Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. said Wednesday that it anticipates a strong year of openings and hotel deals to be signed in 2013, building on its growth momentum in 2012.
Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood expects to see increased conversion momentum in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe during the year. The company noted that in 2012, it signed the most hotel deals since before the global economic crisis.
Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels said, "Rising wealth, increasingly global businesses and a digitally connected world are creating unprecedented demand for travel and new travel patterns, and we continue to be as bullish as ever about our long-term growth."
van Paasschen added, "Whether it's manufacturing in Vietnam, mineral resources from Nigeria, or outbound tourism from Brazil, Russia, India or China, globalization is spurring economic development and creating many exciting expansion opportunities for our business."
Starwood noted that in 2012, it signed a total of 131 new hotel management and franchise agreements that represented a 17 percent increase over 2011 signings levels. This includes 31 conversions, 12 of which opened during 2012.
Starwood said that consistent with macroeconomic growth trends, nearly two-thirds of its new hotels in 2013 will open in fast-growing markets.
The company plans to open its first property in Tajikistan, while also expanding further in Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Hungary, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in addition to perennial growth markets like China and India.
According to Starwood, Asia remains a high-priority market, accounting for about one quarter of the company's existing hotel rooms and over half of its pipeline.
Starwood has over 150 properties in its luxury portfolio under the St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W Hotels brands. Over the past five years, Starwood has nearly doubled its global luxury footprint. The company noted that fifteen percent of its pipeline of new hotels are in its luxury portfolio.
In 2013, Starwood will celebrate the opening of the St. Regis Abu Dhabi and the re-openings of two luxury icons and members of the Luxury Collection, the Gritti Palace and Prince de Galles, following multi-million dollar restorations.
Further, Starwood expects 2013 will be a strong year for its upper upscale brands. The company noted that Sheraton will continue to fuel its growth with nearly 20 planned openings in 2013. Meanwhile, Westin expects to open its 200th hotel this year.
Starwood said that its mid-market portfolio, which includes Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton, has grown over 60 percent since 2009. The three brands account for about one third of the company's global development pipeline and nearly 45 percent of expected hotel openings worldwide in 2013. The company will open its 250th mid-market hotel this year.