Toronto hotel has a side business

Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto

Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto

The famous Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto has been operating another business on-site in addition to its accommodations and restaurants operations. For about a year and a half now the hotel is home to a bee farm located on its roof. The honey produced from the bee hives is used in their restaurants and I hear there are also tours that visit the hives for guests. I thought this was an interesting idea as it plays on the “green” card which is good PR for a hotel in the heart of the downtown core of a large metropolitan city.

This strategy promotes the hotel as being eco-friendly which these days brings a lot good publicity to it and because it is a high-end hotel, the honey extracted from the hives can be made in to packaged jars that can be sold for what would otherwise be considered ridiculously high prices. I have no information that they are in fact selling it as a packaged product at all, but they should, it would make sense. In fact, they could even develop a brand name for it and sell it at high end food stores. If they were owned by a smaller company or an entrepreneur, perhaps they would try this but selling food items through retail stores is not the business that Fairmont is in. So, for them they probably decided to stick to their core business and not stray in to completely new industries. This strategy is also an important one to implement on many occasions.

I think Fairmont is doing the right thing with this approach for them as one bad jar of honey can tarnish their name for their entire global hotel business. Since they have no experience in this field they would have a higher chance of having something go wrong so, the safer thing to do is only use it for publicity purposes and for use in their own restaurants (exactly what they are doing).

However, if I owned the hotel and it was my only or main business, then I probably would try to develop a high level brand of honey and sell it at stores like Whole Foods and other expensive grocery stores. Obviously, that farm can not produce enough honey to be in all the stores, so I would put my brand name on another private label honey producer. I think this would sell well in the Toronto area at least due to the brand equity the hotel has built in that city. 

Roof of Fairmont Royal York Hotel showing bee hives.

Roof of Fairmont Royal York Hotel showing bee hives.