WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 22, 2009 – From the AAHOA Lodging Conference
in Washington D.C., Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT)
announces it remains on-track on its journey to open its 1,000th
hotel and resort this year. Contributing to the company’s growth is its
best-in-class Specialty Select Group, which is comprised of three distinct
select service brands – Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton. In
the next two months alone, Starwood will open the 25th Aloft
worldwide, the fifth Element and the first Four Points by Sheraton based on the
new design prototype, which is also the 137th property
“With a focus on working with the right partners, on the right properties, in the right places, Starwood and our proven development partners are positioned for success during the recovery and beyond,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Starwood is an established leader in the upper-upscale and luxury segments, and the growth of our high-caliber, moderately priced lifestyle brands allows us to better meet the needs of both developers and guests in key markets around the world. As we open these hotels, our powerful programs like Starwood Preferred Guest are driving occupancy as its members provide a foundation in soft markets – staying more and spending more.”
Starwood’s Specialty Select portfolio has benefited from the reinvention of the Four Points by Sheraton brand, as well as from the development community’s enthusiasm for Starwood’s newest brands, Aloft and Element. Less than one year after their global debut, Starwood’s newest lifestyle brands, Aloft and Element, continue to experience steady growth, building on the more than 100 hotels signed at the brands’ launch.
“Our compelling Specialty Select brands complement rather than compete with each other and provide developers innovative solutions to meet the needs of consumers in each individual market,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton. “The success we are experiencing with these brands, even during tough times, is a testament to the power of Starwood and our development partners.”
The Rejuvenated Four Points by Sheraton Drives Growth and Scores Well with Guests
Four Points by Sheraton is currently experiencing the strongest growth momentum in its history. In 2009, the brand expects to open more than 20 hotels in 11 countries, including its first in India this summer. Since January, it has opened hotels in Malaysia, Mexico and the United States. Next month, the brand opens its flagship vacation hotel in Punta Gorda, Florida. The brand’s new prototype design also makes its debut in May with the Four Points by Sheraton San Antonio Northwest. And this summer, Four Points by Sheraton will rise to new heights with a 30-story hotel in Times Square.
Starwood’s strategy to improve the quality and consistency of the Four Points by Sheraton brand has resulted in a 70 percent turnover in the portfolio over the last five years through an investment of more than $1 billion in major property renovations, conversions, and new build hotels. The brand’s emphasis on uncomplicated comfort continues to strike a chord with guests, as evidenced by steady gains in JD Power Guest Satisfaction scores and a 13 percent point gain in brand awareness since 2004.
Aloft Set to Double Presence in 2009
Aloft takes the DNA of W to the upscale select service category, and has proved to be a popular choice among developers and travelers. Representing one of the most successful launches in the industry, Aloft opened its first 17 hotels in 2008 in three countries – the United States, Canada and China – and expects to more than double its footprint this year. Aloft will open two hotels per month in 2009, and has kept pace with eight openings since January in markets including Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; San Antonio; Tempe, Ariz. and Green Bay, Wis. In May, Aloft will mark a meaningful milestone with the opening of its 25th hotel worldwide, which will be located just outside Baltimore in Arundel Mills, Maryland. In September, the brand is slated to make its debut in the Middle East with the Aloft Abu Dhabi.
Element Adds Four Hotels in 2009
Starwood’s green trailblazer, Element, opened its first two hotels in 2008 and its first in 2009 with the Element Houston Vintage Park. The brand expects to open three more this year in Denver; Baltimore; and Irving, Texas. Beyond the United States, Element has long term plans to add hotels in targeted international markets, such as Canada and the United Arab Emirates. With Element, Starwood developed an economically responsible LEED-certified hotel concept that is accessible to developers and delivers an environmentally conscious hotel experience without compromising on comfort. Guest satisfaction scores for the green trailblazer are at levels traditionally reserved exclusively for luxury brands.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 960 properties in 97 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 .