Starwood reports strong NA growth, uptick in midscale development

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is on a hot streak. That's according to the company, which said it has achieved its strongest first five months of the year for deal signings since 2008. This year, Starwood will reach its 600th hotel milestone in North America, which remains the company’s largest market with its most hotels in the development pipeline.

Starwood said it continues to see balanced growth across its brands and around the world, with North America leading the charge, accounting for nearly 40 percent of new signings so far in 2015. Development highlights include a 30-percent increase in deal signings for Starwood’s Specialty Select brands, Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton, which together account for more than three-quarters of North America signings year-to-date; a new "developer-friendly vision" for the Sheraton brand to be unveiled on June 1; and the launch of its 10th brand, Tribute Portfolio.

Adam Aron, CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts on an interim basis, said: “We are putting an even brighter spotlight on our world-class hotel brands as we work to accelerate the pace of our growth, better serve our guests, and offer more hotel options to more guests in more places than ever before.”

North America Growth Momentum Building in 2015
Starwood said it is on track to have its strongest openings year in North America since 2009 with 40 percent of its planned 2015 openings in the region. The company will open more hotels in Europe this year than it has in any year since 2006, and, in Asia Pacific, Starwood will surpass its 300th hotel milestone by year-end, more than tripling its portfolio in the region over the last decade.

Simon Turner, president of global development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said: “2015 is off to a strong start with Starwood outpacing the number of new hotel deal signings as compared to the last six years. We strive to be the partner of choice by delivering a differentiated guest experience and ensuring we have the most developer-friendly and flexible approach to maximize value for our owners’ assets.”

Allison Reid, SVP of North America development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, added: “We are continuing to see an uptick of new-build activity in North America. Meanwhile conversions remain a compelling part of our growth strategy, allowing us to bring existing hotel properties into the Starwood system, often at an accelerated pace. Conversions also allow owners to reposition assets and immediately benefit from our powerful sales and distribution network and global loyalty program to drive greater returns.”

Specialty Select Brands Lead Starwood’s Growth
Starwood is intensifying its efforts to grow its mid-market brands to meet the rising demand for strong global brands, with an innovative mindset, at an affordable price point in markets around the world. Together, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element topped 300 hotels worldwide earlier this year and continue to lead the company’s pipeline growth, accounting for nearly half of Starwood’s hotel openings last year. Across the three brands, Starwood has added 13 hotels so far in 2015, with more than 30 additional openings expected by year end.

Four Points by Sheraton is leading Starwood’s global pipeline growth and is on track to open its 200th hotel this year. Aloft, Starwood’s tech-forward incubator brand, is on the cusp of opening its 100th hotel worldwide with its strongest signing momentum in North America since 2008 and twice as many deals signed in North America as compared to this time last year. Element, Starwood’s eco-innovation lab, will open more hotels this year than ever in its history and is on track to nearly triple its global portfolio in the next three years due to increasing guest and owner demand.

Starwood Strengthens High-End Portfolio
On the luxury end, across The Luxury Collection and St. Regis brands, Starwood will open more hotels in 2015 than it has in any one year since 2001. The Luxury Collection, which has a portfolio of 95 hotels and resorts throughout the world, continues to convert hotels, including the recent addition of Sunset Key, 40 luxury cottages nestled off the coast of Key West, Florida, as well as invest in renovations such as the iconic Palace Hotel in San Francisco and the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. The brand will add a number of new destinations to its portfolio this year including Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Chicago, Illinois; Nanjing, China; Kyoto, Japan; and Broumana, Lebanon.

Starwood’s W Hotels will soon make its debut in Amsterdam. New hotels are slated to open over the next three years in Dubai Al Habtoor City, Shanghai, Goa, Tel Aviv, Panama, Kuala Lumpur, Muscat, Bellevue, Suzhou, Chengdu, Abu Dhabi, Brisbane and Philadelphia.

Sheraton is on track to open more than 20 hotels this year with debuts in Chihuahua, Mexico and Hyderabad, India.

Westin, which crossed the 200th hotel milestone in 2014, will add another 10 hotels to its portfolio in 2015. Seventy percent of the brand’s development pipeline is outside of the U.S.

New Tribute Portfolio
Starwood recently launched its 10th brand, Tribute Portfolio. New hotel deals are reportedly underway around the world. Following the opening of Royal Palm South Beach Miami, a Tribute Portfolio Resort, Starwood has announced plans to introduce the brand to Asheville, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.