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Marriott International Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report) is all set to introduce its Autograph Collection in the United Kingdom with the addition of two properties - Threadneedles in London and The Glasshouse in central Edinburgh, Scotland. The two properties will be launched in spring this year.

Launched in Jan 2010, the Autograph Collection has been gaining strong momentum and adding properties to its collection of independently owned and operated high-quality assets at an average of one property per month. With the latest inclusions, the Autograph Collection will have more than 40 hotels worldwide.

Many owners are willing to renovate or reposition hotels in order to join the Autograph Collection and be a part of the Marriott brand. As a part of the Marriott group, these properties get to reap the benefits of Marriott’s much greater scale, industry leading reservations and marketing system, as well as loyalty program.

The Autograph Collection is acting as a key driver of Marriott’s European expansion plans. Europe boasts several historic and iconic independent hotels and their distinctive nature is consistent with the brand identity of the Autograph Collection. Presently, Marriott targets 80,000 rooms in Europe by 2015.

The concept presently boasts several prestigious properties in Europe such as the Fontecruz Lisboa Hotel in Portugal, Hotel De Bourgtheroulde in the city of Rouen and the Hotel L'Hermitage Gantois in Lille. The Autograph Collection will also make an entry into Germany later this year with the opening of the Hotel am Steinplatz after an extensive makeover.

Compared to the U.S., the number of visitors to Europe is higher as it is easier to get a visa for the European countries. However, a sluggish macroeconomic environment in Europe due to the continued Euro-zone debt problem acts as a short-term headwind to businesses.

Marriott currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some other hotel industry stocks currently performing well include Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH - Snapshot Report), Home Inns & Hotels Management Inc. (HMIN - Snapshot Report) and Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp. (VAC - Snapshot Report). While Home Inns holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Choice Hotels and Marriott Vacations retain a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 

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