Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Starwood’s largest brand, is undergoing an aggressiveexpansion that has it opening a new hotel every 12 days in various cities around the world throughout 2008. The plan calls for Sheraton to add 54 new hotels (20,000 rooms) to its portfolio by the end of the year, with properties opening in Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. The brand will also add three new resorts— two in China and one in Carlsbad, Calif.—to its collection. The company expects to end the year with a total of 462 hotels, including 63 resorts.
The $2 billion investment plan doesn’t stop at the end of the year. By 2010, Sheraton will expand in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, increasing its portfolio by nearly 70 properties. Openings will include properties in U.S. destinations such as New York City, Texas, and California, and international sites such as in Ireland, Argentina, Poland, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan.
The expansion is part of a larger initiative by Sheraton to improve brand quality and consistency, and the guest experience. In addition to the planned expansions, Sheraton will be upgrading 100 hotels and 50,000 guest rooms in North America and redesigning more than 100 hotel lobbies.
The aggressive strategy could be good news for planners who consider their groups “space hogs.” Sheraton’s plan includes some new “big box” properties that will feature extensive meeting space, like the Sheraton Phoenix, with 1,000 rooms and 80,000 square feet of meeting space; and the Sheraton Macau, offering more than 4,000 rooms and 271,000 square feet of meeting space. The company is also completing $170 million in renovations to Sheraton properties in Dallas and Denver, which will add 360,000 square feet of meeting space to its portfolio.