Starwood Outlines Europe Expansion Plans

At the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced that it is on track to open more than 40 new hotels and resorts across Europe in the next five years, expanding its portfolio by almost 30 percent, with openings in both fast-growing and established markets. 

Further underlining its long-term growth strategy, Starwood is set to open five new hotels in Turkey this year, including The St. Regis Istanbul, which just opened on March 1.

“2014 was a record year of deal signings for Starwood in Europe with consistent, sustainable high-quality portfolio growth in key European markets and sought-after destinations,” Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, said in a statement. “Our growth momentum continues this year with 14 hotels on track to open across Europe and strong owner interest in our nine lifestyle brands.”

2015 opening highlights include:

- Five new hotels in Turkey, bringing its portfolio to 15 hotels across seven brands by the end of 2015. Among the openings is the St. Regis brand launch in Turkey with The St. Regis Istanbul. Starwood will also introduce the Four Points by Sheraton brand into the country with two Four Points by Sheraton hotels in Batisehir and in Dudullu, two of Istanbul’s most promising districts. The Sheraton brand will open a hotel in Atasehir, on the Asian side of Istanbul and recently entered the emerging coastal city of Samsun.

- Steady growth in Russia with two new Starwood hotels opening in 2015: Sheraton Ufa and a Four Points by Sheraton in Kaluga, marking the entry of the Four Points by Sheraton brand in the country. With six more hotels in the pipeline, Starwood will double its footprint in Russia over the next three years.

- Growth momentum in Germany with the launch of the Aloft brand in Stuttgart and Munich this summer, strengthening Starwood’s position in this key European travel market to nearly 30 hotels.

- The introduction of the W and Element brands to The Netherlands by year-end with W Amsterdam in the Dam square, and Element Amsterdam, south of the city center.

- Three further additions to the Sheraton brand portfolio in Southern Europe: Entering Romania with the opening of Sheraton Bucharest this fall, a conversion that leverages the brand’s first-mover advantage. The brand will also open the Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, a conversion hotel, overlooking Lake Como in Italy, and expand its footprint in Croatia with the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel.

In 2014, Starwood experienced a record year of deal signings in Europe with almost 60 percent more signed deals than in the previous year, largely driven by conversion deals. Starwood continues to see increased interest from owners looking to maximize the value of their assets quickly, with many conversion opportunities amidst growing demand coming from the UK, Germany, France and Southern Europe.

Recent conversions such as The St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya and Excelsior Hotel Gallia, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Milan, have fueled growth in Starwood’s luxury brand segment, highlighting development interest for strong brands with global selling power. Another key conversion this year is Sheraton Berlin Grand Hotel Esplanade, which marks the launch of the Sheraton brand in Germany’s capital, one of the most important European travel destinations for business and leisure.

Franchise deals are a fundamental part of Starwood’s development strategy, driving nearly 50 percent of signed hotel deals in Europe last year. The pace of franchise deal signings is expected to continue through 2020, particularly in mature markets such as the UK, Germany and France.

In Europe, the company’s mid-market brands, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element, are poised to exceed 50 percent of Starwood’s development pipeline with more than 15 new hotel openings expected across the three brands by the end of 2017.

Aloft will more than double its portfolio in Europe with hotels opening in St. Petersburg and London over the next two years, in addition to two hotels in Germany, opening this summer. Four Points by Sheraton, Starwood’s fastest growing brand will also expand in emerging markets with eight openings planned in Turkey and Russia by 2017. The eco-centric Element brand, introduced to Europe with the opening of Element Frankfurt Airport Hotel last year, will debut in Amsterdam before year-end, and become part of an Aloft and Element dual-hotel development in the historic Tobacco Dock section of East London in 2017.

“The record growth experienced in the last five years in the mid-market segment has set the stage for 2015, where we will see a vigorous expansion in mature and emerging markets,” said Michael Wale, president Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, noting an “increasing demand for conversion and franchise deals" from new and existing partners.