Dubai, UAE – March 4, 2013 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide,
Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced the beginning of a month-long relocation of
its global headquarters from Stamford, CT to Dubai. From now until April
5th, Starwood President & CEO Frits van Paasschen and the
company’s top executives will conduct day-to-day business from Dubai, an
increasingly important global destination and travel hub. Following the
company’s successful relocation to China in June 2011, this second leadership
move reflects Starwood’s innovative management approach to cultivating a more
global culture by understanding, appreciating and leveraging different societal
perspectives and approaches to business and hospitality.
“With 80 percent of Starwood’s pipeline coming from rapidly growing markets, it is simply not possible to lead a truly global business from a boardroom in Connecticut,” said van Paasschen. “Rising wealth and ever greater global connectivity are creating a once-in-a-lifetime growth opportunity for our business – by fueling new demand, changing travel patterns, and entirely new travel markets. Dubai epitomizes this changing face of travel, and we expect this relocation will deepen our relationships with partners, associates and customers. Just as with our one-month relocation to China in 2011, our time in-market will spark new ideas that will fortify our position as the most global high-end hotel company.”
During the course of the relocation, more than 200 Starwood executives and GMs from the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America will travel to Dubai as the company runs day-to-day operations almost 7,000 miles and a nine-hour time zone away from its usual HQ outside New York City. The team will meet with associates, customers, owners and prospective developers in the UAE and also take advantage of Dubai’s location for business travel to destinations including Mumbai, Addis Ababa, Jeddah, Dushanbe and Kuwait.
To visually narrate the month’s journey, Starwood today debuted Tumblr and Instagram accounts. Please follow the relocation at http://starwoodhotels.tumblr.com/ and http://instagram.com/starwoodbuzz
Dubai Illustrative of “New Golden Age of Travel”
Dubai is a natural choice for Starwood’s second month-long senior leadership relocation as the city is situated eight hours from two-thirds of the world’s population and is a global gateway at the crossroads of East and West and the developed and rapidly growing economies. The Middle East continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub with Dubai now home to many multinational corporations, consultants, banks and university campuses. In 2012, Dubai International Airport counted approximately 58 million visitors, a number which is expected to grow at annual rates above ten percent, and the airport is expected to be the world’s largest in terms of international passenger traffic by 2015.
“Globalization is accelerating new trade patterns, capital flows and wealth creation: this translates to more people from more places traveling to more destinations than ever before,” said van Paasschen. “We are on the cusp of a new Golden Age of Travel, and Dubai is at the epicenter of this sea change.”
Along with changing travel patterns, Starwood has seen a significant increase in demand for luxury in all corners of the world, including the Middle East. As the most global high-end hotel company with nearly twice as many rooms as Marriott or Hilton in emerging markets, Starwood is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the record number of people entering the ranks of the very wealthy and developing a taste for luxury.
With the opening of W Doha in 2009, Starwood introduced a new luxury hotel category in the Middle East, and plans are underway to open new W hotels in Amman, Muscat, and Abu Dhabi as well as two W properties in Dubai. Following the W brand’s debut, Starwood introduced its St. Regis brand into the Middle East with the 2011 opening of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort (Abu Dhabi). St. Regis has since opened in Doha and will this year unveil a second St. Regis hotel in Abu Dhabi, located on the Corniche. Future St. Regis openings in the region include The St. Regis Cairo, The St. Regis Amman, and The St. Regis Dubai. Starwood also continues to grow its Luxury Collection brand in the UAE and will debut in the Emirate of Ajman in 2014.
Diverse Viewpoints Needed to Succeed Globally
Starwood’s roots in the Middle East date back nearly 50 years. This first-mover advantage has put Starwood in a leadership position in the region, with 45 hotels and another 30 under development. In Dubai alone, Starwood has 14 hotels and another six in the pipeline. That makes Dubai Starwood’s second largest market in the world behind New York City. The company’s Middle East footprint is set to grow by about 70 percent over the next five years thanks to Starwood’s brand strength, local know-how and long-standing relationships.
“Working day-to-day in a different market allows you to see the world through a different lens,” said van Paasschen. “The insights that come from experiences like this move make us more agile in today’s rapidly changing world. As a company, we make better and faster decisions thanks to the diverse viewpoints of our leaders and associates. These trips allow us to listen firsthand to what our associates around the world have to say.”
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About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,134 properties in nearly 100 countries and 171,000 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.
Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. Further results, performance and achievements may be affected by general economic conditions, including the duration and severity of any global or regional economic downturns, the availability of financing alternatives at acceptable terms, the impact of war and terrorist activity, business and financing conditions, foreign exchange fluctuations, cyclicality of the real estate (including residential) and the hotel and vacation ownership businesses, operating risks associated with the hotel, vacation ownership and residential businesses. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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