Starwood Hotels & Resorts has confirmed it plans to embark on a $4 billion expansion programme for its international Sheraton brand.
Under the plans Sheraton Hotels & Resorts will see approximately 50 new hotels added to its global footprint over the next three years, with over 20,000 new rooms expected over four continents.
The hotel chain is presently ranked eighth in the world by size and incorporates over 400 hotels in 70 countries, claiming 92 per cent global awareness among business travellers. The new expansion effort follows a recent three-year, multi-billion dollar revitalisation of the brand.
New hotels projects are in development in 15 countries, including the United States, Colombia, India, Russia, Slovakia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
“Looking ahead, we continue to grow the Sheraton brand’s already robust presence globally by working with our proven development partners to ensure we have best-in-class properties wherever our guests want to travel,” explained Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood.
Key to developments is the expansion of the company’s offering in China, where Sheraton is expected to open a further 28 properties. These will include the Sheraton Shanghai Hong Kou Hotel, Sheraton Qingdao and Sheraton Huadu Resort - bringing its total number of hotels there to 50.
The brand will also add up to ten new resorts to its portfolio, expanding its footprint in New York City with new properties in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood.
“Increasingly, we are seeing demand and growth opportunities for new hotels in fast-growing international markets like China and India,” continued Mr Turner.
“In addition, as transaction activity increases in more mature markets throughout North America and Europe we expect to see a number of high quality conversion opportunities to be realised, especially in light of the successful completion of the brand’s global revitalisation.”
Starwood is basing plans on a strong recovery in the hotel industry, with a significant influx of new international travellers from emerging markets expected over the coming years.
By 2015 the hotel chain expects 400 million Chinese and Indians to have sufficient incomes to travel abroad; approximately seven times the number of international visitors to the United States in 2009.
Last year, Sheraton completed a three-year, multi-billion global brand overhaul; highlights included 50,000 new or newly renovated guestrooms in North America alone.