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Beijing, China – October 26, 2010 – China continues to be the richest source
of new, loyal travelers for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:
HOT), according to an analysis on the enrollment and travel trends of Starwood
Preferred Guest (SPG) members. The results underscore reports by the
World Tourism Organization that forecast China as the world’s largest market
for inbound and domestic tourism by 2015.
China is Starwood’s Fastest Growing Customer Base and is now SPG’s Second Largest Market
Chinese enrollment in SPG jumped 58% in 2010 compared to last year, and this year China has risen to become SPG’s second largest base of active members, surpassing the United Kingdom and behind only North America. This record growth is on top of rapid gains in 2009, when SPG saw a 50% increase in SPG members in China which was then ranked as the fourth largest SPG market.
Starwood enjoys a first mover advantage in China, having opened the first branded hotel in the People’s Republic of China in 1985 with The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing. Today, with 62 hotels in China, Starwood is one of the largest operators of four and five star hotels here and is lengthening its lead with a pipeline of 86 hotels, significantly more than its competition. Between now and 2011, one in three new Starwood hotels will open in China.
“China is Starwood’s second largest hotel market with our fastest growing customer base. Just as it is integral to establish our footprint in China, it is critical for Starwood to cultivate loyalty and brand zealots among the Chinese, who will have an increasingly outsized impact on the worldwide travel industry,” said Phil McAveety, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer.
Nearly Half of all Guests in Starwood’s Chinese Hotels are SPG Members
Nearly one out of two hotel guests at Starwood’s Chinese hotels are SPG members. And while in the past Starwood’s hotels in China were outposts for Western travelers, today, more than 50% of guests here are Chinese, illustrative of China’s fast growing domestic travel market. Internationally, China is expected to have 100 million outbound travelers by 2015.
“China is not only home to our fastest growing customer base, but also our fastest growing frequent travelers,” said Mark Vondrasek, Senior Vice President Distribution, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing. “Key ’10-plus stayers’ – the folks most loyal to SPG and our brands – grew 30 percent this year over last. We’re also beginning to see a meaningful uptick in international travel outside of China, which will continue to have a powerful network effect on our hotels around the world.”
Chinese SPG Members Increase Global Travel
The analysis also revealed that while Chinese SPG members are most likely to redeem their points for travel at Starwood hotels in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Nanjing, travel to international destinations is growing. In 2010 year to date, SPG saw a 32% increase in travel outside of China by SPG members in China, and a 41% increase in travel into the United States and Canada.
About Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels 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, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com