By Andy Sambidge
Hospitality major remains upbeat for region after 'negative impact' of uprisings on Q2 earnings
Hospitality major Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has said the Middle East and Africa was the only region in which it operates to see declining revenue per available room (revPAR) in the second quarter of 2011.
RevPAR fell by more than seven percent in the region while worldwide, Starwood branded hotels saw revenues grow by 18.5 percent over the same period last year.
The US company said in a statement that it had been "negatively impacted" by events in the MENA region, a reference to the uprisings seen in countries such as Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia.
“Reading headlines, it’s easy to feel skittish about the near term. There are many factors that could upend this recovery,” CEO Frits van Paasschen said.
“But drivers of our business paint a more robust picture.”
The company said it continues to see growth in demand, interest from developers and investors, and an uptick in activity among its key customers.
Last month Starwood said it was planning to employ 10,000 workers to staff 25 new Starwood properties in the Middle East due to come online between now and 2016.
The hotel giant will be looking for wait staff, kitchen porters, chefs, admin workers, drivers, managers, cleaners, butlers and security staff among many others.
The company said it will be advertising job vacancies on its website.
Guido de Wilde, senior vice president, Starwood, said that the Middle East was a key growth market for the firm, and only the second region after North America due to operate all nine of Starwood’s world-class brands.
The UAE particularly, will play a key role in the company’s growth, with 10 new hotels already planned across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman in the coming few years.
Its nine brands include S Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, the Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft and Element.