FIVE YEARS AFTER STARWOOD ACQUISITION, LE MERIDIEN EMERGES WITH NEW BRAND DIRECTION AND THE STRONGEST PORTFOLIO EVER
In this New Era, Le Méridien Provides a New Perspective for Guests
NEW YORK – November 29, 2010 – Five years after Le Méridien brand’s acquisition by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), Le Méridien has been re-defined, now boasting the brand’s strongest portfolio in its 38 year history and its strongest performance indicators. A total brand re-launch, from product consolidation to a new and highly innovative brand strategy, including a large-scale service culture transformation program, has catapulted Le Méridien brand into a new era. Over the past five years, Starwood has applied its brand building prowess to Le Méridien, which has re-imagined the hotel experience to cater to the world’s creative class of 150 million people globally.
Now represented by 105 properties in 50 countries spanning five continents, Le Méridien has undergone a dramatic re-launch to become a sought-after, contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand. With 85% of its properties located in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts provides an international complement to Starwood’s strong North American portfolio and has accelerated Starwood’s leadership as the most global hospitality company.
“Starwood’s industry leading centralized services plus its expertise in building leading lifestyle brands has turned out to give Le Méridien a new life and a bright future,” said Eva Ziegler, Starwood’s Global Brand Leader for Le Méridien and W Hotels Worldwide. “The result has been unprecedented success and transformation since the Starwood acquisition five years ago. With our distinctive positioning and guest initiatives we have started to attract a new audience of creative, world-traveling guests who embrace the brand as part of their lives.”
BEST PORTFOLIO IN BRAND HISTORY
· Today, there are currently 105 Le Méridien hotels globally.
· Since the Starwood acquisition in 2005, the company has exited 45 Le Méridien hotels that did not meet standards under Starwood.
· 50% of Le Méridien hotels have been renovated or will be renovated by end 2012.
· Starwood has opened 20 new Le Meridien hotels in the past five years, including San Francisco (USA), Minneapolis (USA), Philadelphia (USA), Panama City (Panama), Shanghai (China), Bangkok (Thailand), Chongqing (China), Xiamen (China), and Taipei (Taiwan), among others.
· Starwood has announced 10 new Le Méridien properties in its global pipeline for the coming years in key markets, including: Oran (Algeria), Istanbul (Turkey), Cairo (Egypt), Lagos (Nigeria), Zhengzhou (China), Xian (China), Lonavala (India), Mahabaleshwar (India), Hô Chí Minh-Ville (Vietnam), and Doha (Qatar).
· North America and Asia Pacific, specifically offer strong growth opportunities for Le Méridien brand.
BEST PERFORMANCE IN BRAND HISTORY
Since the Starwood acquisition, Le Méridien brand has seen:
· Highest levels of guest satisfaction in the history of the brand
· Global average daily rate (ADR) reach the highest in the history of the brand
· RevPAR index at the brand’s highest level ever at 105.4 points in 2010
· The European portfolio reach its highest RevPAR index of 113% compared to its competitive set
· Europe become the strongest performing region in terms of RevPAR and RevPAR index – $129.60 and 112.2, respectively
· Nearly 45% percent of Le Méridien guests as Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members – further proof of Starwood’s powerful contribution to the brand’s performance
· Double digit growth year-over-year in room nights booked by SPG members
· The amount of Le Méridien stays booked online double in past four years
LE MERIDIEN: A FORWARD LOOKING, DESIGN-LED LIFESTYLE BRAND
Under Starwood, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts has launched a new brand direction that aims to provide a new perspective through culture to the creative class, the brand’s aspirational target guest. In this light a series of brand initiatives have come to life inside the hotels through a bold, boundary-breaking “curatorial” cultural program.
· In 2006, Le Méridien appointed Jérôme Sans, currently director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, as Global Cultural Curator for the brand.
· Sans and Le Méridien founded LM100™: a global family of cultural innovators who work together to create interactive cultural experiences into the hotels.
· With Jérôme Sans Le Méridien introduced Unlock Art™ a program that grants guests complimentary access to a local cultural contemporary center through one-of-a-kind key cards created by a range of LM100.
· Le Meridien arrival experience was the first step to transform its lobbies into “hubs” around the world, which will offer a creative environment consisting of contemporary curated art in high impact areas and a coffeehouse atmosphere.
· In 2010, Le Méridien introduced “A New Perspective,” a signature event series made up of culture talks with global and local creative spirits and designed to inspire and stimulate guests as well as the local community.
· Beginning in 2011, Le Méridien will re-launch its lobby spaces as creative hubs, a key initiative for the brand. The “hub” concept is currently being piloted at some of Le Méridien’s flagship hotels around the world and will ensure the environment created, the food & beverage experiences provided, and programming through a curated art approach, are authentic and unique to Le Méridien.
Le Meridien is an award winning brand
· In 2010, Business Travel News awarded Le Méridien the number one spot in its ranking of Overall Upper Upscale Business Hotels in North America.
· Le Méridien arrival experience was named the Most Innovative Concept in the Upscale Hotel Industry at the 2009 Worldwide Hospitality Awards in Paris.
· In 2009, Condé Nast Traveler nominated six Le Méridien properties as the World’s Best Places to Stay; the magazine’s Gold List 2009 winners include Le Méridien Bangkok and Le Méridien Chiang Rai (Thailand)
About Starwood Hotels & Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1025 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.