NEW YORK—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide today announced it has achieved its strongest first five months of the year for deal signings since 2008. Starwood 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.
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 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.
“2015 is off to a strong start with Starwood outpacing the number of new hotel deal signings as compared to the last six years,” said Simon Turner, president of global development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Allison Reid, senior vice president of North America development, said Starwood continues to see an uptick of new-build activity in North America. Meanwhile, conversions remain a compelling part of the company’s growth strategy, she added.
Starwood is intensifying its efforts to grow its mid-market brands. 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.
Nearly 75 percent of Starwood’s portfolio is in the high-end, luxury and upper upscale space. 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 off the coast of Key West, Fla., as well as invest in renovations such as the 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, Nev.; Chicago, Ill.; Nanjing, China; Kyoto, Japan; and Broumana, Lebanon.
Starwood’s St. Regis brand, which has 34 locations, recently opened its doors in Istanbul and is set to make debuts in Mumbai and Dubai by the end of this year.
W Hotels, which has 46 properties, including 17 hotels with W-branded residences, 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. The brand’s growth in Asia Pacific remains strong, with approximately half of its new hotel openings in 2015, driven by continued demand across China. Sheraton is also extending its reach in Europe, such as Sheraton Lake Como Hotel, the brand’s eighth hotel in Italy. The brand will also enter Romania with the opening of Sheraton Bucharest, a strategic conversion in a downtown location.
Westin, which crossed the 200th hotel milestone in 2014, will add another 10 hotels to its portfolio in 2015. While more than half of its operating hotels are in the United States, Westin is experiencing strong global demand, with more than 70 percent of the brand’s development pipeline outside of the United States.
Following the recent openings of Le Méridien Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Resort and Spa, Le Méridien Indianapolis, Le Méridien Thimphu (Bhutan), Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa (India), Le Méridien Gurgaon, Delhi NCR (India), and Le Méridien Saigon, Le Méridien will open nine additional hotels this year, nearly all in Asia Pacific, in destinations including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, and Malaysia. The brand will also debut in Denver in 2016.
Starwood recently launched its 10th brand—Tribute Portfolio, giving owners the opportunity to join Starwood and leverage its systems, while staying independent. Anchored in the upper upscale category, Tribute Portfolio has many new hotel deals 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, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Savannah, Ga.; and Charleston, S.C.