The Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel in Surrey is enjoying steady growth in a rapidly developing city and a booming Canadian hospitality sector.
The 279-room hotel placed 16th with 233 employees on Business in Vancouver’s list of the biggest Surrey-based employers (see page 18). Emmanuel Medeiros, director of sales and marketing, said the site is the only full-service four-star hotel in the Fraser Valley.
The hotel’s access to key amenities in the area, including Guildford Town Centre, Central City Shopping Centre, Holland Park and Guildford Golf and Country Club all within five kilometres, helps attract travellers.
“Surrey’s got a lot of golf courses nearby,” Medeiros said. “We offer both urban and suburban environments. So there’s a lot of things to see and do within a short area. That’s the gist of it. I mean, we have more beaches than all of Vancouver. We have more green space than all of Vancouver. We have vineyards, golf courses, varied terrain right across the municipality.”
According to a 2017 report by Colliers International on Canadian hotel investment, the hotel real estate industry posted a record performance in 2016, when the sector completed $4.1 billion in transactions – the second-highest amount on record, and almost 70% higher on a year-over-year basis.
The industry’s upward trend is expected to continue through 2017, and sales volume will likely top $3 billion this year, helped by completion of a $1 billion portfolio transaction during the year’s first quarter, the report said.
The Sheraton Guildford had revenue growth of 5% from 2015 to 2016 and at least 7% over the last year, said Medeiros.
“Business has been going up,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with business development in the Surrey area – our board of trade and the city is very focused on that. There are a lot of new businesses moving into the community as well. So, a majority of our business tends to be from the corporate sector.”
The hotel’s growth reflects broader economic development in the city. According to the City of Surrey’s website, in each of the last five years, infrastructure development exceeded $1 billion. Nine million square feet of commercial and industrial floor space and almost 20,000 housing starts were added during that time. The city notes that key business sectors for its economy include clean energy, high technology, advanced manufacturing, education and health.
About a kilometre away from the Sheraton Guildford, a new 52-storey Civic Hotel is slated to open in November. Medeiros said that while the the 144-room Civic is technically competition, the two hotels are both under Marriott International’s (Nasdaq:MAR) brand, and that having a new four- or five-star hotel in the area could be good for business.
“With a lot of our corporate travellers, we’re betting against those two- to three-star properties,” he said. “So, having a new four- or five-star property coming online in the market is actually going to be more beneficial to us, even though they are going to be competition,” he said.
“It’s going to be nice because then we’ve got somebody to compare apples to apples. The corporate travellers are all aware of what the rate parity is all about. I think it’s just when you look at some of the other corporate travellers that are used to staying in two- to three-stars and then they come into a full-service hotel and they don’t know why they have to pay another $5 to $10 more than staying at a Holiday Inn Express or something like that.”