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Game-Changing Brands in Starwood’s Mid-Market Specialty Select Group Look Ahead to Fast-Paced Global Growth, New Markets - May 04, 2012
Starwood’s Mid-Market Portfolio, Including Aloft, Element, and Four Points by Sheraton, Expects to Open Milestone 250th Hotel in 2012.

Atlanta, GA, May 4, 2012 – It’s spring in Atlanta and the forecast is hot for the mid-market Specialty Select Brand group of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) from the the 2012 Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) annual convention, with an outlook of fast-paced global growth.

Starwood’s mid-market portfolio, which includes Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton, is expected to open its milestone 250th hotel by the end of the year, with 26 more hotels scheduled to debut in 2012.  In North America alone, Starwood expects to open another 14 mid-market hotels before the end of the year, bringing its total in North America to 175.  Starwood’s mid-market portfolio has grown over 40 percent since the first quarter of 2009 reflecting its worldwide appeal.

“By continuing to exceed expectations of our guests and our partners, our mid-market brands are fueling their own growth,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood. “Aloft, Element, and Four Points have earned a loyal and growing fan base, and continue to attract broad new segments of global travelers.  And for developers in a huge range of markets, the popularity and positioning of the brands combined with flexible development options and cost efficient operating models make them highly sought after.” 

With over 1,100 Starwood properties now open in nearly 100 countries, Starwood’s mid-market brands are a significant part of Starwood’s growth momentum:

Aloft:  Aloft’s stylish global conquest continues.  The brand recently unveiled a burgeoning global pipeline expected to bring the brand to 70 hotels around the world in 2013.  Nearly every corner of the globe will see Aloft openings in 2012 and 2013, including expanded footprints across China, India, Malaysia, and North America.  Aloft’s first conversion project, Aloft San Francisco Airport, is also set to open this fall, ramping up a new channel for global growth.

Element: Starwood’s trailblazing eco-wise brand, Element rang in 2012 with the February debut of Element Miami International Airport, its tenth property and the first in Florida. The property typifies the “balance” that Element offers to business and leisure travelers.  The Element brand will also make its international debut in 2013 with the opening of Element Vaughan Southwest in Ontario, Canada, and New Jersey will get its second Element hotel in 2013 in Element Harrison.

Four Points by Sheraton: Rocketing into 2012 on a surge of global growth, Four Points by Sheraton boasts Starwood’s second-largest pipeline, including 24 new hotels set to open this year – and the milestone opening of its 175th property.  Four Points will debut a total of 11 properties in the U.S. in 2012. In China, one of the hottest growth markets for both Four Points and Starwood, the brand will open seven new hotels this year.  Four Points will make its debut in Saudi Arabia and the Dominican Republic; new Four Points properties will also open in Malaysia and Canada. With the scheduled openings, Four Points will command a presence in 30 countries and territories, up from 28 at the end of 2011.

Exceptional guest ratings, high praise from partner/developers, and acclaim from the media continue to propel Starwood’s mid-market brands to the top of their category, said Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands. “The singular personalities of our mid-market Specialty Select Brands are translating beautifully all over the world, and our growth reflects that,” he said. “Aloft, Element, and Four Points match unique brand personalities with outstanding guest experiences, and fuel continued and consistent growth.” 

Starwood created a dedicated group for its mid-market Specialty Select Brands in 2009 to optimize support for franchise owners and hotels.  A separate unit remains fully dedicated to Starwood’s Full Service franchise hotels, including Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton and Westin.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,103 properties in nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and ElementSM . The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

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