Starwood Hotels & Resorts Doubling Footprint in China
SHANGHAI—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that it has reached a historic milestone with 103 hotels open and in operation and now another 100 signed hotel deals in the pipeline for Greater China, Starwood's second largest market outside of the United States. The announcement was made as part of celebrations at the Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou Hotel on the heels of Starwood's Asia Pacific Investor Day. READER COMMENTS
"Our celebration of our more than 100 hotels in operation and 100 hotels in the pipeline marks another significant milestone for Starwood's growth and development in China as we double our footprint in the region," said Vasant Prabhu, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "Our success in China reflects our first mover advantage, the strength of our brands and the entrusted partnerships we have fostered with our developers, partners, and guests since our first landmark debut with The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing in 1985."
Starwood has already opened 11 hotels in China in 2012 and expects to open another 13 hotels by year's end.
Sheraton, in particular, will continue to play a leading role in maintaining Starwood's premier position in the region, as its growth trajectory is on track to reach 90 hotels in Greater China by 2016. Driven by strong demand in second and third tier cities, Sheraton is slated to open seven new hotels across China, including Changbaishan, Dalian, Huzhou, Hefei, Jiaozhou, Fuzhou and Macao by the end of 2012.
In addition, Sheraton will celebrate its 75th anniversary with another distinguished landmark as the brand opens Starwood's largest hotel globally, Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, which will also become the largest hotel in Macao. Sheraton Macao will open the first phase of its 3,863-rooms in September 2012 and be fully open by the end of first quarter of 2013. The hotel will offer over 15,000 sq meters of meeting space with access to a further 5,000 sq meters within the Cotai Central complex. Leisure facilities will include three restaurants, poolside cafes, and the world's largest Sheraton Club.
The Westin brand boasts a pipeline of 11 new hotels set to join its existing portfolio of 16 properties, including The Westin Bund Center Shanghai and The Westin Guangzhou.
Le Meridien features 8 hotels in Qingdao, Chongqing, Xiamen, Shanghai, Shimei Bay, Sheshan, Taipei, and Hong Kong, with an additional 6 hotels in the pipeline.
Four Points by Sheraton has the company's second largest development pipeline in China. Benefiting from Sheraton's strong brand awareness, sister brand Four Points by Sheraton manages 15 hotels, with another 20 poised to open—primarily in growing second and third tier cities and tertiary markets.
After its debut in Beijing in 2008, Starwood's new Aloft brand continues to make inroads with 5 hotels in operations and 6 new hotels in the pipeline, making a total of 11 hotels by 2016.
The rise in high net worth individuals in China and around the globe has also paved the way for the expansion of Starwood's luxury brands, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels.
W Hotels will debut the first W hotel in mainland China with W Guangzhou by the beginning of 2013. It is also preparing to open another 4 hotels by 2017 in Macau, Beijing, Shanghai, and Changsha.
Since its first debut with The Astor Tianjin Hotel in 2008, Starwood's Luxury Collection brand will have quadrupled its footprint by the end of 2012 with the openings of The Hongta Hotel, Twelve at Hengshan in Shanghai, and The Royal Begonia on Hainan Island, China's first Luxury Collection resort. Five more hotels are scheduled to debut under the Luxury Collection by 2016 in key cities including Dalian, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Xiamen, and Nanning.
After a growth spurt of three openings in 2011, including hotels in Shenzhen, Sanya, and Tianjin, St. Regis has a presence in Beijing, Lhasa, Sanya, and Shenzhen. The brand will debut more than six hotels in Changsha, Macau, Chengdu, Lijiang, Zhuhai, and Nanjing.
With nearly 30 years of legacy in China, Starwood is also committed to nurturing local talent, hiring, and training staff wherever new hotels and resorts are opened, and enriching local communities. Starwood now employs over 38,000 associates in Greater China, and expects to increase that number by 10,000 jobs per year based on the current expansion rate of 23 new hotels a year on average.
An increasing number of hotel general managers are of Chinese descent—29 compared to only four in 2009—with many executives returning from overseas to take up senior positions. Also, the total number of Chinese associates at managerial levels has more than doubled since 2009 to 2,577, in line with the doubling of Starwood's portfolio of hotels in the country.