Starwood Continues to Fuel Growth in India and South Asia

  Starwood Continues to Fuel Growth in India and South Asia

 Signs 10 New Deals in 2012 Increasing Footprint in India and Bangladesh and
                     Entering New Markets Like Sri Lanka

 Aggressively Expands Urban Portfolio and Actively Pursues Resort Development

Business Wire

GURGAON, India -- January 16, 2013

Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT), the largest global hospitality operator
in the luxury/upper upscale segment with a strong and fast growing footprint
and robust pipeline, today announced a continued focus on growth in India and
South Asia. Starwood’s legacy in the region dates back to 1973, and the
company currently operates 34 hotels with 24 hotels in the pipeline. It aims
to have 100 hotels under operation, development and management contracts
signed by 2015 with eight out of nine Starwood brands flying their flag in
India.

In the past year Starwood signed 10 new deals in India, Bangladesh and Sri
Lanka. The company will open The Westin Chennai Velachery, Aloft Ahmedabad SG
Road and Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar
Resort & Spa and Sheraton Chandigarh Hotel in 2013.

“Already our fourth largest market, India is comfortably poised to be second
only to China in terms of our future global growth. India today is still an
‘under-hoteled’ market, and the demand for high-caliber lodging is expected to
far exceed current supply for at least the next three to four years. As
domestic travel increases and Indian travelers continue to demand more
sophistication in terms of both quality and experience, we have significant
opportunity to grow our brands across the spectrum in gateway cities, tertiary
markets as well as in resort destinations,” said Stephen Ho, President
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts.

Continued momentum expanding Upper Upscale brands in gateway cities

Rising wealth is helping drive demand for Starwood's Upper Upscale and Luxury
brands. Starwood is growing its upper upscale brands like Sheraton, Westin and
Le Meridien further into Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) and gateway
markets with the signing of Sheraton Greater Noida Hotel, Sheraton Bengaluru
Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center, Le Méridien Delhi NCR, Noida and The
Westin Delhi NCR Noida. Le Méridien brand will see a reenergized portfolio
with the renovations of Le Méridien Bangalore, Le Méridien Jaipur and Le
Méridien Kochi.

“The success of the Westin brand in India as well as the newly built and
managed Sheraton, Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway, has propelled
the expansion of these brands into key markets and we are seeing increased
traction with the development community,” said Dilip Puri, Managing Director
India and Regional Vice President South Asia.

Debut of Luxury brands W and St Regis

Today more people than ever are entering the ranks of the very wealthy and
developing a taste for luxury. In the last five years, Starwood has nearly
doubled its luxury room count to meet growing global demand for luxury travel.

“We have one of the leading luxury footprints in the world with more than 150
luxury hotels under our St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W Hotels brands. More
than 90% of our luxury pipeline is in emerging markets, reflecting new demand
for luxury in new places. With a rising middle class, growing disposable
income, an affinity for luxury brands and huge pent up demand for foreign
travel, India is emblematic of the growth we are seeing in regions around the
world and key to our global growth plans,” said Matthew Fry, Senior Vice
President, Acquisitions and Development, Starwood Asia Pacific.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is geared up to bring its world-renowned luxury
brands St Regis and W Hotels to India. The W brand will arrive in India in
2014 with the opening of the W Retreat & Spa Goa followed by the W Mumbai, W
Noida-Delhi NCR and W Gurgaon WTC, Delhi-NCR all of which are highly
anticipated additions to Starwood’s luxury portfolio. St. Regis will make its
debut in India with the opening of The St. Regis Noida, Delhi NCR in 2017.
These brands have a strong following around the world, including among Indian
luxury travelers. W London was awarded the ‘Favorite New Opening International
Hotel’ by the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Award last year, and this
year The St. Regis Bangkok won the award in this coveted category.

Actively Pursues expansion of Resort portfolio

Starwood Hotels and Resorts seeks to expand its resort portfolio with the
opening of Le Meridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa later this year and will
double its resort room count in India by the end of 2014. Starwood recently
signed The Westin Bekal Resort & Spa in the state of Kerala and already has
The Westin Khandala Resort & Spa and Le Meridien Chennai East Coast Resort &
Spa under development besides the W Retreat & Spa Goa.

