Number of locations
|199 hotels (June 30, 2020)|
Autograph Collection is a group of independent upper-upscale to luxury hotels within the Marriott International portfolio. The properties are independently owned and operated under the Autograph Collection name.
To grow in the post-2008 economic downturn, Marriott, known for its rigid uniformity, was willing to relax this stipulation to draw independent unique hotels to its network of franchised properties. In 2010, Marriott approached Richard Kessler, an independent hotelier and former CEO of Days Inn, to incorporate the seven Kessler boutique properties into its system, under a yet unnamed new brand.
In 2006, Kessler had dropped the Westin brand affiliation from his downtown Orlando hotel to operate independently. Initially reluctant, Kessler came to an acceptable arrangement. The hotels would operate autonomously, keeping their names and identities. The Autograph Collection launched that year, with the Kessler properties forming the bulk of the hotel inventory. This freedom may seem unfair to branded properties, sometimes subject to intransigent brand standards or extra fees, but the difference is that these independents bear the cost of creating their own brand identities from scratch.
The new name highlighted not a brand, but a collection of hotels. The Leading Hotels of the World, targeting high-end customers looking for unique hotel experiences, had long dominated this market. Not displaying the Marriott branding or Marriott booking engine on the Autograph website, not only emphasized the unique experiences of these independent hotels, but also shielded the hospitality giant's various brands from fallout should the venture fail.
The selection included historical landmark buildings rejuvenated into the 21st century, but offering a hotel experience far different from a normal “cookie-cutter” property. The collection sought hotels that possessed an element of authentic local flavor and cultural distinction to provide guests with an enriching stay. The experience itself, and service, replaced the traditional definitions of luxury, such as the number of bathroom fixtures and thread count of the bed sheets and drapes. In addition to displaying hotels by location, guests could search the website by specifying unique preferences, such as culinary, historic exploration, arts, family, sports and urban.
Over time, the growth emphasis shifted from adding existing properties to proposals and new builds that incorporated the desired features. Financing for the latter projects could be more readily available to the owner, because lenders regard projects affiliated with a large hotel chain as less risky. In 1990, two-thirds of all hotels were independent, but today, less than 40 percent are independently owned and operated. Historically, hotels were branded or independent, now the expanding soft brand category falls in the middle. In 2018, there were about 475,000 independent hotels, and only around 55,000 in the soft category, but the number is expected to grow as soft branding becomes more mainstream.
Most independent hotels in strong market positions spurn offers to join a larger group. Whereas advantageous in a buoyant economy, during a downturn, the backing from the diverse customer base of a big brand might be a savior. Major soft brands launches were Ascend by Choice (2008), Autograph by Marriott (2010), Curio by Hilton (2014), Best Western Premier (2014), Unbound by Hyatt (2016), and Trademark by Wyndham (2017). Marriott continues to promote growth in its three soft brands, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, and Autograph.
To the guest, a soft brand hotel possesses the distinctive identity, design style, and regional flair of a leading independent property. To the hotelier, it accesses the global marketing channels, customer loyalty rewards program, staff training model, seamless back-of-house operational standards, and new technologies, provided by Marriott or its rivals. These hotels are free to retain their own personality, and make their own decisions on features such as uniforms, cuisine, and furniture. Where significant renovations or operational changes are a prerequisite to joining the group, these can be a hurdle. Ongoing fees are 5 to 10 percent of room revenue. Marriott does not disclose this percentage. In addition, the major online travel booking sites charge 15 to 30 percent commission. However, larger companies like Marriott use their market power to negotiate the lowest rates from those agents. Twelve months after a conversion to the Autograph Collection, independent hotels have experienced an average RevPAR percentage increase of 19.8 percent and an average RevPAR index percentage change of 12.5 percent.
In January 2017, Autograph began the Independent Film Initiative at the Sundance Film Festival with the Autograph Collection Hotels & The Black List Sundance Social Space. The Annual Black List is a comprehensive list of strong screenplays that require financing. Autograph has its own indie film channel for hotel guests. The Autograph Collection Short Film Award was created to discover new talent and accelerate the development of independent filmmakers. Furthermore, Autograph provides a complimentary one-week hotel stay to chosen writers as an opportunity to develop their work.
The Autograph Collection comprises a portfolio of 4- and 5-star properties that have ranged from a 15-room boutique hunting lodge in the Colorado mountains to the 3,400-room Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, The Bahamas.
As of June 30, 2020, the Autograph Collection consisted of 199 hotels in over 32 countries, with another 95 hotels with 16,941 rooms in its pipeline.
