The FINANCIAL -- TORONTO--Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will expand its Canadian portfolio to 70 hotels within the next 12 months. The Aloft Calgary University, Starwood’s first Aloft hotel in Western Canada, opened last month, following the February opening of Four Points Waterloo-Kitchener Hotel & Suites, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
The momentum continues with the upcoming openings of Four Points Regina, Four Points Surrey, Four Points Moncton and the Element Vancouver Metrotown. This activity comes after a strong 2013, which included the openings of Four Points Edmonton International Airport, Four Points Kelowna Airport, Four Points Edmundston and Element Vaughan Southwest, maintaining Canada’s position as Starwood’s 2nd largest market outside the U.S.
“We are continuing to see rising demand for development in both secondary and tertiary markets across Canada, fuelled by strong interest in our globally recognized and admired brands and the ability to tap into Starwood’s strong distribution network and loyalty program. Our solid portfolio of 66 hotels in the country across seven of our brands positions us well for continued growth, particularly in the mid-market segment where we are seeing a lot of traction,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands (SSB) are continuing to drive positive momentum and fuelling growth across the country, underscoring the company’s long-term development strategy to grow its Aloft, Element and Four Points by Sheraton brands, increasingly in secondary and tertiary cities where there is strong demand for domestic business travel. Currently, Starwood has 30 hotels under these three brands across Canada, the largest SSB portfolio outside of the U.S., with plans to grow to 35 operating hotels by the end of first quarter 2015, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Four Points is Starwood’s most prolific brand in Canada with 27 hotels. Boasting the second largest global pipeline of all of Starwood’s brands, Four Points has proven to be a hit with travelers in markets worldwide and is a key player in a new generation of mid-market hotels delivering honest, uncomplicated comfort and exceptional guest service. The company has recently signed agreements for two new hotels, including Four Points Estevan, SK. and Four Points Lloydminster, SK.
“We are proactively looking to increase our portfolio throughout Canada with the right partners, creating the right properties, in the right places. Our agile development approach allows us to adapt our growth strategies based on specific geographies and brand needs for both new development and conversions, where we are seeing strong interest,” Scott Duff, Sr. Director Development - Canada & Alaska, said.
Starwood’s latest brand innovation, Element made a strong debut in Canada in June 2013 in Vaughan, Ontario, quickly becoming a market leader on TripAdvisor against a strong competitive set. Canada’s second Element, Element Vancouver Metrotown is progressing nicely towards its opening in the first quarter of next year with two additional Western Canada Element hotels slated to break ground this year – Element Calgary Airport and Element Edmonton West, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood’s innovative Aloft brand recently entered Western Canada with the opening of Aloft Calgary University. The hotel, which was a conversion, marked the third Aloft in Canada joining Aloft Montreal Airport and Aloft Vaughan Mills. Industry changing initiatives in music, design, and technology have positioned Aloft as a must-have brand for the next generation of travelers, according to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.