Back in January, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced their intention to open a substantial number of new hotels during 2011. Speaking at the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in San Diego, Starwood announced that it expects to open another 70-80 high quality new-build and conversion hotels in 2011, coming off of the 72 opened and 96 new deals signed in 2010. Propelled by unprecedented demand for hotels in the world’s fastest growing markets, Starwood, the world’s most global hotel company, will open nearly 70% of its new hotels outside North America, with the majority in Asia Pacific – seen as Starwood’s biggest growth market.
Starwood 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% will be in the luxury and upper upscale segment, including six St. Regis hotels and two Luxury Collection properties. This year, Starwood will also 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.”
With Asia Pacific showing such strong demand, Starwood have committed that over half of their new hotels will be opening in the region. Growth for Starwood’s high-caliber 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
“As China prepares to dominate the global tourism market with one hundred 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.”
India has also seen an acceleration in demand – a country where Starwood are already the largest five-star hotel operator. Starwood plans to grow its existing portfolio of 30 hotels in India by 40% in the next two years.
Growth for Starwood’s high-caliber 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.
Impressive growth I am sure you will agree, and certainly following the patterns we see globally in terms of the biggest growth markets for hotels. It’s important to remember that half of Starwood’s current portfolio is located in North America, so expansion is key in other areas to remain a strong global player. In North America though, another 20 new hotels will be added in 2011 to ensure the strong demand for the company’s brands are met in the home market.