Loyalty Programs and Websites Merged
|WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 21, 2006--Today Starwood
Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced the completion
of a major milestone in the integration of the Le Meridien which Starwood
acquired 16 weeks ago. As of today Le Meridien's reservations, distribution,
loyalty and sales functions have been fully integrated and these hotels
will now be able to harness the power of Starwood's global infrastructure
and sales and marketing systems, giving it a solid foundation for growth.
Le Meridien Moments Members
As part of this integration, Moments, the Le Meridien loyalty program, will cease to exist and Le Meridien hotels will join Starwood Preferred Guest, the hotel industry's number one rated loyalty program. Moments members now have access to Starwood's entire global network with its 8 brands and 850 hotels in more than 95 countries. Likewise, Starwood Preferred Guests can benefit from the addition of over 100 Le Meridien hotels, which with its heavy international distribution nearly doubles Starwood's hotel footprint in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and increases its distribution by nearly 30% in Asia Pacific. New destinations where Starwood Preferred Guest members can earn and redeem points include Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Budapest.
"The assimilation of Moments into Starwood Preferred Guest not only provides members with so many more options around the globe, but also enables Starwood to market to a whole new group of international travelers, particularly inbound travelers to the U.S. where Le Meridien has little presence," said Javier Benito, Starwood's Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. "As we anticipated, the alignment of the Le Meridien brand with a larger, multi-branded hotel group has terrific benefits for the brand and we are committed to enhancing revenue and accelerating growth."
According to Benito, in just the first 100 days, Starwood's global sales force delivered leads worth over $85 million in potential revenue to Le Meridien Hotels.
Smooth Transition Marks Major Milestone
"Completing these initial integrations, particularly the merging of the websites and loyalty programs, represents a key milestone in our transition, which we expect to be fully complete within six months," said Michael Wale, Senior Vice President of Le Meridien Operations. "We are particularly focused on defining the Le Meridien guest experience and footprint expansion. We see Le Meridien as a fantastic growth vehicle and we have aggressive plans to expand the brand around the world."
The Strength of Starwood Preferred Guest
Starwood Preferred Guest made headlines when it launched in 1999 with a breakthrough policy of no blackout dates and no capacity controls, meaning members can redeem free nights anytime, anywhere. Starwood Preferred Guest members have also cited the program's hassle-free award redemption, outstanding customer service, dedicated member website and innovative promotions and benefits for elite members. The program boasts an unrivalled portfolio of award-winning hotels and resorts that includes some of the world's most celebrated hotel brands: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, Four Points by Sheraton and now Le Meridien.
Starwood Preferred Guest also offers members the ability to redeem awards at more resorts, more luxury properties, more European hotels and more golf properties than any other hotel program, which has proven to be a big draw for the world's most frequent travelers, and a significant competitive advantage. For more information on the Starwood Preferred Guest program please visit www.spg.com.
Le Meridien, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, consists of a portfolio of more than 120 luxury and upscale hotels in 52 countries worldwide. Starwood Hotels & Resorts 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 Meridien® and the recently announced Aloft(SM). 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.
(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.)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
|Also See:||Grande Equity Development Company Limited Signs Starwood's New Brand Le Meridien to Manage 250 room Resort in Pattaya, Thailand / February 2006|
|Starwood Hotels & Resorts Signs Definitive Agreements to Acquire the Le Meridien Brand and All Related Management and Franchise Business for the Brandís 130 Hotels / August 2005|