Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, one of the largest midmarket-to-upscale hotel chains, recently made a half-PR-stunt, half-smart-thinking move of taking all of its top management to Dubai for the month of March and working from there. The move is a window into where it thinks its future lies, and hence the need for its top management to learn by immersion into a hub from where growth is radiating in all directions eastward.

From its temporary headquarters in Dubai, last week it did an investor and analyst day, and presented its current positioning and future strategy of growth.

Some key points, as illustrated by key slides in its presentations (which are embedded in full after the story):

  • Starwood has nine brands, three each in three separate sectors of the market. The individual brands and their positioning:

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  • The Starwood Preferred Guest, its loyalty program, is among the best in the industry, and members now drive 50% of its total hotel bookings. 47 percent of members are now outside U.S.

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  •  Instead of owned and operated, Starwood is the brand and the platform from which it operates its relationships with partners operating its hotels.

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  • From U.S. centric to being global, with Middle-East and South Asia being the focal growth markets, to position itself better than main competitors Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton.

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  • Segmentation beyond price into lifestyle segmentation, something a lot of other upscale brands in all sectors are trying to do, to move beyond commodity.

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The full presentations from Starwood group, embedded below:

Starwood Strategy 2013

Starwood Investment Proposition and 3-Year Outlook

Starwood Hotels: Middle East Review

Starwood Hotels – South Asia Review