Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is planning to relocate its global headquarters from the United States to India in March 2015 for a month-long immersion.
Starwood president Frits van Paasschen and the company’s top executives will split their time between Mumbai and Delhi, conducting day-to-day business from this important global destination with immense potential for outbound travel.
Following the company’s successful relocations to China in 2011 and Dubai in 2013, this third leadership move underscores Starwood’s unique approach to cultivating a global culture and fostering relationships in key growth markets.
“Global trends are revolutionising travel.
“Rapidly growing markets and a more interconnected world are bringing high-end travellers to new markets like never before,” said van Paasschen.
“As a company with operations in over 100 countries, we at Starwood know that there is no substitute for witnessing firsthand this huge transformation.”
van Paasschen continued: “This is a particularly exciting time for us relocate to India. Its renewed focus on travel infrastructure is much needed, as travel demand is fuelled by economic growth and a population expected to overtake China by 2030.
“We all know of India as a hotbed of technological innovation and global services.
“Coupled with the rise in entrepreneurship and investment, millions of people are joining its middle class every year.
“And, of course, this means millions of new travellers.
“At the same time, India is both unique and immensely diverse.
“Our extended time there will allow us to immerse ourselves and appreciate new approaches to the business of hospitality.”
Over the course of the relocation, Starwood executives from around the globe will conduct business in India, nearly 8,000 miles and ten time zones away from the company’s Stamford, Connecticut headquarters.
During the month, the team will travel to cities throughout India to meet with associates, customers, owners and prospective developers, including Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kochi, and also throughout south Asia to Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives where Starwood is seeing many new growth opportunities unfold.
van Paasschen added: “With South Asia as our home base, we’ll be within a five-hour flight from nearly 40 per cent of our global pipeline for new hotels.
“This includes major cities as well as some of the world’s most remote and untouched destinations.
“As we look at these growth markets, we will explore how we create opportunities for the thousands of people who will enter the global workforce through Starwood.
“We will also work to find ways for humans to coexist with nature while preserving it.”
Starwood’s legacy in India dates back to 1973 with the debut of its Sheraton brand in Mumbai.
Benefitting from this early foothold and its highly experienced local teams, Starwood has consolidated its lead as the largest high-end global operator in India with a strong footprint and a robust and fast growing pipeline.
Starwood currently operates 40 hotels in India with another 36 hotels under development.
Across South Asia, Starwood remains on track to reach its goal of 100 hotels under operation or development in the region by 2016.