, who pre-produced fully furnished rooms, including beds, desks and toilets, and transported those units to Folsom to be stacked into a final hotel product. After the units were stacked, construction crews completed the finishing work, including as installing electrical and plumbing.

While this is the first of its kind for the brand, Marriott has four similar projects under construction throughout the country, all of which are expected to open later this year. Because modular hotels require less time to build, hotel construction could eventually be whittled down to six months, start to finish, as opposed to the average 20 months it now takes to complete a project of this type. Which ultimately means a faster road to earnings for Marriott’s owner partners.

“By working with our pre-approved modular partners, owners can open hotels faster, put associates to work earlier and generate revenues sooner,” said Jacobs. “It’s another example of Marriott’s focus on optimizing our partners’ return on investment.”
Although modular construction in hotels hasn’t yet caught on in North America, Marriott says that construction demand in the U.S. is quickly outpacing the availability of skilled workers, which is helping drive awareness of modular alternatives.
According to Fast Company, there are currently about 150,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S.

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.”
Marriott is so sure its modular strategy will be a success, it says it is planning to sign 50 new hotel deals throughout North America this year that will incorporate prefabricated guest rooms or bathrooms. That number would account for more than 10 percent of Marriott’s entire Select Brand signings for the year.
Source:, 14 May 2017

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