In 1985, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. opened the first international branded hotel in the People’s Republic of China: the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing. Now, over 30 years later, Starwood is continuing its expansion in the Chinese market.
Starwood executives note their first mover status as the reason for their Chinese success.
“Starwood’s long legacy in China gave us a considerable head starts,” said Miguel Ko, chairman and president of Starwood’s Asia-Pacific division. “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.”
Starwood has 70 existing Chinese hotels in eight different four- and five-star brands, and a pipeline of more than 90 new hotels. In 2011, Starwood plans to open one hotel every two weeks in China.
Starwood’s planned growth spans all of its brands with Chinese presence:
- Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, the first international branded hotel in China, now has 35 locations in the People’s Republic. Forty more hotels are in the pipeline.
- Four Points by Sheraton has 12 Chinese hotels and is poised to open 13 more. Four Points hotels are focused in second- and third- tier cities.
- Westin currently has 11 award-winning Chinese hotels in cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou, and another 13 new Westin hotels are in the works for the Chinese market.
- Le Méridien currently features eight hotels in China, with an additional three in the pipeline.
- Ultra-luxury brand St. Regis with properties in Beijing and Shanghai is a favorite for visiting celebrities and heads of state. New to the Chinese market and growing fast, the brand will more than triple its presence with a planned eight hotels in the pipeline, three of which will open this year.
- The Luxury Collection by Starwood currently features only The Astor Hotel in Tianjin, but there are plans for four additional hotels in this luxury brand.
- W Hotels arrived in China in 2008 with the W Hong Kong, and recently added a second property in Taipei. Four additional hotels are in the pipeline.
- Aloft, boasting high-tech features at affordable prices, opened in 2008 in Beijing, and a second location opened this year in Nanhai. Plans are underway for an additional six Aloft hotels.
Starwood is the only global hotel company with more hotels outside the U.S. than inside. The company is focusing on emerging markets to develop its presence worldwide, says CEO Frits van Paasschen.
“China recognizes that hotels are an important 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 long-term prospects,” van Paasschen said.
image credit: sheraton