AC Hotels and Marriott International Launch Joint Venture Aim for Growth in Europe and Latam

Today the Spanish hotel group AC Hotels and Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) formally announced their joint venture to manage and franchise a new lodging co-brand across Europe and Latin America – "AC Hotels by Marriott."

At launch, over 90 existing AC Hotels in Spain, Italy and Portugal will be re-branded as AC Hotels by Marriott and enter into long term management or franchise agreements with the joint venture. 

Antonio Catalan, chairman and founder of AC Hotels said, "We see tremendous growth potential for AC Hotels by Marriott and will be aggressively pursuing development opportunities throughout Europe and Latin America." 

Amy McPherson, president and managing director of Marriott International in Europe, said, "We are thrilled with this opportunity to dramatically grow our presence in Spain, the 4th largest source market in Europe, and deliver a great new lifestyle product to our global customer." 

The 9,100-room AC Hotels by Marriott venture is a significant driver of Marriott's European growth strategy. At launch, it will represent almost a quarter of the progress toward the company's goal of doubling its portfolio in Europe over five years to 80,000 rooms. 

"AC Hotels by Marriott" will incorporate the concept and business model of AC Hotels' urban lifestyle hotel product, characterized by a blend of quality, comfort, design and technology, with Marriott International's global systems, distribution, and sales platforms, particularly Marriott Rewards, a large hospitality loyalty programs with 33 million members. The combination will permit Marriott's customers access under the Marriott Rewards program to a portfolio of Spain's leading business and urban-leisure hotels, enable AC's guests to earn Marriott Rewards points for travel at Marriott branded hotels around the world, and provide both companies with a platform for future growth. 

The partners anticipate that the venture will close in the first quarter of 2011, after receipt of necessary consents and other remaining conditions have been satisfied. Starting May 2011, they expect that all AC Hotels by Marriott hotels will be bookable on

The agreement follows the designation as Marketing Director of Andrea Padilla, until recently Marketing Director Latin America at Avaya. She was named Marketing Director for Marriot International Latin America, where she leads the branding, PR and overall marketing strategy for the different Marriott Brands throughout the Latin American region.

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