GURGAON, India--Jan. 16, 2013-- Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT), the largest global hospitality operator in the luxury/upper upscale segment with a strong and fast growing footprint and robust pipeline, today announced a continued focus on growth in India and South Asia. Starwood’s legacy in the region dates back to 1973, and the company currently operates 34 hotels with 24 hotels in the pipeline. It aims to have 100 hotels under operation, development and management contracts signed by 2015 with eight out of nine Starwood brands flying their flag in India.
In the past year Starwood signed 10 new deals in India, Bangladesh and
Sri Lanka. The company will open The Westin Chennai Velachery, Aloft
Ahmedabad SG Road and Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, Le
Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa and Sheraton
Chandigarh Hotel in 2013.
“Already our fourth largest market, India is comfortably poised to be
second only to China in terms of our future global growth. India today
is still an ‘under-hoteled’ market, and the demand for high-caliber
lodging is expected to far exceed current supply for at least the next
three to four years. As domestic travel increases and Indian travelers
continue to demand more sophistication in terms of both quality and
experience, we have significant opportunity to grow our brands across
the spectrum in gateway cities, tertiary markets as well as in resort
destinations,” said Stephen Ho, President Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels
Continued momentum expanding
Upper Upscale brands in gateway cities
Rising wealth is helping drive demand for Starwood's Upper Upscale and
Luxury brands. Starwood is growing its upper upscale brands like
Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien further into Delhi National Capital
Region (NCR) and gateway markets with the signing of Sheraton Greater
Noida Hotel, Sheraton Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention
Center, Le Méridien Delhi NCR, Noida and The Westin Delhi NCR
Noida. Le Méridien brand will see a reenergized portfolio with
the renovations of Le Méridien Bangalore, Le Méridien
Jaipur and Le Méridien Kochi.
“The success of the Westin brand in India as well as the newly built
and managed Sheraton, Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway, has
propelled the expansion of these brands into key markets and we are
seeing increased traction with the development community,” said Dilip
Puri, Managing Director India and Regional Vice President South Asia.
Debut of Luxury brands W and St
Today more people than ever are entering the ranks of the very wealthy
and developing a taste for luxury. In the last five years, Starwood has
nearly doubled its luxury room count to meet growing global demand for
“We have one of the leading luxury footprints in the world with more
than 150 luxury hotels under our St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W
Hotels brands. More than 90% of our luxury pipeline is in emerging
markets, reflecting new demand for luxury in new places. With a rising
middle class, growing disposable income, an affinity for luxury brands
and huge pent up demand for foreign travel, India is emblematic of the
growth we are seeing in regions around the world and key to our global
growth plans,” said Matthew Fry, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions
and Development, Starwood Asia Pacific.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts is geared up to bring its world-renowned
luxury brands St Regis and W Hotels to India. The W brand will arrive
in India in 2014 with the opening of the W Retreat & Spa Goa
followed by the W Mumbai, W Noida-Delhi NCR and W Gurgaon WTC,
Delhi-NCR all of which are highly anticipated additions to Starwood’s
luxury portfolio. St. Regis will make its debut in India with the
opening of The St. Regis Noida, Delhi NCR in 2017. These brands have a
strong following around the world, including among Indian luxury
travelers. W London was awarded the ‘Favorite New Opening International
Hotel’ by the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Award last year, and
this year The St. Regis Bangkok won the award in this coveted category.
Actively Pursues expansion of
Starwood Hotels and Resorts seeks to expand its resort portfolio with
the opening of Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa later this
year and will double its resort room count in India by the end of 2014.
Starwood recently signed The Westin Bekal Resort & Spa in the state
of Kerala and already has The Westin Khandala Resort & Spa and Le
Meridien Chennai East Coast Resort & Spa under development besides
the W Retreat & Spa Goa.
Nikhil Manchharam, Starwood’s Vice President Acquisitions and
Development in South Asia, said: “Starwood has a rich resort portfolio
in Asia Pacific with well- known resorts in destinations like Koh
Samui, Phuket, Langkawi, and Bali under various luxury and Upper
Upscale brands, and we have seen a lot of outbound travel from India to
these destinations. In South Asia Starwood already manages well
established resorts, including The Westin Sohna Resort & Spa and
the W and Sheraton in Maldives. India is a land of many unexplored
destinations with huge potential for resort development and, as demand
for domestic leisure travel increases, we believe there will be
increased demand for quality hotels in these locations.”
