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Starwood’s 10th brand sets sights on world’s most distinct independent hotels

Launches with five diverse hotels, including famed Royal Palm South Beach Miami

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has introduced Tribute Portfolio™, the company’s 10th brand and second collection of independent hotels. Promising owners, Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) members and guests the ability to “Stay Independent,” the Tribute Portfolio brand will be comprised of outstanding independent hotels and resorts.

With a firm focus on four star, upper upscale hotels, Tribute Portfolio will complement Starwood’s The Luxury Collection brand and further solidify Starwood as the world’s most global high-end hotel company. The brand will make its debut today with its first featured hotel, the iconic Royal Palm South Beach Miami and will soon open new hotels in Asheville, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

“With Starwood’s history of brand innovation, design leadership and our leading global high-end footprint, we believe Tribute Portfolio will be an exciting solution for hotel owners of distinct properties who wish to maintain their independent spirit, yet benefit from Starwood’s powerful distribution, loyalty and sales platforms,” said Adam Aron, Starwood’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our mission with Tribute Portfolio is very simple: bring great hotels in great destinations to our loyal SPG members, who make up more than half of all Starwood stays.”

Aron continued, “We recognize that independent hotels also attract guests who are not already affiliated with SPG. Tribute Portfolio will provide a clear opportunity for us to grow our SPG member base and deliver more loyal guests across all of our Starwood hotels worldwide.”

Aron said Starwood’s goal is to have 100 Tribute Portfolio hotels and resorts over the next five years. Initial focus on growth of this new brand will be in North America and Europe, and travelers can expect to see Tribute Portfolio properties in global markets within the first year.

“Nearly 50% of upper upscale hotels in the U.S. are independent, and likewise, 60% of four star hotels globally are not affiliated with a brand flag. This provides Starwood with a vast landscape to grow Tribute Portfolio,” said Dave Marr, Senior Vice President of Brand Management, North America and Global Brand Leader for Tribute Portfolio. “In speaking with many owners, it is clear that they welcome the opportunity to partner with Starwood to enhance the performance of their independent hotels. They are attracted to the benefits that will come from the power of SPG and our high-end Starwood sales customers coupled with the flexibility of minimal brand specific standards.”

Starwood’s The Luxury Collection, the hotel industry’s original “collection brand,” featuring some of the world’s most iconic independent luxury hotels, is in the midst of its most prolific growth spurt in its 21-year history. In the last decade, The Luxury Collection brand has tripled its footprint, growing more than 60% in the last five years alone. Marr continued, “Starwood has meticulously handpicked the luxury hotels featured in The Luxury Collection, and we will just as carefully select independent, upper upscale properties for Tribute Portfolio, ensuring a consistent high-end experience that meets guest and SPG member expectations around the world.”

Tribute Portfolio properties will be located in high-demand destinations and markets where SPG members travel but today Starwood has little or no footprint.

“Our SPG members constantly tell us they want more choices in more destinations, and we see Tribute Portfolio as a nod to our members who have been front and center as we developed this brand,” said Mark Vondrasek, Starwood’s Senior Vice President, Distribution, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing. “They have told us they would like to stay with us whenever and wherever they can, and now we can reward them as they ‘Stay Independent.’”

According to a recent survey of SPG members conducted by Communispace in the SPG Advisory Community, 89% said they are interested in staying in independent hotels, particularly for leisure travel and special occasion trips to unique destinations. Additionally, nearly 70% of members said they have already stayed at an un-branded hotel property, representing a strong opportunity for the company. SPG members identified a diverse North American hotel wish-list that includes more Florida and Caribbean resorts as well as locations in California wine country, Las Vegas, and boutique markets like Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. The list of “most wanted” global destinations features Alpine ski markets, African safari retreats, Southeast Asia resorts and Northern Europe, especially the Nordic countries. Demand is also on the rise for more hotels in South America, led by Rio, São Paulo and Buenos Aires as well as across Asia in primary markets such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Vondrasek continued, “SPG is the world’s richest hotel loyalty program. Our concentration of high-end hotel brands plus partnerships with companies like Delta, Uber, American Express, and Emirates Airline continue to raise the stakes in loyalty and make it very compelling for mega travelers to choose to stay with Starwood. With Tribute Portfolio, we are thrilled to offer members access to some of the world’s most exciting independent hotels.”

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