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  Westin Explores Travel’s Impact on the Body, Mind and Spirit; 
Tackles the Physiological and Psychological Effects of Travel
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - November 16, 2006 - Westin Hotels & Resorts today revealed the results of an attitudinal research study on the physiological and psychological effects of travel. The Travel-Related Responses in Passengers: TRIP Study was developed in collaboration with International Communications Research, a full-service research firm. The study revealed that travelers are often stressed and lonely, feeling out of control and even sick on the road. The study examined the experiences of frequent business travelers to better understand what physiological changes occur and how travelers feel when they arrive at their destinations. To leverage these valuable insights, Westin partnered with editors from Prevention magazine, the country’s largest healthy lifestyle publication, to create a new Travelers’ Renewal program, designed to help guests renew their bodies, minds and spirits during their stays. 

The study found that travelers experience physical effects like sleep deprivation (55%), and sleep disruption or insomnia (22%), and psychological effects like feeling their lives are in the hands of others (77%), and loneliness (34%). Despite the negatives, the news about traveling isn’t all bad. Surprisingly, nearly half of the study’s respondents feel rejuvenated by flying, and many even report feeling more spiritual and “closer to God” when above the clouds (42%). 

“Westin commissioned this study to better understand what we can do to create a renewing environment, designed to alleviate our guests’ stress and discomfort,” said Sue Brush, Senior Vice President, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “The study’s results demonstrate that there is much we can and should do to make our guests feel their best away from home.” 

Among the study’s key findings: 

Travel takes a toll on the body. 

  • Nearly one in four frequent business travelers experiences physical stress while flying. 
  • 79% of frequent travelers have taken flights while feeling sick, and nearly one-third regret their decision. Up to 5% have actually required emergency medical care at their final destinations. 
  • 71% of respondents believe that the average traveler is dehydrated, and 45% of frequent business travelers claim to feel dehydrated after a flight. 
  • One-fifth of those who have traveled sick report that their flight exacerbated their symptoms. 
  • 33% report having an acute illness diagnosed by a doctor which requires ongoing care, such as diabetes, asthma or depression. 
  • 934 Westin guests each month contact the hotel staff to seek medical attention. 
  • One in ten respondents has developed a musculo-skeletal injury while traveling (such as one caused by tripping in the aisle or falling baggage). 
The weary traveler isn’t just a stereotype. 
  • 55% of frequent travelers experience significant shifts in their sleep habits away from home. 
  • Sleep disruption affects travelers well into their trips, for at least 2 days after a long flight for over 60% of respondents. This pattern remains strong even among those who fall asleep easily at home. 
  • More than 9 in 10 respondents believe that the average traveler is jet-lagged. 
Many travelers feel lonely on the road. 
  • Loneliness is a common emotional response to traveling. 
  • About one-third of travelers report feeling more lonely while traveling, while only 8% feel less lonely. 
  • Men (36%) are more likely than women (29%) to experience loneliness on the road, and married travelers (39%) feel lonely more often than their single counterparts (19%). 
  • Management-level executives (43%) feel more lonely than travelers at other occupation levels. 
Feeling out of control makes travelers stressed out. 
  • Over three-fourths of respondents feel that their lives rest in the hands of others when traveling. 
  • 57% of frequent travelers feel trapped or restricted while flying. 
  • Just over one quarter of respondents report worrying about being less organized. 
  • 16% worry about their home finances in the air. 
  • Senior executives report being much more worried about “falling behind in office work” than other respondents (58% vs. 38%). 
  • Two-thirds of respondents do something to alleviate their sense of lost control or stress while traveling. Women are much more likely to turn to food than men, with 11% of female respondents eating snacks to regain a sense of control. 
  • Conversely, travelers feel soothed by more stringent security measures. Only 22% of respondents are annoyed by more time-consuming security procedures, while 44% find them comforting. 
Traveling can free the mind. 
  • Nearly half of respondents feel rejuvenated by flying. 
  • Many travelers view travel as an escape from their routines, both at home (47%) and at the office (55%). 
  • Over half of respondents see time away from their normal daily routines as one of the key benefits of business trips. 
  • Over three-quarters of respondents report feeling serene and relaxed while flying, and 61% report feeling a sense of freedom. 
  • 42% of frequent travelers feel closer to God while traveling, because they are above the clouds. 
  • 54% of respondents are able to think more clearly in the air. 
  • 54% percent of frequent travelers are open to meeting new people on a flight. 
Westin Develops Programs to Respond to Study’s Insights on Wellbeing 

