Sheraton(R) Hotels & Resorts Introduces New Website and Becomes First in the Industry to Use Facebook Connect

New Sheraton.com engages travelers through today's most popular social networking site - Users can now connect directly to their Facebook account, tag friends, share travel experiences, post pictures and more

November 09, 2009 // Franchising.com // White Plains, NY – Sheraton Hotels & Resorts announced today the launch of the new sheraton.com, the first hotel industry website to feature Facebook Connect and allow visitors to interact with their friends and family by sharing their travel experiences through today's most popular social networking site. In 2006, sheraton.com became the first hotel industry website to embrace social media by featuring user generated content. Today, the brand continues to enhance the social media experience for guests by tapping into new social networking channels and enabling a two-way dialogue through the unique global travel community on sheraton.com. The launch of the new site is part of a $6 billion worldwide effort to revitalize the iconic Sheraton brand, including an investment of $2.3 billion in new hotels, $1.5 billion in renovations and $400 million in signature brand initiatives throughout North America.

Facebook Users can Now Share and Discover

The new site enables Facebook members to interact through sheraton.com over travel experiences by sharing stories, tips and photos about their best travel finds, destination favorites and passion for travel. Users can visit sheraton.com and now post their stories by logging into their Facebook account via Facebook Connect. Once a story is approved and posted to the site, Facebook Connect enables sheraton.com users to tag their Facebook friends in their story, inviting them to jump into the conversation as well as share their travel experiences with all of their Facebook friends. Not a Facebook member? No worries – anyone can post their travel tales and photos by simply entering their email address. Have a question or comment for Sheraton Hotels about an upcoming stay or recent visit? The new site also lets visitors create a two-way dialogue with the brand through its online community.

"The new sheraton.com reflects how people communicate and stay connected today," said Hoyt H. Harper, senior vice president for Sheraton. "Our guests are technologically-sophisticated travelers who are eager to share their experiences through today's most popular social networking sites, like Facebook. We wanted to use the power of social media to go beyond merely just transacting with customers and provide a meaningful experience by creating a global community where travelers can easily engage in an active, exciting dialogue about their passion for travel."

Explore Our Global Neighborhood

Upon entering the new sheraton.com visitors can click on "our community" where they will be welcomed by a globe that represents the Sheraton brand's "global neighborhood" and invited to explore what other guests are saying about their travels as well as share stories of their own. The globe is organized by region and powered by Microsoft's Bing Maps and populated with pictures and stories that have been submitted by guests and travelers. Users can log in thru Facebook Connect, allowing them to "connect" their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to the site. The site's new search optimization also allows visitors to search stories by activity and interest, including beach, romance, sports, business and spa, so that relevant stories are immediately accessed. Each story is additionally accompanied by hotel information, a booking portal and applicable special offers for effortless access to relevant information.

Sheraton Hotels, like all brands within Starwood's robust portfolio, is proud to offer the Starwood Preferred Guest® program, which made headlines when it launched in 1999 with a breakthrough policy of no blackout dates on Free Night Awards. SPG® offers members the ability to redeem awards at more resorts, more luxury properties, more European hotels and more golf properties than any other hotel program.

About Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts helps guests make connections at more than 400 hotels in 75 countries around the world. Like all brands within Starwood's robust portfolio, Sheraton is proud to offer the Starwood Preferred Guest® program, which made headlines when it launched in 1999 with a breakthrough policy of no blackout dates on Free Night Awards. SPG® offers members the ability to redeem awards at more resorts, more luxury properties, more European hotels and more golf properties than any other hotel program. Sheraton is owned by and is the largest and most global brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 966 properties in more than 100 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.

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