Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has its eye firmly fixed on China as it confirmed yesterday that it will open 20 new hotels in the country in 2013.
Having doubled its footprint in China over the last 3 years, the country is now the company’s 2nd largest hotel market behind the United States. It is also the group’s fastest growing market worldwide.
Starwood president and CEO, Frits van Paasschen who is in China this week participating in the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu said the company will open one new hotel every 20 days and that 70% of its pipeline of new hotels under construction and in development are in second and third tier cities.
“We continue to view China as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our business,” van Paasschen said. “Whether it’s growing our hotel footprint as part of the country’s massive infrastructure development, or aggressively building our loyalty program in the world’s fastest growing domestic and outbound travel market, we are focused on taking every advantage of our important first-mover position in China.”
Starwood claims to already be the largest high-end hotel operator in China “with more hotels here than competitors Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt combined”. In 2012 Starwood opened 25 hotels and signed 36 new hotel deals.