In response to the study’s results, Westin will pilot a three-pronged Travelers’ Renewal program in more than 20 hotels worldwide, which will feature a Travelers’ Renewal Menu, Station and Kit. The menu will offer remedies for common travel ailments developed with input from editors at Prevention magazine, such as green tea to reenergize, aloe and pineapple sorbet to sooth sore throats and hot chicken soup to quell stomach upset. Travelers’ Renewal Stations will provide fruit, hand purifier and water in Westin’s lobbies to help keep guests hydrated and healthy when they arrive and when they leave the hotel’s doors. The Travelers’ Renewal Kit will be available for purchase, offering tools to make traveling easier, offering everything from a refreshing hand purifier to mind-sharpening Sudoku games. For more information on the Travelers’ Renewal products visit www.westin.com/travelersrenewal. 

In response to the study’s findings on travelers’ loneliness, Westin is unveiling Unwind, an evening event where guests can socialize and learn about their destinations. The Unwind ritual is designed to minimize loneliness and emotional discomfort for guests while they are away from home. Local flavor and interactive activities will be key parts of the Unwind experience, from indulging in oysters and champagne at the Westin Dragonara Resort in Malta to teaching guests how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness at the Westin Dublin. 
 

The Travel-Related Responses in Passengers: TRIP Study revealed that travelers are often stressed and lonely, feeling out of control and even sick on the road. Working with the editors at Prevention, Westin hotels developed the Travelers’ Renewal Program to respond directly to the study’s key findings: 

FACT: Many travelers are sick on the road. Nearly 8 in 10 have taken flights while feeling under the weather. 
RENEWAL REMEDY: The Travelers’ Renewal menu includes a portfolio of cold relief and stomach-calming snacks, including vitamin C-dense Boost Juice, a honeysuckle and lemon elixir, and a Havana Treat Plate that is filled with foods that ease digestion like banana, rice and toast. The Travelers’ Renewal Station at the hotels’ doors will also offer hand purifying towelettes, water and hydrating fruits to help guests reduce their exposure to germs and combat illness on the road. 

FACT: Travel can be physically depleting. Nearly one in four frequent travelers experiences physical stress while flying. 
RENEWAL REMEDY: The Travelers’ Renewal Menu will make available various products to lessen physical discomfort, including a heating pad, ice pack, and humidifier. Guests will also be able to request common over-the-counter medications anytime day or night. 

FACT: Travel can interrupt sleep habits. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents experience significant shifts in sleep habits away from home. 
RENEWAL REMEDY: Westin will offer insomnia relief products like a goodnight banana and milk smoothie to guests, and foods dense with good carbohydrates to help jetlagged guests fall asleep, and protein-rich foods to help them face the day feeling energized. 

FACT: Travelers often feel off-balance or out of control, and two-thirds of them do something to alleviate their sense of lost control while traveling. 
RENEWAL REMEDY: The Travelers’ Renewal Kit will offer mind-enriching distractions like Sudoku and a copy of Prevention magazine, in addition to hand purifying towelettes, a healthy energy bar, and other renewing treats. 

FACT: Travelers don’t have to feel run down away from home. 
RENEWAL REMEDY: The editors at Prevention magazine have an arsenal of tips for healthy travel, and Westin guests will have access to this information throughout their stays. Guests will learn everything from the fact that the scent of citrus has revitalizing properties to how to get the best workout on the road. 

Methodology

The survey instrument was designed by ICR in cooperation with Westin Hotels & Resorts. A sample of business travelers was provided by Survey Sampling International and was screened randomly by ICR. Interviews averaged 20 minutes in length and were completed from December 7 to December 30, 2005. The analysis of the data took several additional months. The margin of error on the totals was plus or minus 4.36%. Subgroups had a larger margin of error. Telephone interviews were completed by ICR with 505 business travelers, of whom 302 were male and 203 female. Participants were screened to ensure recent and frequent travel by air. The average number of domestic trips taken in the past two years by survey participants was 21, and the average number of international trips in the same period was 3. 
Westin Hotels & Resorts, with 127 hotels and resorts in 31 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood® Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, Sheraton®, Westin®, Four Points® by Sheraton, W®, Le Méridien® and the recently announced AloftSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. 

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. 

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Contact:

Westin Hotels & Resorts
Gena Egelston, 415-774-0118
Marketing & Communications Manager
gena.egelston@westin.com 

Also See: Crowne Plaza Tackles Guest Sleep Deprivation; Brand's Sleep Advantage Program Provides Seven Pillows per Bed, Ear Plugs, Eye Masks and More / May 2004
From Newspapers to In-Room Beverages, Hilton Garden Inn Ask the Traveler Survey Reveals What Business Travelers Really Want / September 2004

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