Guest will now be given the opportunity to use their Marriott and Starwood loyalty points at independent hotels. This New York Times article explains how Marriott and Starwood are looking to expand their availability by partnering with independent hotels and creating new hotel groups under their brand umbrella. The Kessler Collection is growing the offerings for Marriott loyalty members under the Autograph Collection. These seven new locations will allow members to visit new locations and experience a different kind of ‘Marriott’ hotel. These hotels are now listed on Marriott.com and promoted through Marriott emails, which increases exposure for these smaller hotels. Marriott is looking to expand further with its new partnership with Ian Schrager in starting their Edition hotel group. The goal is add fun new locations to the options available to their members and guests.
Starwood has also opened up more than 75 new independent hotels to its loyalty members through the Luxury Collection in international locations. Kimpton uses a similar model in the US with its collection of 50 hotels. These new hotels expand the benefits for loyalty members in terms of experiences available and locations to visit. It seems a win-win-win all around for guests, big brands and independent hotels.
I am excited to visit some of the new Marriott options. I have visited most of the Marriott hotels within a 2 hour radius of my home and although some stand out they start to all look the same. I like the service I receive so I tend to return to Marriott because I know what I will get vs. the unknown at a smaller boutique hotel. With the new additions it seems that I get the best of both worlds. I can have the same expectations for Marriott service but visit a hotel that may not be as cookie cutter as some of the Marriott’s where I have stayed in the past.