Starwood eyes small towns, planning 100 hotels by 2015

Starwood eyes small towns, planning 100 hotels by 2015

Pune/Coimbatore: Leading global hotels and leisure company Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide on Sunday said it is targeting a portfolio of 100 properties in the country by 2015 and the main focus will be on smaller cities for its business hotel brands, ‘Four Points´ and ‘Aloft´.

“India has tremendous potential for growth and we have a very strong pipeline for all our brands. We are looking at expanding our ‘Four Points´ and ‘Aloft´ brands, targeted at business travellers mostly in tier-II and tier-III cities," Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide managing director for India and regional vice-president (South Asia) Dilip Puri told reporters.

The company is bullish about the country and expects India to become its third largest market after the US and China by next year.

“India is currently our fourth largest market globally. However, looking at the accelerating growth rate, we expect the country to overtake Canada to become our third largest market by next year," Puri said.

Starwood globally has nine brands, of which six are already in the country. The group has brands like Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, St Regis, Le Meridien, Aloft and Element by Westin.

The group will be launching two more brands -- W Hotels and St Regis -- in the country by 2015.

“We have already signed deals for developing three W Hotels and one of our premium brands, St Regis, which will be operational by 2015 in New Delhi," he said.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is expecting up to 35% revenue from its business hotels -- Aloft and Four Points, Puri added.

“With the faster economic growth in the country, we feel that the mid-market hotel segment is growing and has enormous potential. We expect about 35% of our India revenue to come from Four Points and Aloft," he said.

At present, the group has four Four Points properties located at Navi Mumbai, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam and Pune, which was recently inaugurated.

“We have another one under Four Points in the pipeline," he said without disclosing any details.

Talking about Aloft, Puri said, they have plans to open three more under this brand in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Bangalore by next year.

“Of these three, we are hoping that the Ahmedabad and Chandigarh properties will be operational by the end of this year," he added.

At present, the group owns, operates, franchises and manages 33 hotels in the country and has signed deals for 18 more.

Looking at the current development of all its brands in the country, the group expects to comfortably reach its target of 100 hotels by 2015, he added.

Meanwhile, with the opening of Aloft Coimbatore, the brand has crossed 50 hotel milestone across the globe.