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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) is on the verge of signing new deals and launching hotels in the rapidly-growing emerging markets of Latin America in order to further enhance its presence in the region. Starwood intends to increase its Latin American portfolio to 100 properties at the end of 2013.

Starwood’s Latin American coverage comprises three brands - luxury brands (W Hotels, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection), upper-upscale segment (Westin, Le Méridien and Sheraton) and mid-market brands (Aloft and Four Points by Sheraton). At present, Starwood owns and operates 71 hotels across 13 countries in the region. Apart from this, 20 hotels are currently under construction. The company expects to unveil seven hotels in Latin America in 2013.

Flourishing Luxury Brand

This year Starwood is slated to introduce two Luxury Collection branded hotels in Cusco, Peru and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Apart from this, the company is also augmenting the presence of its W Hotels and St. Regis brand in Latin America. In this regard, Starwood has declared that it will unveil four new properties including W Bogota, W Santa Fe in Mexico City in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and W Retreat Kanai Rivera Maya as well as W Panama City both in 2016. Moreover, Starwood will also launch a St. Regis branded hotel, St. Regis Kanai Rivera Maya, in 2016.

Growing Opportunity in the Upper-Upscale Brand

In a concerted endeavor to strengthen its upper-upscale brand, Starwood is set to open four Sheraton branded properties in several places of Latin America in 2013 and 2014.

Starwood’s other upscale brands; Westin and Le Méridien are also witnessing high demand in the region. In 2013, the company is likely to operate 11 Westin branded hotels across five Latin American countries.

Strong Mid-Market Segment

Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton is also expecting to extend its operations in Latin America with the inauguration of three Four Points by Sheraton hotels in Peru, Mexico and Bogota in 2013 and 2014. In addition, the other mid-market brand, Aloft is also scheduled to open six new properties in Latin America within 2015.

Starwood is continuously making serious efforts to enhance its international presence. Recently, the company has declared its plan to introduce 50 new hotels in the European region by 2018. Starwood has also undertaken several $200 million renovation initiatives to improve the efficacy of its existing hotels in Europe.

Starwood currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another hotel company Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (WYN - Analyst Report) also has a strong presence in the Latin American region. Wyndham currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

There are various other hoteliers who are also trying to expand their businesses further, including Intercontinental Hotels Group plc (IHG - Snapshot Report) and Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH - Snapshot Report), both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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