One of Ottawa’s top hotel executives is now doing double duty as two of the city’s largest downtown properties look to save costs and drive new business by bringing their senior management and marketing teams under one roof.
Ross Meredith, who’s served as general manager of the Westin Ottawa since 2014, has taken on the dual role of GM at the nearby Delta Ottawa City Centre effective this week. As part of the management shuffle, Westin director of sales and marketing Shaddy Shibley will take on the same duties at the Delta.
Both properties are managed by Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain. They are two of the four largest hotels in the city, with a combined total of 902 guest rooms, 47 meeting rooms and 73,000 square feet of meeting space.
Meredith said the move was meant to streamline the booking process at both hotels and give prospective clients more options for meeting space without having to shuffle back and forth between two separate marketing teams.
“The line we like to use is, ‘Together we’re better,’” said Meredith. “We have the two biggest ballrooms in the city. We have a lot of options for the customer.”
The move comes as Ottawa’s hospitality sector continues to get walloped by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Westin and Delta have been forced to temporarily lay off a combined total of nearly 400 employees as occupancy rates have plummeted to below 20 per cent at both properties in the wake of measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Meredith said the reorganization was in the works even before COVID-19 began wreaking havoc with the industry as Marriott looked for new ways to get an edge in a competitive market.
“COVID may have spurred on some action, but this has been in the conversation for much longer than just the last month or two,” he said.
Meredith said the massive Maryland-based hotelier is viewing the new “one-stop shop” approach as a bit of a test case. Its competitors are likely watching closely as well, he added.
“I do think that this may be looked at as a model for other cities and other groups of hotels,” he said.