Starwood sees partner potential in Europe’s independent hotels

EUROPE Independently-owned luxury hotels could prove to be a big part of the next big wave of expansion in Europe for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“There are a lot of family-owned, independent luxury hotels that sit trying to connect to the kind of customers we already have,” Michael Wale, Starwood’s senior vice president for northwest Europe, tells Bloomberg. “We’re starting to talk to those owners.”

Wale does not specify whether Starwood would seek to bring such hotels into the portfolio under branding and management agreements, or whether the company might consider launching a new sales and marketing label in the vein of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. However, Wale says Starwood would look at acquisition opportunities in Europe and that the company is in “very good” financial shape to do so.

White Plains, New York-based Starwood plans to open 50 hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East over the next five years.