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Fortune 500 Company To Relocate Headquarters To Central Park As Sheraton Hotels Hosts First-Ever “Global Out Of Office Day”

NEW YORK, NY – September 15, 2008 – Today, work becomes a walk in the park as Sheraton Hotels invites New Yorkers to swap their ties for t-shirts and ditch their wing tips for flip flops and spend the day working in Central Park.  There they will join more than 600 associates from Sheraton’s parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), as the Fortune 500 company relocates its offices to work remotely from the park as part of the Sheraton brand’s first-ever “Global Out of Office Day” (G.O.O.D).  G.O.O.D launches Sheraton’s new signature hotel offering:  the “Link@SheratonSM experienced with Microsoft®,” a unique lobby lounge that enables today’s travelers to stay connected with instant access to information and technology for work, leisure and social networking. G.O.O.D. also kicks off a newly inked sponsorship of free Wi-Fi in Central Park’s iconic Sheep’s Meadow and marks Sheraton hotel’s partnership announcement with PepsiCo, the event sponsor, naming SoBe Life Water the official vitamin-enhanced water brand of Sheraton and the Link@Sheraton. 

Designed for today’s professionals who are no longer chained to the office, and can seamlessly maintain productivity while working remotely, The Link@Sheraton is rolling out in Sheraton hotels worldwide as a key component of a comprehensive effort to revitalize the iconic Sheraton brand and enhance the guest experience at Sheraton’s 408 hotels in 75 countries.  Sheraton and its owners are undertaking a multi-year strategy to improve the quality and consistency of the brand portfolio that includes $1.3 billion in renovations, $400 million in key brand initiatives and more than $2 billion in new hotel openings.  

Global Launch of Link; Remote Ringing of NYSE Opening Bell from Central Park; PepsiCo to Refresh
To celebrate the global launch of its Link@Sheraton, more than 1,000 Starwood and Sheraton associates around the world will work “out of the office” as Sheraton recreates virtual Links in outdoor venues around the globe including San Diego, Shanghai, Sydney and Toronto. The Link@Sheraton in Central Park will provide free Wi-Fi, fully functioning computer workstations, plasma TVs and comfortable lounge-like work zones.  Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen will officially open Central Park for business at its virtual Link@Sheraton with a “remote ringing” of the New York Stock Exchange opening bell at the park, while Sheraton SVP, Hoyt Harper simultaneously rings it at the Exchange.  Van Paasschen will then work side by side with associates and conduct meetings with other business leaders, including Massimo d’Amore, CEO, PepsiCo Americas Beverages, and John B. Williams, General Manager of Marketing for Microsoft.  Sheraton partner PepsiCo will also refresh associates with vitamin-enhanced SoBe Life Water beverages while recharge stations allow workers to take a break with healthy PepsiCo snacks or charge their electronics and catch up on water cooler chat.  Additionally, best selling author Seth Godin, LinkedIn GM Mike Gamson and founder and chairman of Athlete’s Performance, Mark Verstegen, will conduct sessions throughout the day on how to effectively maintain a healthy work life balance in today’s ever changing workplace.

The Link@Sheraton is designed to serve the needs of its core guests who are social individuals seeking to balance work and play while also sharing the travel experience with each other.  Designed as a social destination, the Link@Sheraton invites guests to interact with each other while they check their email, research local attractions and even print boarding passes using free Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled computer stations.  A key feature of the Link@Sheraton experience is Microsoft branded webcams, allowing guests of all ages to easily email video postcards back home. The Link@Sheraton experience also features televisions, daily newspapers and The Link Café featuring Sobe Life Water to offer guests a healthy form of hydration with all natural herbal ingredients. Through its relationship with Microsoft, the new “Link@Sheraton experienced with Microsoft” will offer Microsoft computer terminals and Internet access points running Microsoft products. 

Recognizing that today’s most successful professionals are no longer tied to an office, and can seamlessly maintain productivity while working remotely, Sheraton also announced today that it will sponsor free Wi-Fi service in Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow through September 30 and during summer 2009.

Today’s Professionals Connected to Work 24/7 – Even in the Bedroom
To coincide with Global Out of Office Day, Sheraton today announced the findings of a global work-life survey commissioned to gauge the work habits of today’s professionals, given the adaption of technology that continues to radically change the way society works.  In fact, 85% of respondents say today’s technology compels them to be connected to work matters 24/7, to the point that 87% bring their PDA into their bedroom, 85% peek at e-mail in the middle of the night and 80% check their PDA first thing in the morning, before their first cup of coffee.  No surprise then that 81% said new technology forces then to work more now than five years ago, but on the flip side, nearly the same number (84%) reveal this technology allows them to spend more time out of the office and provides more quality time and flexibility with family and friends.  Moreover, 79% concur that PDAs and cell phones enable them to be just as productive outside the office as inside. 

Helping guests make connections at more than 400 hotels in 75 countries around the world, Sheraton is revitalizing its iconic brand while continuing its aggressive international expansion by adding 54 hotels and 20,000 guestrooms by 2009. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 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 AloftSM, and ElementSM.  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.

Article Publish Date : 09/15/2008