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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | September 7, 2016

Cheryl-Anne SturkenFairmont Austin renderingThis past July, Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and its sister brands Raffles and Swissôtel officially joined Paris-based AccorHotels Group, giving Accor immediate clout in the luxury hotel market. But that merger also gave the Fairmont brand, which covers 70 hotels, significant global exposure thanks to Accor's extensive portfolio of more than 4,000 properties in 95 countries.

It’s no surprise, then, that Fairmont recently wrapped up its first Americas sales blitz, a week-long series of personal sales calls and appreciation events (aka “The Place to Be”) for its elite clients. Jeff Doane, vice president of sales and marketing for the hotel company, headed up a sales team in which all 44 of Fairmont’s North American properties were represented. As part of the sales effort, customers got to learn about recent additions to the chain as well as significant restoration projects and anticipated new openings.

"Over the course of the week our team made more than 6,000 sales call to both key accounts and potential new clients," Doane told me, when I asked what the team's strategy was for the blitz. "Our database is extremely robust with prospects, which can include clients who have asked for RFP bids but may have chosen another hotel."

According to Doane, each of the brand's North American hotels were tasked with identifying customers in their respective backyards to seek out and call upon. In addition, senior leadership for the region, including Kevin Frid, chief operating officer, North & Central America, worked with the hotels to host sales calls and was on hand to host customer events. “The response was very positive,” said Doane of the Place to Be events, which are planned to become an annual event for the brand. "Customers really appreciated that our entire region was spending the week seeing and thanking them for their business."

Doane and his team got more than a warm welcome from loyal customers. They also booked 10,500 room nights in confirmed contracts during the blitz, proving the power of networking in an industry that clearly values face time when it comes to meetings. “Group and convention business represents 33 percent of our overall business," Doane noted.

Fairmont has several new projects in the works that will increase its North American portfolio. In 2017, the $370 million, 1,068-room Fairmont Austin is scheduled to open with 128,500 square feet of meeting and event space. That will be followed in 2018 with the debut of the 250-room Fairmont Costa Canuva in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. That property will feature 22,000 square feet of meeting space as well as a 13,000-square foot Fairmont-branded Willow Stream Spa.