WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is lengthening its long established lead as the largest high-end hotel operator in China with more than 70 existing hotels and a pipeline of over 90 new hotels. China is now Starwood’s second largest hotel market in the world, behind only the United States, and in 2011, Starwood will open one hotel every two weeks in China.
“China is one of the world’s fastest growing domestic and outbound
travel markets. In fact, Beijing Capital International Airport is now
the world’s second busiest airport, with more passengers than Chicago
O’Hare or London Heathrow,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO
of Starwood. “China continues to be the richest source of new Starwood
travelers with enrollment in our Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty
program jumping 71% due to the strength of our growing hotel portfolio
and distinct brands that resonate with Chinese travelers.”
First-Mover Advantage Key to Starwood’s
Dominance in China
Starwood’s first-mover advantage in China dates back to 1985 with the
landmark debut of The Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing, which was
the first international branded hotel in the People’s Republic of China.
Today, Starwood has a significantly larger footprint than its
competitors, and the largest pipeline of new hotels in the four and five
star category. “Starwood’s long legacy in China gave us a considerable
head start. Today, with more than 30 years of experience in the market,
longstanding native Chinese teams and valuable relationships with local
owners and developers, this advantage continues to be meaningful,” said
Miguel Ko, Chairman and President of Starwood’s Asia-Pacific Division, a
Chinese native who began his career with Starwood in 1979.
China Provides Blueprint for Growth to Emerging
Markets Around the Globe
Starwood is the only global hotel company with more hotels and rooms
outside the U.S. than inside. According to van Paasschen, Starwood’s
growth in China is illustrative of growth opportunities in other markets
throughout Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
“Many predict that more than 70% of the world’s growth over the next
decade will come from emerging markets, which is consistent with
Starwood’s skew towards development in these markets. China recognizes
that hotels are an essential component of infrastructure growth, and
other fast growing markets are following suit. As the world’s most
global hotel company with the strongest presence in emerging markets,
these trends work in our favor, and we could not be more bullish on our
Starwood Relocates Senior Leadership Team to
China for Month-Long Managerial Exercise
Reflecting Starwood’s game-changing growth in China, the company is
undertaking an unprecedented managerial endeavor by moving its Senior
Leadership Team to China for one month. From June 8th through
July 11th, Starwood President & CEO Frits van Paasschen and
the company’s top executives will be headquartered in Shanghai, where
they will conduct day-to-day business on a 12-hour time difference with
their “usual” operations in White Plains, New York. This unique
relocation reflects Starwood’s innovative approach to cultivate a more
global culture in a company that grew up largely in the United States.
Intra-China and Chinese Outbound Travel on the
“When we opened our first hotels in China, we were basically an outpost
for Western travelers,” says Simon Turner, President of Global
Development for Starwood. “Today, more than 50% of our guests in China
are Chinese. The Chinese are beginning to become a major global travel
force as well, and by 2015 China will have 100 million outbound
travelers, the largest in the world. For some perspective, that is more
people than visit France each year, which is the number one
international tourist destination in the world. When they travel abroad,
the Chinese will stay with the hotel brands they know from home, which
underscores the significance of our growing footprint of flagship hotels
in China and its halo effect on Starwood’s hotels around the world.”
Eight Out of Nine Starwood Brands Fly Flags in
With 35 existing hotels and another 40 in the pipeline, Sheraton Hotels
& Resortsis the dominant upper upscale brand in China and
leads Starwood’s growth there. Sheraton’s heritage as the first
international branded hotel in burgeoning urban locations continues
today, as evidenced by new hotels planned in Chongqing and Huzhou.
Benefiting from Sheraton’s strong brand awareness, sister brand Four
Points by Sheraton has 12 hotels and another 13 poised to open,
primarily in growing second and third tier cities and tertiary markets.
The Westin brand boasts a pipeline of 13 new hotels set to join
its existing portfolio of 11 award-winning properties including the
Westin Shanghai and the Westin Guangzhou.
Global powerhouse Le Méridien currently features eight hotels
in Qingdao, Chongqing, Xiamen, Shanghai, Shimei Bay, Sheshan, Taipei
and Hong Kong with three additional hotels in the pipeline.
St. Regis, Starwood’s ultra-luxury brand, has fast become a
favorite for visiting heads of state and celebrities with flagships in
Beijing and Shanghai and is poised to more than triple its presence
with eight more hotels in its Chinese pipeline. The brand opened its
first resort in China, The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, in November. This
year, it will open 3 new properties in Shenzhen, Tianjin and Sanya.
Also on the luxury front, China’s legendary The Astor Hotel in Tianjin
made its debut as the first of five hotels to open within Starwood’s
esteemed The Luxury Collection.
Design-led W Hotels made its buzzworthy debut in China with the
W Hong Kong in 2008 and recently opened its doors in Taipei, with
another four hotels in its pipeline.
Starwood’s new Aloft brand, which offers style, design and high
tech touches at an affordable price, opened one of its first hotels
worldwide in Beijing in 2008 and the second hotel opened this year in
Nanhai, Foshan and continues to make inroads with six new hotels