Oxford thinks in terms of decades, not years or quarters. So, when we acquired a portfolio of seven Fairmont luxury hotels in 2006, we had a long-term vision.
The global financial crisis hit not long after our acquisition and the travel industry stalled. Despite short term challenges, we remained true to our vision and conviction in the long term value creation opportunities at these iconic assets. We invested significantly to improve the guest experience and the hotels’ environmental sustainability. We activated and elevated spaces, upgraded technology, repurposed real estate, found operating efficiencies and introduced new revenue streams. When international tourism rebounded, our hotels were ready to capture greater market share and outperform. In total, we’ve invested over CAD$350 million in property improvements.
Three of the properties were not aligned to our long-term strategy, so once we had increased occupancy and stabilized the income profile, we sold them.
The four remaining properties are strategic long-term holds—Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Fairmont Chateau Whistler. They enjoy high barriers to entry, with three operating on protected lands in Canada’s National Parks and have over 100 years of history and memories in the hearts of travelers globally. They are also very strong performers, regularly operating at full occupancy and setting record high room rates. They are also among the most loved hotels in North America and part of the very fabric of Canadian history.
In 2019, we syndicated a significant interest in the four-property portfolio to a large sovereign wealth fund and existing partner of OMERS in other global investments. Oxford maintained an interest in the portfolio as well as the role of portfolio asset manager.