For example, while 2008 seems to have been a relatively standard year of growth for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (No. 8 for the second year in a row), this year Starwood expects to add a total of between 80 and 100 hotels across its nine brands—giving it more than 1,000 hotels total—while broadening its geographic base to include hotels in more than 100 countries.
“You can argue that the economic meltdown is a detour—and I would concede this changes our trajectory, at least in the near term—but the fundamental picture of our ability to grow around our brands is in place,” says Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen.
Much of that growth will come from the company’s W and Aloft brands. White Plains, New York-based Starwood is in the process of tripling W’s footprint (from 20 hotels to 60 hotels, with 30 currently) through globalization (Istanbul opened in 2008, Doha opened earlier this year and Barcelona is set to open this fall), and Aloft, which debuted just a year ago in June, already has 25 properties, and Starwood expects to reach 40 by the end of this year.
Another company to recently reach the 1,000 hotels milestone is Minneapolis-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide (No. 9), which opened the Radisson St. Martin Resort, Marina & Spa, its 1,000th property, at the end of 2008. For 2009, Carlson’s Country Inns & Suites product is the brand in focus, with more than 15 new properties opened so far this year, and a plan to add nearly 20 more before the year’s end.
Meanwhile, for a company the size of Accor (No. 5), a single brand—Motel 6—can reach the 1,000 hotel milestone. At the beginning of the year, Motel 6 opened its 1,000th property. In fact, Accor North America opened some 57 Motel 6 and Studio 6 locations in 2008, helping the company move toward a goal of 1,200 North American properties by 2010.
Paris-based Accor also has plans in Europe, with CEO Gilles Pelisson noting recently at the NYU Hospitality Investment Conference that he sees current conditions as a great opportunity for acquiring hotels in Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany (the company has some E100 million in available capital).
Another company looking to buy is San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Resorts (No. 106), which has some US$200 million to spend in major markets with high barriers to entry, according to CEO Mike Depatie.
Expect transaction activity to pick up in the third and fourth quarters as distressed assets come to market at deep discounts.