With the exception of the luxury tier, in which Marriott's Ritz-Carlton Hotels brand placed second, and the midprice extended stay and economy tiers, in which Marriott had no brands in the running, travel buyers gave their highest scores to Marriott. In the 2006 survey, midprice Courtyard by Marriott and TownePlace Suites—both of which were beaten in their tiers by other Marriott brands this year—were the only brands to be ranked first.

Sean Hennessey, president of New York-based Lodging Investment Advisors, said Marriott's scope is a benefit in keeping its edge, with the systems and sales force better able to cater to travel buyers. Travelers also are noticing adjustments recently made to the companies' brands, said Mike Jannini, Marriott's executive vice president of global brand strategy and innovation.

"We've made a boatload of changes across all of our brands in the last two years," Jannini said. "We went outside the industry and hired the best innovation firms to create very new approaches to guest room design and public spaces to make a much more engaging hotel experience."

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