Marriott International has created a division for its luxury
brands and plans to expand its hotel count within that sector by 7% next year.
The Marriott International Luxury Brands Group will oversee
the five legacy Marriott luxury brands (Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, JW
Marriott, Edition and Bulgari) and the luxury brands from the Starwood
acquisition (St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W).
Marriott announced the formation of the group on Monday at the
International Luxury Travel Market conference in Cannes, France.
Marriott plans to open 28 luxury hotels next year, primarily
under the former Starwood brands. Specifically, Marriott plans to open nine
Luxury Collection, six W and five St. Regis hotels.
Marriott is focusing on coordinating its growth in the luxury sector, where the
company says travel spending has jumped almost 50% during the past five years.
Coordinating that effort is all the more necessary because just eight of the 28
hotels that it plans to open under the Luxury Brands Group are under brands
Marriott had operated before its acquisition of Starwood in September.
Marriott last week said it planned to work more closely with
travel professionals to better delineate its Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis luxury
brands. Marriott will position Ritz-Carlton hotels as luxury properties that
are a jumping-off point to explore a destination, while St. Regis hotels are
being positioned as iconic properties that are destinations in themselves.