Within the past few years, nearly every major hotel company has added a soft brand collection to its portfolio. Neil Cantor, head of the Choice Ascend Hotel Collection, points out that the scrum in the space is caused by “chains that want to be where the consumer is.” From an owner’s perspective, being part of a soft brand collection has a multitude of advantages, not the least of which are maintaining autonomy while increasing visibility and access to resources. Guneet Bajwa, managing principal of Presidio Companies, is working with Starwood’s Luxury Collection on a soon-to-open resort in St. Helena, Calif. “Soft brands give owners the freedom to provide a unique experience without being boxed in by standards,” he explains. Jay Patel, co-owner of Wintergreen Hospitality, says the entry of the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, N.C., into Hilton’s Curio Collection, “gave us an immediate presence on a global landscape that you could only dream of on your own.” That was because of the connection to strong global sales and marketing channels, prodigious guest loyalty programs, reservations and customer care systems, and revenue management and back-of-house processes. Another benefit is easier access to financing, explains Jim Brady, developer and owner of The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine, which recently joined Marriott’s Autograph Collection. “There’s no question about it,” Brady says. “Having the big red M is a very important factor to lenders. It’s like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval.” Get the full story at Lodging Read also "Brands leverage independent hotels’ success" at Hotel News Now