• Marriott signs on with others

Marriott last week announced the launch of its Autograph Collection, a moniker which conjures up a joint venture between the hotelier and the UK's leading fashion retailer Marks & Spencer.

This might at least have been an original take. Unfortunately, the "brand" looks like another attempt to vacuum up independent upscale hotels needing a distribution partner.

The Marriott press release claims it "will take the innovative approach of grouping these iconic hotels according to the unique experience that guests are seeking whether it's a resort, historic hotel, boutique arts or urban edge hotel in a dynamic gateway city".

Pretty much the same as Hilton's Waldorf=Astoria Collection (not to be confused with the Waldorf=Astoria core brand), Starwood's Luxury Collection, or the numerous marketing organisations of which The Leading Hotels of the World is probably the best known.

Independent hoteliers now have yet another big brand company offering them a res system and loyalty scheme for a fee. It is hard to see any long-term winners with the initiative.

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