Starwood Hosts Its Top 100 Global Executives in China

Leadership Conference to Focus on Starwoods Accelerating Global Advantage in Its Fastest Growing Hotel and Travel Market

BEIJING–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Today, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) will welcome its top 100 global executives to Beijing, China for its leadership conference. This marks the first time the leadership conference has met in China, underscoring the importance of China as Starwoods fastest growing hotel and travel market.

Starwood, one of the largest four and five star hotel operators in Chinatoday, with 62 hotels flying eight of Starwoods nine brand flags, is increasing its long-established lead here with another 86 hotels in the pipeline. China recently became Starwoods second largest hotel market behind only the United States, and between now and 2011, one in every three new Starwood hotels will open in China.

Starwood is Worlds Most Global Hotel Company  80% of Growth Outside the United States

The decision to hold Starwoods global leadership meeting in China comes as Starwood for the first time boasts more hotels outside of the United States than inside. Looking ahead, more than 80% of Starwoods pipeline of new hotels is outside of the U.S., many in emerging or fast growing markets.

Historically, Starwood was a U.S. based hotel company that happened to operate some hotels overseas, said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood. Today, were a global company that happens to be based in New York. Our dominant global footprint is a huge advantage for us, and we believe we are best poised among the major international hotel companies to take advantage of macro and secular trends like globalization, a rapidly growing global middle class, wealth creation around the world and changing travel patterns in and out of emerging markets.

Starwood to Hold Earnings Call from China

During the meeting, Starwoods most senior global executives will meet with hotel owners, customers and investors, and hold strategic planning sessions. In addition, Starwood will release its third quarter financial results this week and host its investor conference call from Beijing  a company first that will underscore the importance of China specifically and global markets generally.

As a travel company, we know firsthand the importance of getting out and meeting face-to-face with key stakeholders, and in the case ofChina, seeing really is believing  the magnitude of growth and urbanization here is hard to understand unless you experience it firsthand, said van Paasschen.

First-Mover Global Advantage Paying Off for Starwood

Nowhere is more emblematic of Starwoods global growth story thanChina. Starwood benefits from a long legacy in China dating back to 1985 and the landmark debut of the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel in Beijing, the first international branded hotel in the Peoples Republic of China. Starwoods Sheraton and Le Meridien brands were early global pioneers in the 60s and 70s opening hotels around the world and that legacy is paying dividends today, enabling Starwood to capitalize on long established brand awareness and a deep bench of local teams in markets where many competitors are just establishing a footprint.

Starwood has Strongest Presence in Emerging Markets which are Fast Following Chinas Lead

Starwood has the strongest presence in rapidly growing markets. Many predict that 70% of the worlds growth over the next decade will come from fast-growing markets, which is consistent with Starwoods skew towards development in these markets, said van Paasschen.

According to van Paasschen, Starwoods growth in China is illustrative of growth opportunities in other markets throughout Asia Pacific, Africa, theMiddle East and Latin America. Many fast growing markets around the world, including China, recognize that hotels are an essential component of infrastructure growth. This works in Starwoods favor, and we could not be more bullish on our long term prospects.

China is Fastest Growing Travel Market  Illustrative of Changing Travel Patterns

By 2015, China is expected to be the worlds largest market for inbound and domestic tourism, and is forecasted to have more than 100 million outbound travelers. Already the leader for outbound tourists in Asia,China will play an outsized role in global travel within the next decade. Starwood is already feeling the impact:

  • Chinese members of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program increased travel to the United States and Canada by 41% in 2010 year to date vs. 2009
  • Chinese travel to Starwood hotels in Waikiki is up 1,800% year to date vs. 2009
  • Chinese travel to Starwood hotels in the Los Angeles area increased 4,500% year to date vs. 2009 and in New York City up 130% during the same period
  • Chinese travel to the Sheraton Toronto increased by 50% year to date vs. 2009
  • Chinese travel to Starwood hotels in Paris increased 65% year to date vs. 2009
  • In Italy, Starwood saw a 175% increase in Chinese guests at the famed Gritti Palace in Venice and a 158% increase at The Westin Excelsior in Rome between 2007 and 2009
  • The Le Meridien Piccadilly in London experienced an increase of 72% from Chinese guests between 2007 and 2009
  • Chinese guests to Starwood hotels in Cameroon and Egypt nearly doubled between 2007 and 2010 year to date
  • In Latin America, trade missions from China are having a meaningful impact. Overall, Chinese travel to Starwoods Latin American hotels has grown 61% 2010 year to date vs. 2009. Major growth by region includes a 550% increase in Chinese travelers to Starwood hotels inMexico, 45% increase in Argentina and 37% increase to Peru.
  • Chinese guests to Starwood hotels in the Maldives grew by 111% during the Aug 2010 YTD period compared to the same period of 2009.
  • Starwood hotels in Bangkok welcomed 49% more Chinese travelers during the Aug 2010 YTD period compared to the same period of 2009.

About Starwood Hotels & Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 countries and territories with 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. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. Further results, performance and achievements may be affected by general economic conditions, including the duration and severity of any global or regional economic downturns, the availability of financing alternatives at acceptable terms, the impact of war and terrorist activity, business and financing conditions, foreign exchange fluctuations, cyclicality of the real estate (including residential) and the hotel and vacation ownership businesses, operating risks associated with the hotel, vacation ownership and residential businesses. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Further, there can be no assurance that agreements will be entered into for the hotels in the Companys pipeline and, if entered into, the timing of any agreement and the opening of the related hotel. 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 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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posted on October 30, 2010
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