At a time when rivals Hilton and Marriott are adding new upscale brands, Starwood’s content to stay as is.
That’s according to Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen, who last Thursday addressed the question of whether the 1,200-property company would add an upscale brand. He spoke to Wall Street analysts during the company’s Q2 earnings call. Starwood runs brands such Sheraton, W, Westin and Aloft.
“We can clearly add brands to our portfolio and our platform, and have very good results by doing that,” he said, referring to Starwood’s 2005 acquisition of Le Meridien – the chain originally created in 1972 by Air France.
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But in a nod to Hilton’s announcement last month that it would create a brand from scratch, van Paasschen said, “the idea of launching and building brands de novo – which I know is happening with some frequency across the industry – is something that we see as a pretty challenging thing to do. And getting a brand from zero to critical mass requires a considerable amount of investment. Our own belief is that given the fact that we have at least eight brands (excluding Sheraton) that have significant growth just in reaching global scale, we should be investing in growing those brands.”
The owners of Starwood-brand hotels, he added, “would probably want us to be focused on growing the brands” that they invested in as opposed to “turning our attention somewhere else.”
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In June, Hilton said it’s creating Curio, a brand that lets upscale independent hotels tap Hilton’s distribution system without adhering to strict brand rules.
Readers: Do you think the multi-national hotel operators have too many or too few brands? Why?