SYDNEY—Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide announced at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expos (AIME) that it plans to forge ahead with expansion in Australia and the Pacific, opening six new hotels and resorts this year. Reflecting strong demand in the region, the growth will be fuelled by Sheraton, Starwood’s largest and most global brand, as well as by a travel industry partnership between Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), Starwood’s loyalty program, and Virgin Australia.
Within this region, Starwood is targeting both established markets, such as Australia; and increasingly popular resort destinations, including Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia. The six new properties to open in 2014 include Sheraton Melbourne Hotel and Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane in Australia; Sheraton Resort and Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji; Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort and Spa; Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort and Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel.
“We are embarking on a milestone year for Starwood’s growth and development in the Pacific,” said Sean Hunt, regional vice president, Pacific, Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “I am confident that the strength of our brands, especially Sheraton, will fulfil robust demand for upper-upscale hospitality offerings in Australia, the region’s mature market, as well as in emerging resort isles.”
Among Starwood’s portfolio of nine lifestyle brands, Sheraton is maintaining the firm’s position in the region. The brand currently operates six hotels in the Pacific; by the end of 2014, Sheraton will nearly double its presence in the region with five openings. Last year, the Sheraton brand celebrated its 100th hotel in Asia Pacific, and the brand anticipates the achievement of its 500th global hotel milestone by 2016.
Starwood currently operates 14 hotels in the Pacific region, with nine hotels in Australia. In addition, there are three hotels in Fiji and two in New Caledonia. At year-end 2014, the company expects to have 20 operating hotels and resorts. In addition, The Westin Perth is in the pipeline for 2017 openings.
Australia presents significant growth opportunities for Starwood in 2014. The hospitality landscape is characterized by a lack of new supply, even in the face of steady demand growth. Sheraton Melbourne will mark the Sheraton brand’s return to the city after nearly a decade. The hotel will feature 174 guestrooms; a bistro-style signature restaurant; The Terrace Bar; a heated indoor pool; a business center and over 650 square meters of meeting spaces. S
In time for the G20 Summit, which will take place in Brisbane this November, Four Points by Sheraton Brisbane will open in March, marking the first internationally branded property to enter the Brisbane CBD market in over ten years. A new-build property, the 246-room hotel will offer meeting rooms, a fully-equipped gym, and an all-day dining restaurant and casual cafe/bar.
“Australia is benefitting from record low supply and the global travel revolution, with continued increase in domestic travel and a robust outlook for international visitors led by the growing number of Chinese travellers,” says Matthew Fry, senior vice president, acquisitions and development, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “Starwood’s powerful network, global booking platforms and loyal customer base enable developers and investors to capitalize on this upswing in development.”
Starwood is leveraging the popularity of the Pacific islands among increasingly affluent global travellers, with the openings of Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji and Sheraton New Caledonia Deva Resort and Spa this year. Sheraton will also debut in Samoa, marking the introduction of the first international hospitality brand to the market, through the recently signed management agreement of Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort and Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel.