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Marriott International embarks on global independent hotel expansion

Post-Starwood acquisition, Marriott is poised to grow its collection brands by nearly 50% over the next three years. The Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection Hotels and Tribute Portfolio create the industry’s most powerful independent hotel platform.

NEW YORK – From the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York, Marriott International showcased the industry’s most powerful independent hotel platform, focused on offering consumers a range of uniquely local hotel experiences and owners an impactful lever to maximize returns while retaining their hotel’s individuality. With the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, Marriott International now has more than 240 independent hotels under three distinctive collection brands – The Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection Hotels and Tribute Portfolio – and expects to grow its collection brands by nearly 50% by 2019.

“Marriott is now able to offer more choices than ever, especially for owners and guests who prefer an independent hotel experience,” said Arne M. Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “We doubled our portfolio of independent hotels with the acquisition of Starwood and significantly increased our global footprint. The growth projected for the next few years underscores the demand Marriott is seeing for more customized, local experiences.”

A Trio of Brands Primed for Global Growth

Each collection brand has a clear point of view while offering owners design and programming flexibility to bring the local destination to life. The Luxury Collection, which is part of Marriott’s Distinctive Luxury brand portfolio, represents hotels that define the destination and provide the full luxury experience, both in terms of the distinctive qualities of the physical hotel and property and impeccable service. Autograph Collection Hotels is part of Marriott’s Premium Distinctive brand portfolio of upper upscale, full-service lifestyle hotels and offers a distinguished portfolio of independent hotels around the world that are exactly like nothing else, hand-selected for their rich character and uncommon details. Tribute Portfolio, which also sits in the Premium Distinctive brand group, offers hotels with an indie-spirit that comes to life through captivating design and vibrant social spaces. Marriott is focused on differentiating among the collections by giving each a distinct personality and curating the hotels within each portfolio to speak to a specific customer expectation.

In 2017, the three brands are expected to grow 20% – which includes opening over 40 one-of-a-kind collection properties across the globe. This year’s growth is expected to expand the portfolio’s distribution to 50 countries and territories.

“With our three-tier collection strategy that includes The Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection Hotels and Tribute Portfolio brands, independent hoteliers have more options to leverage Marriott’s powerful loyalty and distribution channels, whether through a new build or conversion hotel, depending on the location and physical product,” said Tony Capuano, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Development Officer at Marriott International. “We’re seeing increased demand for Marriott’s collection brands given consumers’ desire to stay at properties with unique stories and independent hotel owners realizing that Marriott’s size and scale can drive significant value to their properties.”

The Preference for Independence + the Power of the Marriott Platform

Through Marriott’s collections brands, independent hoteliers can leverage Marriott’s powerful loyalty and distribution channels to attract high-value guests while state-of-the-art technology, global negotiating power and shared services drive efficiencies. Today, Marriott’s combined loyalty platform, which includes Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, leads the industry with over 100 million members.

“Size, scale and choice really do matter in the complicated distribution environment that we are in,” noted Stephanie Linnartz, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Marriott International. “Independent hotels are an invaluable part of our portfolio, because they make our loyalty program more compelling, our sales efforts more effective and our overall hotel portfolio even more attractive to guests.”

The Luxury Collection

Launched over 20 years ago, The Luxury Collection helped define and drive demand for independent experiences. With more than 100 hotels open in over 30 countries and territories, The Luxury Collection offers the promise of unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories and define the destination. Fans of this brand have come to expect magnificent decor, spectacular settings, impeccable service and the latest modern conveniences. The Luxury Collection consists of some of the world’s most iconic hotels, from The Gritti Palace in Venice to Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort in Mykonos.

The brand is scheduled to debut in three countries this year, as well as open its first ski resorts – Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Cortina, Italy and Hotel Talisa, a Luxury Collection Resort in Vail, Colorado.

“We are proud to be a part of The Luxury Collection’s prestigious portfolio, with its array of exceptional, luxury properties that appeal to sophisticated travelers worldwide,” said Paul Wischermann, President, Wischermann Partners, Inc. “The success we’ve enjoyed over the years with our Minneapolis property Hotel Ivy, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in fact, prompted us to search for additional development opportunities nationwide. Now that The Luxury Collection is part of Marriott International, we expect it will benefit from Marriott’s dedicated luxury sales team, which offers size, scale and understanding of the luxury hotel landscape.”

Autograph Collection Hotels

Launched in 2010, Autograph Collection Hotels has been one of Marriott’s fastest growing full-service brands. With nearly 120 hotels open in nearly 30 countries and territories, new openings are expected in China and Malaysia in 2017 and South Korea in 2018. The momentum in North America is especially strong with 47 signed hotels in the pipeline that are expected to open in the next few years.

The brand features a wide array of hotels and resorts including French Leave Resort, a 20-room hideaway on the pink sand beaches of the Bahamas, Boscolo Prague, a 19th-century neoclassical palace and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a 3,000-room luxury high rise on the Vegas Strip.

“Teaming with Marriott gives our new property in downtown Chicago – Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection – the ability to reach the most discerning global traveler who seeks out one-of-a-kind hotel stays,” said Scott Greenberg, President, SMASHotels. “With the power of Marriott supporting this property, we expect we’ll see a meaningful improvement to the hotel’s bottom line for years to come.”

Tribute Portfolio

Launched in 2015, Tribute Portfolio has 20 open hotels, with 14 signed hotels in the pipeline and a truly global footprint spanning Europe, South America, Asia Pacific and North America.

Most recently, Tribute Portfolio announced the signing and groundbreaking of The Wick hotel, located in Hudson, New York, and scheduled to open this fall. The Wick, originally built in the 1860s as a candle and soap manufacturing facility, will reemerge as a full-service boutique hotel with design details that evoke the spirit of Hudson.

“We are very excited that The Wick Hotel will be joining the Tribute Portfolio as we transform this Nineteenth Century Hudson building into an independent hotel,” said Tom Rossi, Principal, Redburn Development. “Tribute Portfolio will help us provide our guests with a unique experience and allow us to unlock the global strength of Marriott and its award-winning loyalty programs.”