Starwood Hotels & Resorts on Monday unveiled a five-year
plan to expand the global footprint of its Sheraton upper-upscale brand by
about one-third with the addition of 150 hotels.
The “Sheraton 2020” initiative also calls for an investment
of $100 million in a new marketing program and the introduction of the Sheraton
Grand sub-brand for higher-end hotels. Starwood hopes to have more than 100
Sheraton Grands by 2020.
Starwood is looking
to boost leisure and business demand for a brand whose 4.8% increase in revenue
per available room (RevPAR) in 2014 slightly lagged the company’s RevPAR growth as a
Starwood is also looking to play a catch-up by accelerating
its unit growth. A lack of growth was a factor in former CEO Frits van
Paasschen stepping down from his post in February. Van Paasschen was replaced on an interim
basis by longtime board member Adam Aron.
As of the end of last year, Sheraton accounted for 436 of
Starwood’s 1,222 hotels worldwide, and more than 153,000 of Starwood’s 354,000