Mr. Manchharam added: “Our compelling portfolio of lifestyle brands
provides developers the choice to identify the right brand for the
right location. Our experience in managing quality resorts gives us the
opportunity to be the preferred partners for developers.”
Targets a robust Select Services
Starwood is looking to accelerate the expansion of its Four Points by
Sheraton and Aloft brands setting its sights on expanding its
mid-market brands. Starwood is focused on tier 2 cities with hotels
currently open and under development such as Coimbatore, Chandigarh,
Ahmedabad, Mysore, and Amritsar. Starwood is also venturing into micro
markets such as Faridabad, Noida, and Gurgaon.
“We believe in the opportunities tier 2 markets provide and have seen
that new hotels in new markets create their own demand. As cities
evolve and the urban Indian landscape continues to transform, tier 2
markets will provide opportunities for both Upper Upscale and for
Mid-Market brands,” said Mr. Puri.
Entering new markets
Starwood Hotels and Resorts expanded its leadership position in
Bangladesh with the signing of Le Meridien Dhaka and the re-entry of
Sheraton in Dhaka. Starwood will also make its foray into new markets
like Sri Lanka with Four Points by Sheraton Colombo and Sheraton in
Colombo, International Airport and Sheraton Colombo Hotel in Colombo.
“Given the political stability in the region, South Asia has emerged as
the second fastest growing market for inbound tourist arrivals,
providing many opportunities for development of internationally branded
hotels across segments. We are continuing to explore opportunities to
enter Nepal and Bhutan and strengthen our footprint in the Maldives,”
added Mr. Manchharam.
Investments to support growth
Starwood Preferred Guest, the company’s award-winning loyalty program,
better known as ‘SPG,’ has already seen an exponential growth in its
India membership and today one out of every two guests at Starwood’s
hotels in India is an SPG member.
“We continue to relentlessly leverage SPG, increasing loyalty to our
brands by offering more choice, recognition and services to our
highest-value guests. Loyalty is a powerful insurance policy in tough
times, and the changes we’ve made to SPG are next to impossible for our
competitors to copy. We have moved beyond the ‘points and perks’ arms
race to introduce personal services that drive ‘loyalty beyond reason’
for our best guests. SPG has won top honors at the Conde Nast Traveller
Reader’s Choice Travel Awards two years in a row as the Favorite Hotel
Loyalty Program and continues to be key to our India growth strategy,”
said Nelli Yong, Vice President, Brand Marketing, Starwood Asia Pacific
Hotels & Resorts.
To support its growth in the region Starwood has made a strong
commitment with an enhanced Starwood Sales Organization and continued
investment in marketing its brands.
Starwood opened its ninth global Customer Contact Center 18 months ago
in Gurgaon as an outsourced operation run by a third party. This month,
Starwood assumed full and complete responsibility for its CCC
operations in India. The new CCC is located next to the Starwood India
Regional Office at the Vatika Business Park, Gurgaon. This change is
the result of a comprehensive review of the organization’s long term
strategic plan and how the CCC can better support upcoming initiatives
as well as growth in South Asia.
“Over the past 18 months, we have gained deep and broad insights into
local customer behaviors and preferences and learned how to navigate in
the highly developed and competitive call center/BPO industry in India.
Our operations have also developed strong partnerships with our hotels
in the region and have been working collaboratively to increase sales
and build customer loyalty. These actions will position us well for
greater success and reinforce Starwood’s commitment to support
aggressive expansion plans in the region,” said Patricia Neo, Vice
President, Customer Contact Centres, Asia Pacific, for Starwood Hotels
About Starwood Hotels &
Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading
hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,134 properties in
nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed
properties. Starwood 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, Aloft®, and ElementSM.
The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs,
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem
points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout
dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier
provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style
resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information,
please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
(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. These risks and uncertainties are presented in
detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking
statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no
assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and
events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to
publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a
result of new information, future events or otherwise.)