The first ever Starwood Media Summit, “What’s Next?,” held at the New York Sheraton was a formidable event in which a “New Starwood” was presented to members of the media on Tuesday and to investors on Wednesday, that outlined its business strategy and brand positionings.

Chief Executive Officer Steven J. Heyer and members of the Company’s Senior Management team including their Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Javier Benito, trumpeted the concept of “emotionalism,” and re-creating iconic brands as their strategy for the 21st century.

“For the last 18 months, we have been working to unlock the substantial potential that exists in our brands, infrastructure and team. We are implementing a clear and exciting strategy, which is already generating significant benefits.”

Each brand manager presented the direction and focus of their brand to illustrate how each is significantly different from the other and how each creates its own “memorable guest experience,” while furthering the Starwood footprint. Through a media blitz of new print and tv ads and online marketing campaigns, including videotaped testimonials encased in media kiosks for you to access during the breaks, we were taken experientially into each brand and offered some of each signature style of food, beverage, environment, and product samples.

“Our strategy,” says Heyer, who came on board just a year and a half ago, a veteran of the media industry, “will generate industry leading Revpar, footprint growth and Return On Invested Capital for ourselves and our owners.”

The focus of their brand innovation is being achieved by moving away from price-based competition and “bed wars” to what they call, “emotionally relevant branding,” from which they can build upon for continued invention. They are launching an extensive training program worldwide so that each associate can “become” its brand positioning. At the same time they will be strictly monitoring guest satisfaction and operational efficiency to ensure that Starwood continues to lead the industry in margin growth. Third on the agenda, is their plan to develop robust hotel pipeline and fee growth, evident in the 150 new hotel contracts slated for 2006 and the five to seven percent net annual unit growth through 2009 that they are projecting.

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