Nikhil Manchharam, Starwood’s Vice President Acquisitions and Development in
South Asia, said: “Starwood has a rich resort portfolio in Asia Pacific with
well- known resorts in destinations like Koh Samui, Phuket, Langkawi, and Bali
under various luxury and Upper Upscale brands, and we have seen a lot of
outbound travel from India to these destinations. In South Asia Starwood
already manages well established resorts, including The Westin Sohna Resort &
Spa and the W and Sheraton in Maldives. India is a land of many unexplored
destinations with huge potential for resort development and, as demand for
domestic leisure travel increases, we believe there will be increased demand
for quality hotels in these locations.”

Mr. Manchharam added: “Our compelling portfolio of lifestyle brands provides
developers the choice to identify the right brand for the right location. Our
experience in managing quality resorts gives us the opportunity to be the
preferred partners for developers.”

Targets a robust Select Services portfolio

Starwood is looking to accelerate the expansion of its Four Points by Sheraton
and Aloft brands setting its sights on expanding its mid-market brands.
Starwood is focused on tier 2 cities with hotels currently open and under
development such as Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Mysore, and Amritsar.
Starwood is also venturing into micro markets such as Faridabad, Noida, and
Gurgaon.

“We believe in the opportunities tier 2 markets provide and have seen that new
hotels in new markets create their own demand. As cities evolve and the urban
Indian landscape continues to transform, tier 2 markets will provide
opportunities for both Upper Upscale and for Mid-Market brands,” said Mr.
Puri.

Entering new markets

Starwood Hotels and Resorts expanded its leadership position in Bangladesh
with the signing of Le Meridien Dhaka and the re-entry of Sheraton in Dhaka.
Starwood will also make its foray into new markets like Sri Lanka with Four
Points by Sheraton Colombo and Sheraton in Colombo, International Airport and
Sheraton Colombo Hotel in Colombo.

“Given the political stability in the region, South Asia has emerged as the
second fastest growing market for inbound tourist arrivals, providing many
opportunities for development of internationally branded hotels across
segments. We are continuing to explore opportunities to enter Nepal and Bhutan
and strengthen our footprint in the Maldives,” added Mr. Manchharam.

Investments to support growth

Starwood Preferred Guest, the company’s award-winning loyalty program, better
known as ‘SPG,’ has already seen an exponential growth in its India membership
and today one out of every two guests at Starwood’s hotels in India is an SPG
member.

“We continue to relentlessly leverage SPG, increasing loyalty to our brands by
offering more choice, recognition and services to our highest-value guests.
Loyalty is a powerful insurance policy in tough times, and the changes we’ve
made to SPG are next to impossible for our competitors to copy. We have moved
beyond the ‘points and perks’ arms race to introduce personal services that
drive ‘loyalty beyond reason’ for our best guests. SPG has won top honors at
the Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Choice Travel Awards two years in a row as
the Favorite Hotel Loyalty Program and continues to be key to our India growth
strategy,” said Nelli Yong, Vice President, Brand Marketing,Starwood Asia
Pacific Hotels & Resorts.

To support its growth in the region Starwood has made a strong commitment with
an enhanced Starwood Sales Organization and continued investment in marketing
its brands.

Starwood opened its ninth global Customer Contact Center 18 months ago in
Gurgaon as an outsourced operation run by a third party. This month, Starwood
assumed full and complete responsibility for its CCC operations in India. The
new CCC is located next to the Starwood India Regional Office at the Vatika
Business Park, Gurgaon.This change is the result of a comprehensive review of
the organization’s long term strategic plan and how the CCC can better support
upcoming initiatives as well as growth in South Asia.

“Over the past 18 months, we have gained deep and broad insights into local
customer behaviors and preferences and learned how to navigate in the highly
developed and competitive call center/BPO industry in India. Our operations
have also developed strong partnerships with our hotels in the region and have
been working collaboratively to increase sales and build customer loyalty.
These actions will position us well for greater success and reinforce
Starwood’s commitment to support aggressive expansion plans in the region,”
said Patricia Neo, Vice President, Customer Contact Centres, Asia Pacific, for
Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and
leisure companies in the world with 1,134 properties in nearly 100 countries
and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood 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,
Aloft®, and ElementSM. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading
loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and
redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout
dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier
provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and
privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit
www.starwoodhotels.com.

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the
meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not
guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties
and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially
from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made.
These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations
reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable
assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained
or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no
obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether
as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)

Contact:

Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Carrie Bloom, 203-964-5755
Global Communications
Carrie.bloom@starwoodhotels.com
 
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