From the AAHOA Lodging Conference in Chicago, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced that the opening of Aloft Winchester in Winchester, Virginia earlier this month marked the opening of Starwood’s 200th select-service property worldwide, contributing to a growth trajectory for the group of 56 percent in the last three years.
Starwood’s select-service brands include Aloft, Element, and Four Points by Sheraton, whose distinct personalities have proved to be hits with travelers and Starwood partners alike. With 1,000 Starwood properties now open in nearly 100 countries, Starwood’s select-service brands are a significant part of that momentum.
“Along with the fact that we have three great brands, our select-service brands have connected with both travelers and partners because they offer precisely the right products and experiences at the right time,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood. “With the appetite for these brands growing in some of the most important emerging markets, the future looks very bright for Aloft, Element, and Four Points.”
In 2009, Starwood created a dedicated Specialty Select Brand group to optimize support for franchise owners and hotels. A separate unit remains fully dedicated to Starwood’s Full Service franchise hotels, including Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton and Westin.
“With Aloft’s forward design sensibility, Element’s eco-chic positioning, and the timeless, stylish comfort of Four Points, we’ve awakened a category that wasn’t necessarily known for originality,” said Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands. “We continually hear from guests and partners that we’ve brought something truly fresh into select service, and that’s been key to the global success of these brands.”
* Aloft, the sizzling, tech-savvy brand that has rocked the U.S. hospitality industry, will debut in Europe and India this year, with three Indian properties planned for 2010 alone. Aimed at the next generation of traveler, the design-led, social-experience Aloft brand has enjoyed the fastest ramp-up of any brand in hotel history.
As a young, tech-driven society, India will become a key market for Aloft’s development outside of the United States. Europe’s first Aloft hotel will open its doors in Brussels in September, near the heart of the Belgian capital and European Union hub. And stateside, Aloft will open five hotels this year including two New York City properties - one in Brooklyn, the other in Harlem. Aloft became the talk of the hospitality industry by going global while in launch mode, opening China’s Aloft Beijing Haidian and Aloft Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in the brand’s first 15 months and now has more than 40 hotels open worldwide since its June 2008 debut.
* Element, Starwood’s trailblazing eco-chic boutique brand, recently announced that its seven U.S. hotels have earned some of the highest Overall Satisfaction scores from guests of any properties in the Starwood family for the past year. In October, Element is set to debut in New York City with the opening of Element Times Square West.
Designed to be “green from the ground up”, Element seamlessly blends sustainable smart design, inspiring public spaces, chic, spacious suites and modern amenities for a compelling, no compromise experience. Element made history when it launched as the first major hotel brand to mandate that all U.S. properties pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification.
* Four Points by Sheraton recently opened its 151st hotel and the rapidly expanding brand will continue launching in dynamic business and travel hubs outside the U.S. this year. By 2013, Four
Points is slated to open 10 new properties in China, where it already operates ten hotels. Four Points will also debut in the key markets of Pune, India and Lagos, Nigeria this year; stateside, Four Points is scheduled to open 10 new hotels by summer 2011.
A billion-dollar rejuvenation, along with a hugely popular “no nickel and diming” platform, has helped propel Four Points to become one of Starwood’s fastest-growing brands. The Four Points promise of “simple pleasures” - great local craft beer, free bottled water, free and fast high-speed Internet access, and a great night’s sleep - has also made the brand a massive hit with travelers worldwide.