- Sapphire House in Antwerp (2022)
- The Hotel & Spa do Vinho in Bento Gonçalves
British Virgin Islands
- Civic Hotel, Surrey, BC
- The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews By-The-Sea, St Andrews, NB
- The Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Kananaskis Village, AB
- The Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina, SK
- The Douglas, Vancouver, BC
- Humaniti Hotel Montreal by Autograph Collection, Montreal, QC
- Muir Hotel, Halifax, NS
- The Pearle Hotel & Spa, Burlington, ON
- The Shanhaitian Resort in Sanya
- The Artisan D.C. Hotel in Bogota
- The Hotel Punta Islita in Guanacaste
- El Mangroove, Gulf of Papagayo
- Planet Hollywood Costa Rica, Gulf of Papagayo
- The Hotel Telegraaf in Tallinn
- The Boscolo Exedra Nice in Nice
- The Hotel de Bourgtheroulde in Rouen
- The L'Hermitage Gantois in Lille
- La Caserne Chanzy Hotel & Spa in Reims
- La Maison Rouge Hotel & Spa in Strasbourg
- Paragraph Resort & Spa Shekvetili, Autograph Collection in Shekvetili
- The Hotel Elephant in Weimar
- The Hotel am Steinplatz in Berlin
- The Roomers in Munich
- The Hotel Gewandhaus Dresden Dresden
- Schloss Lieser in the Moselle region
- The Hotel Atlantic in Hamburg
- The Villa Rothschild in Koenigstein im Taunus
- The Falkenstein Grand in Koenigstein im Taunus
- The Domes of Elounda in Crete
- The Domes Noruz Chania in Crete
- The Publica Isrotel in Herzliya
- Hotel Nassau Breda in Breda
- The Fontecruz Lisboa in Lisbon
- The Plaza in Seoul
- RYSE Hotel in Seoul
- GRAVITY Seoul Pangyo in Seongnam, Gyeonggi
- Hotel Onoma in Daejeon
- The Ercilla de Bilbao Hotel in Bilbao
- The Cotton House Hotel in Barcelona
- The Eugénie De Montijo in Toledo
- The Hotel Circulo Grand Via in Madrid
- The Hotel Palacio del Carmen in Santiago de Compostela
United Arab Emirates
- The Habtoor Grand Resort in Dubai
- The La Ville Hotel City Walk in Dubai
- The Lapita Resort in Dubai
- The Bankside Hotel in London
- The Hotel Xenia in Kensington
- The Glasshouse in Edinburgh
- The Threadneedles Hotel in London
- The University Arms Hotel in Cambridge
- Hotel Colonnade in Coral Gables, Florida
- The Hotel Adagio in San Francisco, California
- The Grand Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama
- The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas,
- The Advenire in St. George, Utah
- The Algonquin Hotel Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, New York
- The Ambassador Hotel in Wichita, Kansas
- The Arrowhead Springs Hotel and Spa in Lake Arrowhead, California
- The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia
- The Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa
- The Blackstone in Chicago, Illinois
- The Blue Moon Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida
- The Grand Bohemian Hotel in Orlando, Florida
- The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado
- The Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida
- The Castle Hotel in Orlando, Florida
- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada
- The Cloudveil in Jackson, Wyoming
- The Hotel Chicago Downtown in Chicago, Illinois
- The Current Iowa in Davenport, Iowa
- The Historic Davenport in Spokane, Washington
- The Daytona in Daytona Beach, Fl.
- Hotel Distil in Louisville, Kentucky
- The Draftsman in Charlottesville, Virginia
- The Hotel Duval in Tallahassee, Florida
- The Éilan Hotel & Spa in San Antonio, Texas,
- The Elliot Park Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota
- The Farnam in Omaha, Nebraska
- The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan
- The Hi-Lo Hotel in Portland, Oregon
- The Hotel Icon in Houston, Texas,
- The Industrialist Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- The Inn at Bay Harbor in Bay Harbor, Michigan
- The Koloa Landing Resort in Koloa, Hawaii
- The Laylow in Honolulu, Hawaii
- The Lexington Hotel in New York City
- The Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia
- The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Kohala Coast, Hawaii
- The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC
- The MC Hotel in Montclair, New Jersey
- The Metropolitan at The 9 in Cleveland, Ohio
- The Morrison House in Alexandria, Virginia
- The Hotel Northland in Green Bay, Wisconsin
- The Oaklander Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- The Paso Del Norte in El Paso, Texas
- The Pier South Resort in Imperial Beach, California
- The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine
- The Raphael Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri
- The Saint in New Orleans, Louisiana
- The StateView in Raleigh, North Carolina
- The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, North Carolina′
- The Triada in Palm Springs, California
- The Union Station Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee
- Westdrift Manhattan Beach, California
- The Warrior in Sioux City, Iowa
- Hotel Carmichael in Carmel, Indiana
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