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Sunny Outlook For Starwood’s Specialty Select Brand Group Includes Fast-Paced Global Growth, New Markets Worldwide

Stocks in this article: HOT

With three of the world’s most sought-after hotel brands, the mid-market Specialty Select Brand group of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) is forecasting fast-paced global growth from the 18 th annual Lodging Conference in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

Starwood’s select-service portfolio, which includes Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton, is expected to open its milestone 250 th hotel in early 2013, with 10 more hotels scheduled to open over the next four months. In North America alone, Starwood will bring its Specialty Select group to more than 170 hotels by the end of the year will reach a milestone 175 hotels in January of 2013. Starwood’s mid-market portfolio has grown over 50 percent since Q1 of 2009 reflecting its worldwide appeal.

“Aloft, Element, and Four Points continue to exceed expectations of our guests and our partners, and demand for the brands worldwide reflects their appeal,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood. “All three Specialty Select brands enjoy loyal and growing fan bases, and continue to attract broad new segments of global travelers. And for developers in a huge range of markets, the popularity and positioning of the brands, combined with flexible development options and cost efficient operating models, make them highly sought after.” To keep up with global demand, Starwood brands like Aloft and Four Points are also leveraging conversions and adaptive reuse opportunities as additional growth channels.

With over 1,100 Starwood properties now open in nearly 100 countries, Starwood’s mid-market brands are a significant part of Starwood’s growth momentum:

Aloft: To keep up with growing global demand, Aloft is embracing existing hotel conversions and adaptive reuse projects. Aloft’s first two conversions, Aloft San Francisco Airport, and Aloft Nashville West End opened in September. Conversions or adaptive-reuse projects are also underway in Tucson, Tulsa, Orlando, Miami, and Detroit, ramping up a new channel for global growth. Starwood’s sizzling “style at a steal” brand recently unveiled a burgeoning global pipeline expected to bring the brand to 80 hotels around the world in 2013. Nearly every corner of the globe will see Aloft openings in 2012-13, with expanded footprints across China, India, and the Americas. Aloft's social guest experience, with the buzzing  re:mix lounge and  w xyz bar, has also earned select hotels within the portfolio designations in TripAdvisor's 2012 "Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in the US" rankings.

Element: Stylish and sustainable, Element will have hotels in eleven North American markets by the end of 2013. Starwood’s trailblazing eco-wise brand will make its international debut in 2013 with a new Element hotel in Vaughan Mills, Ontario. New Jersey will get its second Element hotel in 2014 with Element Harrison. Element’s first hotel outside North America, Element Frankfurt, will also open in 2014. Beloved by travelers for its light-filled spaces and nature-inspired design, Element made history in 2008 as the only major hotel brand to pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide.

Four Points by Sheraton: Continuing to ride a swell of global growth, Four Points boasts Starwood’s second-largest pipeline, including 20 new hotels around the world planned over the next 12 months – including the milestone opening of its 175 th property. Four Points boasts Starwood’s second largest development pipeline in China, one of the hottest growth markets for the brand and for Starwood. The brand already manages 16 hotels in China, with another 5 poised to open by the end of next year, primarily in fast-growing secondary and tertiary markets. Over the next year, Four Points will also debut in every corner of the globe, from Lima, Peru to Kecskemet, Hungary to Medina, Saudi Arabia. With the scheduled openings, Four Points will command a presence in 32 countries and territories, up from 28 at the end of 2011.

“Exceptional guest ratings, high praise from partner/developers, and acclaim from the media continue to propel Starwood’s Specialty Select brands to the top of their category,” said Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior Vice President, Specialty Select Brands. “Each of our Specialty Select Brands reinvents the category in a unique way, and their singular personalities translate beautifully all over the world,” he said. “More importantly, Aloft, Element, and Four Points consistently deliver outstanding guest experiences. Their exceptional guest satisfaction ratings across the board engender terrific loyalty, and fuel continued and consistent growth.”

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