Starwood is the Largest International Hotel Chain to Add this Functionality in a Move that Reflects its Commitment to Expanding Business in China
WHITE PLAINS, NY (March 4,2011) — Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) has announced it has added comprehensive, online booking capabilities in Chinese to all of its Starwood-branded websites, including SPG.com. Now, Chinese speakers can use double byte Chinese characters to search for a hotel, make reservations, retrieve booking information or enroll in the Starwood Preferred Guest® program. This added capability underscores the importance of China to Starwood’s future growth.
On track to be the world’s largest tourism market by 2015, China is already Starwood’s second largest hotel market with 70 existing hotels and more than 80 in the pipeline. One of every three new Starwood hotels is slated to open in China now through the end of 2011, including new brand flagships for eight of its nine brands. Meanwhile, China continues to lead the growth of the award-winning Starwood Preferred Guest program, representing the second largest market for SPG.
“It is essential that we provide a seamless experience for our Chinese customers, especially at a time when China’s heightened appetite for our high-caliber global brands is having a phenomenal impact on our business,” said Phil McAveety, Chief Brand Officer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “Starwood is the world’s most global hotel company with more than 80% of all future hotels opening outside the United States. By communicating directly with our global customers, we make it easy for them to connect with our brands.”
To meet growing demand, Starwood opened the largest Customer Contact Center of any international hotel company operating in China, in 2009. Located in Guangzhou, the center employs more than 160 associates to support Chinese-speaking customers traveling to Starwood’s more than 1,000 hotels around the world. Starwood is also the only hospitality company in China that provides 24-hour customer support, 365 days a year, for its Chinese-speaking customers.
“Due to the strong growth of our online customer base in China, we have enhanced our branded websites to offer a superior online experience for Chinese speakers,” said Miguel Ko, Chairman & President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Asia Pacific. “Our mission has always been to listen to our customers and to stay ahead of changing trends and needs.”
With the addition of Chinese, Starwood now offers websites in eight languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French and Japanese. One fifth of the world’s population, or more than one billion people, speak some variety of Chinese.
About Starwood Preferred Guest
The SPG program’s breakthrough policy of No Blackout Dates at the world’s most sought after collection of hotels, reinvented the hospitality loyalty program when it launched in 1999. By creating a program centered on its members, SPG has developed the most passionate and knowledgeable membership base in the hotel loyalty space. Through its use of new technologies and innovative channels such as SPG.com, SPG.com/stayconnected, SPG.com/flights and others, SPG continues to innovate and lead the industry. By offering No Blackouts on standard rooms at over 1,000 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries, No Blackouts on hundreds of airlines, and once in a lifetime experiences available through SPG Moments at spg.com/moments, the program has proven to be a big draw for the world’s most frequent travelers, and a significant competitive advantage for Starwood. For more information about Starwood Preferred Guest please visit SPG.com or call (877) – STARWOOD.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1025 properties in 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
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific
Alethea Lam, +65.6335.4837
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Jennifer Leemann, +1-914-640-8539
SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide