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Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Westin brand has surpassed the milestone of opening 200 hotels worldwide, and has plans to expand further into emerging markets later this summer.
The opening of the Westin Chongqing Liberation Square in China in April marked the brand’s 200th hotel, though Westin hotels have since opened in other regions, including the Westin Cleveland Downtown in Ohio and the Westin Bahrain City Centre in Manama, Bahrain, which opened July 1.
However, the milestone signals Starwood’s focus on Asia in the months and years to come. Westin plans to open three more hotels in China this year: the Westin Zhujiajian Resort in Zhoushan, opening July 16; the Westin Blue Bay Resort in Qingshui Bay, Hainan, set to open Aug. 1; and the Westin Haikou in Hainan, opening Dec. 30. These will tip Westin’s China portfolio past 20 hotels by the end of the year.
The Asia-centric strategy reaches longer term, as well. Over the next three years, Westin will increase its portfolio of hotels in China by about 50 percent, adding 11 new hotels, according to a Starwood news release. Of the 30 Westin hotels the company expects to open by the end of 2016 overall, nearly half will be in the Asia Pacific, the fastest growing area for the Westin brand, the release stated.
“The Westin brand has built a strong foundation and following in established markets over the last decade, and the fact that we have opened our 200th Westin in China is illustrative of the phenomenal demand we are now experiencing in Asia Pacific, as well as our strong and deep-rooted local teams in dynamic markets worldwide,” Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood, said in a statement. “Emerging markets now account for nearly 70 percent of the Westin development pipeline, fueled by accelerating demand in China and India, where rising wealth and rapid urbanization have generated a fierce appetite for strong global brands.”
India is another fast-growing market for Westin, and for Starwood. The brand expects to grow its hotel presence in India by 50 percent in the next three years, according to Starwood. Other hotels in Indonesia, like the Westin Ubud Resort & Spa opening in Bali this fall, Singapore and the Philippines are scheduled to open over the next two years.
“The fact that they have continued to expand their presence in areas of the world that exhibit strong economic growth speaks well of their ability to capitalize on economic opportunities,” said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. “These markets are growing and need to types of products and services we are accustomed to here.”