WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Aug. 18, 2003—Sleeping dogs finally have a place to lie. In a hotel industry-first, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) announced today that its Sheraton, Westin and W hotels will welcome dogs brand wide in the U.S. and Canada. Not only is there finally room at the inn for man`s best friends, but each of the hotel brands will also pamper pooches with luxurious dog beds and amenities like plush robes, doggie toys and canine massages.
Every Dog has its Duvet - Starwood spent millions of dollars to make its hotel beds the best in the business from W`s signature pillow top beds to the famous ten-layer Westin Heavenly Beds(R) and the brand new Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Beds. As part of its new Starwood LTD (Love that Dog) program, the company is introducing new luscious, comfy beds for its four-legged guests. Starwood`s new dog beds are custom-designed oversized pet pillows by Eloise Pet Accessories, a doggie line described as “where style and fashion meet man`s best friend.” Eloise`s pet accessories are favorites of celebrities including Daryl Hannah, Dyan Cannon and Deborah Messing. Each brand worked with Eloise to design dog beds that mirror their hotels` human beds and guest room design. Westin`s dog bed features a miniature Heavenly Bed duvet while W`s take on the dog bed is a stylish and colorful checkerboard pattern and Sheraton`s version is a classic, all-American red and blue design.
Besides the beds, each brand will also offer food and water bowls and temporary I.D. tags with hotel contact information. In addition, a traveling tip card will be provided to all guests traveling with their dogs upon check-in, thanks to a partnership with The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Other amenities include plush doggie robes, leashes and collars at some Westin hotels and a pet check in package at W hotels that includes a pet toy, dog treat and bone plus a special turn down treat on the dog bed. And some hotels are really going the extra mile to spoil dogs rotten. The five W hotels in New York City will take pet pampering to a whole new level by offering in-room doggie massages by a licensed dog massage therapist (especially beneficial for dogs who have traveled by planes in small crates).
Who Let the Dogs Inn?
So why is Starwood catering to canines? With 62 million dog owners in the U.S. and 29 million who hit the road with their dogs in tow according to the Travel Industry Association of America, dog owners are a market niche that`s been underserved by the travel industry. Most upscale and luxury hotel chains have varied pet policies meaning some hotels welcome dogs while others do not. Starwood is changing that.
“We intend to become the most dog-friendly hotel company in the land, and not just allow dogs to stay, but actually pamper and spoil them,” said Barry S. Sternlicht, Starwood`s Chairman and CEO, and proud papa of Comet, a Jack Russell Terrier and Potter, a Black Labrador. “We believe that like dogs, dog owners tend to be very loyal, and will reward a company that loves dogs, too.”
Research supports Sternlicht`s intuition. According to a new study of 400 dog owners commissioned by Starwood, 76% said they would be more loyal to a hotel chain that accepted dogs, even when they weren`t traveling with their pet. And when they learn that some of the world`s most celebrated hotel brands are rolling out the red carpet for pooches, they`ll likely be surprised - 82% said they did not believe most upscale hotels allowed dogs, and 48% said that if they did, it was reluctantly. In fact, 16% even admitted to smuggling their dog into hotels that banned dogs!
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 740 properties in more than 80 countries and 105,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. With internationally renowned brands, Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts including: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W brands, as well as Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high-quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwood.com.