Just as it did in 2011 when it relocated its corporate headquarters to China for 30 days, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE: HOT ) will relocate more than 200 executives and general managers to Dubai for a month-long immersion in the region's culture. Headquarters are usually in Stamford, Conn.
Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen said that with 80% of Starwood's "pipeline" coming from rapidly growing markets, the company's executives can't begin to assess the global culture it needs to cultivate by sitting behind desks in Connecticut. "Just as with our one-month relocation to China in 2011, our time in-market will spark new ideas that will fortify our position as the most global high-end hotel company," he was quoted as saying in a company press release.
As part of the relocation, Starwood will have more than 200 executives and general managers from the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America travel to Dubai to run day-to-day operations from there. The executives 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 company said.
"We are on the cusp of a new Golden Age of Travel, and Dubai is at the epicenter of this sea change," van Paasschen said.
Starwood opened the first W luxury hotel in 2009 in Doha, Qatar, and plans are under way to open new W hotels in Amman, Muscat, and Abu Dhabi as well as two W properties in Dubai. The company also runs the St. Regis brand in the Middle East and continues to grow its Luxury Collection brand in the region.
Starwood has 1,134 properties in nearly 100 countries.