Since Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced CEO Frits van Paasschen stepped down in mid-February, the company has quickly moved to deflect any negative perceptions of the announcement with a barrage of news. As Starwood chairman Bruce Duncan said in a statement, “The board believes now is the right time to take steps to accelerate Starwood’s growth, improve performance and sharpen our focus on operational excellence.”
Among the items relaying that message:
> Starwood announced the opening of its Starlab, an innovation headquarters in New York’s Garment District.
> The company created a partnership with the car service Uber, allowing members to earn points for using the popular taxi alternative.
> Its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, earned LEED Platinum certification for sustainability efforts like its reliance on natural light and reduction in water waste.
> Starwood predicts its Sheraton brand will open 20 new hotels this year and is on pace to surpass 500 locations worldwide by 2016. The parent company aims to open 40 new properties across Europe in 2015.
> Its new Promeetings app allows planners to manage events in real time. It’s currently in the pilot stage and will be rolled out to the company’s entire portfolio next year.