Hyatt Hotels' decision to retain the name of the Driskill Hotel in Austin Texas, which it acquired recently for $85 million, may mark the start of a new initiative to partner with more independent properties. "What drove our interest in (the Driskill) was organic, but it also prompted our thinking about long-term opportunities. There are many hotels like this throughout North America, and there could be an opportunity to affiliate with a brand all on their own," said Hyatt executive David Tarr. The move mirrors a trend in the industry in which hotel brands align with iconic independent hotels -- offering operations and marketing support in exchange for prestige and lucrative market position.

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