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Starwood's Four Points to Grow Worldwide

Zacks Equity Research

In an effort to expand its global presence, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.’s (HOT) mid-market brand, Four Points by Sheraton, is on the verge of launching 25 new properties worldwide by 2014. Following these openings, Starwood will increase its Four Points brand’s portfolio to reach nearly 200 properties.

Launched in Jan 1995, Starwood’s third-largest brand, Four Points, currently owns 175 properties across 30 countries. Since its opening, the brand has been gaining strong momentum. The company expects 2013 to be the strongest year for the brand in terms of signing management and franchise deals.

As per the expansion plan, of Four Points’ total development pipeline, most of the properties are based in the North American region. Commencing its journey in 2008, Starwood now owns 116 hotels with 18,418 guestrooms under this mid-scale brand in North America.

Several other hoteliers, including Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H), Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG) and Marriott International, Inc. (MAR) have also made their presence felt in the region.

Owing to a gradual economic recovery, the demand trend in North America appears to be improving.  Presently, Starwood has a pipeline of 17 hotels in the U.S. and Canada under its Four Points brand and intends to open its 120th hotel by year-end.

Four Points also has a strong development opportunity in a number of international markets. This year, Four Points will make an entry into the emerging markets of Peru, Sri Lanka and Libya. Starwood will also be adding 10 new properties under the brand in Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa by 2014.

Many owners are willing to renovate or reposition hotels in order to join Four Points and come under the Starwood brand. As part of the Starwood group, these properties get to reap the benefits of its much greater scale, industry leading reservations and marketing system as well as the rewards of the loyalty program.

Earlier in 2012, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company put in $1 billion in order to revitalize the Four Points brand that primarily serves value-seeking guests. We believe this initiative will boost the brand’s growth, going ahead.

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