Sheraton Hotels & Resorts' $4 Billion, Multi-Year Revitalization Plan Continues Despite Tough Economic Times

With the Plan 70% Complete, Iconic Sheraton Brand Showing Positive Results, Including Record High Guest Satisfaction

April 13, 2009 // Franchising.com // White Plains, NY –– Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc's (NYSE:HOT) global efforts to revitalize its largest and most global brand, iconic Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, remains in high gear, despite challenging economic conditions. The worldwide, multi-year revitalization program which began in 2007 and includes an investment of over $2 billion in new hotels, $1.3 billion in renovations and $400 million in signature brand initiatives is bearing measurable successes, which to date, include:

  • More than half of Sheraton hotels in North America have been upgraded: 63 of 98 slated renovations are complete, with another 30 scheduled for completion this year. This includes high profile gateway properties including the Sheraton Denver, Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Sheraton Dallas, Sheraton Waikiki and Le Centre Sheraton Montreal.
  • Sheraton opened 26 new hotels in 2008, including 16 in North America, and expects to open 20 more in 2009, including nine in North America. New worldwide properties are expected to debut in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Brooklyn; Guangzhou, China; Yilan, Taiwan; Nha Trang, Vietnam; and Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 24 "off brand" hotels that would not or could not meet the Sheraton brand's standards have exited the brand.
  • Sheraton Hotels have redesigned more than 300 lobbies worldwide with the addition of its innovative Link@Sheraton?, a unique lobby lounge that enables today's travelers access to information and technology for work, leisure and social networking. The Link@Sheraton is currently in 75% of properties around the globe and will be in over 90% of properties by the end of the year.
  • The brand has introduced the new Sweet Sleeper® all-white 300 thread count bedding in 211 hotels and 83,000 guestrooms.

With the revitalization plan 70% complete, Sheraton Hotels is seeing record satisfaction results, particularly in North America, where the brand's hotels were inconsistent. The Sheraton Guest Satisfaction scores are the highest in its history, with overall satisfaction at 8.12 out of 10, year-to-date, surpassing the brand's own goal. Liklihood to return to the brand has increased from 7.89 to 8.78 and Meeting Planner Satisfaction has also improved to 8.31.

"The investments Starwood and our owners have made to upgrade our hotels in the last few years are coming to fruition today, and our guests are taking note," said Hoyt H. Harper II, Senior Vice President for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. "By adding new flagships, renovating existing hotels, enhancing our signature services and exiting properties that were not up to par, we've vastly upgraded the brand and improved consistency."

Preparations and financing for the Sheraton brand's revitalization were in place long before the current economic crisis, with renovations and upgrades to properties beginning in 2007. The majority of investments were made prior to the fall of 2008, enabling the global effort to proceed unaffected.

"We've essentially spent the last few years rebuilding the house, and when the economy begins to recover and business picks up, more travelers will discover a new level of product and services at Sheraton hotels around the world," added Harper.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 960 properties in 97 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)

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