Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. reported it expects to open another 70 to 80 new-build and conversion hotels in 2011, after opening 72 in 2010. Starwood will open nearly 70 percent of its new hotels outside North America, with the majority in the Asia Pacific region.
Starwood says it is also widening its lead as the largest operator of luxury and upper upscale hotels in the world. Of the new hotels Starwood is opening this year, 60 percent will be in the luxury and upper upscale segment, including six St. Regis hotels and two Luxury Collection properties. Starwood this year will open its 100th hotel under its St. Regis and Luxury Collection brands.
“Starwood is well positioned to meet the resurgence in demand for luxury lodging and now offers more luxury in more destinations than any hotel company,” said Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO of Starwood. “At the same time, we are also leveraging our global advantage in key international markets where building hotels is critical to developing infrastructure. The world’s rising economic powers are expected to surpass established markets by 2050, and our footprint is growing accordingly.”
Robust demand in Asia Pacific remains a key driver of Starwood’s growth, the company said, accounting for more than half of all Starwood hotel openings in 2011. Starwood will open 40 new hotels in Asia Pacific this year, resulting in a portfolio of over 220 hotels in the region by year end.
More than half of the new Starwood hotels opening in Asia Pacific are slated for greater China, where Starwood expects to increase its current portfolio from 70 to more than 115 hotels by 2012. Openings will include 19 Sheraton hotels, ten Westin hotels, and two St. Regis hotels.
“As China prepares to dominate the global tourism market with one million outbound travelers by 2015, we expect their loyalty to our brands to have an ever increasing impact on our business worldwide,” said Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood. “Starwood’s first mover advantage has positioned us well to increase our portfolio across China and throughout Asia Pacific, as we continue to leverage the expertise of our seasoned local teams and our longstanding relationships with owners and developers in the region.”
Demand continues to accelerate in India, where Starwood is the largest five-star hotel operator, the brand said. Starwood plans to grow its existing portfolio of 30 hotels in India by 40 percent in the next two years. Starwood’s new Aloft brand will more than double its footprint in India by year end with the opening of three more hotels, and four additional hotels will open under the Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton and Le Méridien brands.
Growth for Starwood’s brands is also picking up in Thailand, where it will add four Starwood hotels to its portfolio this year, including two Four Points by Sheraton hotels, an Aloft hotel and The St. Regis Bangkok. Starwood is also growing its footprint in Malaysia, with two Four Points by Sheraton hotels scheduled to open in 2011.
Starwood will open five new hotels in Latin America this year, joining the 62 currently open in 12 countries. Key openings include the first Westin in South America in Lima, Peru, the fifth Starwood hotel in Panama, which is emerging as a key financial hub in Latin America, and Starwood’s first all-inclusive resort, The Westin Playa Conchal Resort & Spa in Costa Rica. Starwood will also debut its Aloft brand in Latin America with the opening of Aloft Panama, in addition to increasing its presence in Chile, Mexico and Colombia.
“Starwood is the largest global hospitality company in the luxury, upper upscale, and upscale segment in Latin America and we continue to be focused on growing our brands across the region,” said Osvaldo Librizzi, president of Starwood's Latin American division. “In the past year, Starwood has expanded its local development team in Brazil, laying the groundwork for future hotel development in Brazil — host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, and was the first global hospitality company to launch its websites and online booking capabilities in Portuguese, which is spoken by 240 million people on three continents.’’
Half of Starwood’s current portfolio is in North America, where it will open more than 20 additional hotels this year. Fueling growth is an influx of conversion opportunities and strong demand for Starwood’s select service brands. This year, milestones will include the opening of the 60th Starwood hotel in Canada and the 50th Aloft hotel.
Starwood said it will increase its substantial portfolio of 247 hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East with almost a dozen new hotels opening in this division in 2011. Key openings in Europe include the first Aloft in London and three W hotels, including the long awaited debut of W in London and Paris.
“Today, only 30 percent of hotels in Europe fly a branded flag representing great opportunity for our conversion friendly brands, such as the Luxury Collection,” said Roeland Vos, president of Starwood's operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “Converting to a Starwood brand is a great way for independent hotels to tap into the global power of Starwood.”
Strengthening its position as one of the leading luxury hotel operators in the Middle East, Starwood will debut its ultra-luxury St. Regis brand this year with the opening of the St. Regis Doha and the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi. Starwood’s total portfolio in the Middle East will grow to 50 hotels in 2011, with another 25 in the development pipeline.