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Starwood is really taking the mobile revolution to heart and plans on temporarily relocating its global headquarters to India in March 2015 as top brass would split time between Mumbai and Delhi.
If this stirs recollections of Groundhog Day, then that’s because the Stamford, Connecticut-based global chain temporarily transferred its headquarters to China in 2011 and Dubai in 2013.
Starwood, which features nine brands from St. Regis to Westin and W at 1,200 properties in 100 countries, wants to spur deals and learnings in India amidst an ever-increasing global hotel industry.
It is probably no coincidence that Starwood’s announcement about its India travel plans comes as India prime minister Narendra Modi draws crowds among enthusiastic expatriates in the U.S., and touts India’s potential in the 21st century.
Starwood currently operates 40 properties in India and has another 36 under development, and wouldn’t mind quickening the pace.
“With overall demand for hotels in India growing and international visitors increasing, we see many growth opportunities in India and throughout South Asia, and are on track to reach our goal of 100 hotels open and in development in the region by 2016,” a Starwood spokesperson says.
Starwood’s 2011 experience in relocating its headquarters to China seems to have paid more immediate dividends than its experience in Dubai in 2013.
The chain says it has signed 101 deals in China since the relocation, and nearly doubled its footprint to 137 hotels as of August 2014.
Regarding Dubai, Starwood has 48 hotels in the Middle East (up from 45 in 2013) and the pipeline is currently 35 properties, an increase from the 30 that were under development in 2013.
In India in March 2015, Starwood plans on dispatching its executives to Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Kochi, and to other South Asia countries, including Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives to meet with owners, prospective developers and customers.
Starwood’s track record in India dates to 1973, when it opened its first Sheraton property there in Mumbai.