Meeting News - October 19, 2009 - (Page 20)

Construction Cites Global Revamping of Sheraton Includes Remaking Its Lobby As A Place To Find Links By Michael B. Baker mbaker@meetingnews.com wide by the end of the year. The feature makes the lobby more of a social area and was a response for guests’ desire to have a spot to meet outside of their rooms, he said. “Consistency is a price of entry, but part of what’s been the strength of the Link has been giving our brand a soul,” van Paasschen said. “It’s a great way to take a brand with so much heritage and give it a new handle.” The brand’s research showed that about 50 percent of guests at a Sheraton featuring a Link used it during their stay, a higher percentage than those who eat breakfast at the hotel, use the gym or get a drink at the bar. “The only thing people do more of at those hotels is sleep,” van Paasschen said. Sheraton Dallas sports renovation coming to nearly the entire brand by year-end. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is nearing completion of a $6 billion global revitalization effort, and the brand reports an uptick in business traveler satisfaction as a result of the project. Since December 2006, Sheraton, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has invested $2.3 billion in opening new hotels, $1.5 billion in renovating new hotels and an additional $400 million on brand initiatives. The brand also invested $2 billion in improving its hotels internationally. In those three years, Sheraton has opened or redesigned 50,000 guest rooms and redesigned 180 Sheraton lobbies. Nearly half of the brand’s North American properties have undergone renovation, said Starwood senior vice presi20 MeetingNews Santa Cruz Beachfront Hotel Upgrades, Grows Santa Cruz Dream Inn, the California city’s only full-service beachfront hotel, in recent months completed an 18-month renovation project that upgraded the property’s 165 guest rooms and added dent of brand management and Sheraton head Hoyt Harper II, and during the next three months the brand will be making over properties in Dallas, Denver and Montreal as well as opening the Sheraton Puerto Rico Convention Center Hotel & Casino. Through the investment, Starwood has aimed to boost the image of the Sheraton brand, once a centerpiece of the business travel world but more recently one that has suffered in terms of guest satisfaction scores compared with its sister brands. Internal satisfaction ratings indicate the investment has paid off, according to Harper. “We have evidence through our metrics that we’ve turned a big corner with image, not just with our guests but also with meeting planners,” Harper said. “We’re seeing record guest satisfaction scores, and the key metric—likelihood to return—is up almost a full point.” To maintain brand consistency, Sheraton also has removed some properties from its portfolio. As of Sept. 30, the brand has removed its flag from 27 properties that were unable to meet its standards. The centerpiece of Sheraton’s lobby development has been the Link@Sheraton, a cybercafé-style public area offering free wireless Internet service and meeting tables. Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen said the Link would be in 95 percent of Sheraton properties world- California Dream Inn enough meeting space to enable the property to host events of up to 250 people. Owned by California boutique www.meetingnews.com October 19, 2009 http://www.meetingnews.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - October 19, 2009

Meeting News - October 19, 2009
Contents
Meeting Post
Meetings Spotlight
Event Profile
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Association Watch
VantagePoint
Gaming Destinations
Dateline: Florida
South Regional
Dateline: Guadalajara
Travel Dashboard

Meeting News - October 19, 2009

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