DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, : Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced it has uprooted its global headquarters from Stamford, Connecticut, USA, to Dubai for just a month.
The relocation to Dubai took effect 1 March and ends 5 April.
Starwood President & CEO Frits van Paasschen and the company’s top executives will conduct day-to-day business from Dubai, an increasingly important global destination and travel hub.
It constitutes an expensive exercise even for cash-rich Starwood and in an era of tele-conferencing and internet connectivity, critics may say “why bother.”
However, the largest hotel management company in the world cities its successful relocation to China in June 2011. No details were given, but it is understood that the HQ transfer would also include life partners( spouses) of the top management and generous out-of-country living expenses.
A press statement claims it ‘reflects Starwood’s innovative management approach to cultivating a more global culture by understanding, appreciating and leveraging different societal perspectives and approaches to business and hospitality.”
“Working day-to-day in a different market allows you to see the world through a different lens”
Frits van Paasschen
“With 80% of Starwood’s pipeline coming from rapidly growing markets, it is simply not possible to lead a truly global business from a boardroom in Connecticut,” said van Paasschen. “We expect this relocation will deepen our relationships with partners, associates and customers.”
The relocation involves the transfer of more than 200 Starwood executives and general managers from the US Europe, Asia and Latin America who will be required to hold meetings in Dubai as the company runs day-to-day operations almost 7,000 miles and a nine-hour time zone away from its usual HQ outside New York City.
The team will meet with associates, customers, owners and prospective developers in the UAE and also take advantage of Dubai’s location for business travel to destinations including Mumbai, Addis Ababa, Jeddah, Dushanbe and Kuwait.
The Middle East continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub with Dubai now home to many multinational 58 million visitors, a number which is expected to grow at annual rates above 10%, and the airport is expected to be the world’s largest in terms of international passenger traffic by 2015.
With the opening of W Doha in 2009, Starwood introduced a new luxury hotel category in the Middle East, and plans are underway to open new W hotels in Amman, Muscat, and Abu Dhabi as well as two W properties in Dubai. Following the W brand’s debut, Starwood introduced its St. Regis brand into the Middle East with the 2011 opening of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort (Abu Dhabi).
St. Regis has since opened in Doha and will this year unveil a second St. Regis hotel in Abu Dhabi, located on the Corniche. Future St. Regis openings in the region include The St. Regis Cairo, The St. Regis Amman, and The St. Regis Dubai.