Starwood, the hotel group behind Le Meridien / Westin / W / Aloft / Luxury Collection / St Regis etc, set out a blueprint to revitalise its tired Sheraton brand on Monday.
There is little doubt that Sheraton needs help. One of the original global hotel brands, it has suffered from neglect and underinvestment for many years – except in Asia, oddly, where its name sits above many impressive hotels.
A vicious spiral can quickly open up in the hotel industry, because if your brand is no longer seen as relevant or aspirational it is not attractive to hotel developers. Without a pipeline of exciting new projects to provide a ‘halo’ effect, the brand just sinks away.
(It is worth noting that this is only the 3rd article on Sheraton to appear on HFP out of more than 3,000 published pieces. There really hasn’t been much going on.)
The best 100 Sheraton hotels are to be moved into a new chain called Sheraton Grand. This is meant to have two objectives:
to allow guests to have a better idea of what they will get if they book a Sheraton (ie if it is a Sheraton Grand it will be OK) and
to shame owners of properties which do not make the cut into upgrading their hotels
$100m is to be invested in a Sheraton-focussed marketing campaign (I need to work out a way of getting my hands on a sliver of that!).
150 new Sheraton hotels are to open worldwide by 2020. This is likely to involve Starwood having to offer ‘sweetheart’ deals to developers who would ideally prefer to have a fresher name above the door, in order to provide the ‘halo’ effect which will drive sales across the brand.
From a loyalty perspective Starwood also announced a new Sheraton promotion which will launch soon.
Between July 9th and September 30th, you will earn a free Sheraton weekend night – valid at any property – for every five Sheraton nights you stay. The free night will be valid until the end of the year.
With some very cunning planning, this could work out nicely. There are some decent and / or expensive Sheraton hotels stretching from the Maldives to New York. Booking yourself into a cheap one for a business trip could pay off nicely later in the year. In the UK, the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh (photo above) was fully refurbished a couple of years ago and is well regarded. The Park Lane Hotel in London – which is on Piccadilly and not on Park Lane! – still appears to be a Sheraton despite dropping the name.
I will discuss this promotion again when registration is available.
(Want to earn more hotel points? To see our complete list of promotions from the major chains, click here to visit our ‘Hotel Promos’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)