Asian Tourism Growth Spurs Global Hotel Business

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) announced it opened 74 new hotels in 2013, representing approximately 16,200 rooms in 22 countries, expanding its footprint particularly in developing markets.  The company signed 152 new hotel agreements in 2013, marking the fourth consecutive year of increased signings and the highest number of new hotel deals signed since 2007. Starwood expects another strong year of global growth in 2014, with hotel openings and deal signings across all nine brands in more countries than ever before through organic growth.

“There is a global travel revolution underway, and the secular trends of rising wealth, rapid urbanization and increasing digital interconnectivity make us as confident as ever about demand for high-end travel,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

In 2013, Starwood signed a total of 152 new hotel management and franchise agreements, which represents an increase of 16 percent over 2012 signings levels.  The company also signed 75 contract renewals, up nearly 34 percent from the previous year.

“Consistent, sustainable high-quality portfolio growth in both mature and emerging markets led to another strong year of openings, incremental hotel agreements and the highest number of contract renewals in our company’s history,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

In line with macroeconomic trends, nearly 75 percent of the company’s development pipeline and 60% of the 2013 signings were in fast-growing markets, including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Colombia and Saudi Arabia.

Approximately 40% of Starwood’s 2013 signings were in developed markets, with 13 conversions that signed and opened within the year. Conversions will continue to fuel growth in North America with increased momentum in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe.

Starwood opened six luxury hotels in 2013 including its first W ski retreat with the W Verbier, and its first W hotel in mainland China — W Guangzhou. Other luxury openings included The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, the brand’s second hotel in the Emirate and third hotel in the Middle East, and three properties under The Luxury Collection brand in Athens, Greece; Koh Samui, Thailand; and Cusco, Peru.

In 2014, the company will open 10 new luxury properties, making debuts in four countries. Key openings will include W Bogota, marking the W brand’s entry into Colombia; W Beijing, furthering the W brand’s footprint in strategic Chinese destinations; The St. Regis Istanbul and Chengdu; and six new hotels under The Luxury Collection brand in destinations including Odessa, Ajman, Dalian and Hangzhou in China, and Broumana in Lebanon.

Le Meridien signed more new hotel deals in 2013 and will open more new hotels in 2014 than any other year since Starwood acquired the brand in 2005. While conversion opportunities make up a significant part of the brand’s growth momentum in developed markets, Le Meridien brand is also continuing to expand its presence in less established regions around the world in 2014 with planned openings in markets such as India, Bangladesh, and Thailand.

Propelled by the worldwide success of its distinctive wellness positioning, Westin is poised to open its 200th hotel worldwide this year, as well as its 20th in China. Key Westin openings this year include The Westin Zhujiajian and The Westin Qingdao in China.

In 2008, nearly two thirds of Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program’s members were U.S.-based, while today that number is only 47 percent. Membership in emerging markets has grown fivefold in that time. China has catapulted to Starwood’s second largest SPG market and fastest growing, followed by India, UAE and Brazil.

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