Most hoteliers across the globe are trying to augment guest satisfaction and gain a better foothold in the industry. Hence, brand conversion and remodelling have become a trend, especially in the past couple of years. As part of its continued push to popularize its brand, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is set to introduce an Aloft-branded property in Secaucus, N.J. The hotel is slated for a mid-2016 opening and will mark the brand’s entry into the state.
Aloft Secaucus will be owned by Indianapolis-based hotel development and management company, Sun Development and Management. The 172-room property will be located within the Plaza at Harmon Meadow, at a stone’s throw away from the city’s major attractions. In our view, the upscale location and close proximity to the major attractions will act as major crowd-pullers for the hotel.
Starwood’s mid-scale and contemporary lifestyle brand, Aloft, has been riding on a high growth trajectory since its launch in 2008 and has already forayed into North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, India, Southeast Asia and China. Aloft goes well with the modern travellers who seek a unique experience, at a reasonable price range.
Specifically, the brand’s affordable price point in the mid-market hotel category is another reason for its increasing popularity. The company currently boasts more than 75 Aloft-branded properties worldwide. Aloft saw solid growth last year as it debuted in various locations including Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Suwon-city, South Korea. Last week, Starwood announced the brand’s debut in New Orleans, La. in 2015.
Besides focusing on the lucrative domestic market, the company is consistently trying to expand its international footprint. More than half of Starwood’s properties are situated outside the U.S., which gives the company wide international exposure, unlike any of its peers. Other leading hoteliers Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H - Snapshot Report) and InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG - Snapshot Report) are also consistently trying to expand their international footprint.
Starwood that currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), recently posted mixed fourth-quarter 2013 results – with the bottom line beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate, but the top line falling short of expectations. A better-ranked stock in the hotel industry is Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).