‘Dramatic reinvention’ of Sheraton underway: Marriott CEO

One of the most storied brands in hospitality history, the Sheraton is undergoing a radical reboot that will help “re-awaken” its lost prestige, Marriott’s boss has said.

On a recent visit to Dubai, Marriott CEO, Arne Sorenson, said that the realisation of a “top priority” since the chain’s 2016 merger with Starwood will roll out over the next few months.

“Over the next few years, you’ll see that the worst Sheratons are either dramatically reinvented or they’re gone. That will move the average experience up materially,” he said.

The world’s largest hospitality company, Marriott acquired Sheraton after its $13bn merger with Starwood in 2016. Sheraton is the third largest brand its portfolio, and its largest in terms of room count outside of North America.

By the end of the year, Marriott projects, Sheraton will have exited 8,000 rooms since the merger, while adding 5,000 over the period.

“Sheraton is a big brand that suffered from standards that weren’t aggressively developed or implemented,” said Sorenson. “So what we did right after the merger was pull in Sheraton owners globally and talk about what those standards should be and the time frame to implement them. And we made it very clear to the owners that if they don’t meet those standards then they’re not going to stay in the system.”

“This is a process of a matter of years not months, but we’re already are seeing the impact of our strategy. In terms of RevPar (revenue per available room) compared to hotels that it competes with, Sheraton has already improved since the Starwood merger, owing to that strategy,” said Sorenson.

Marriott first unveiled its plans to “re-awaken” Sheraton in June when it invited visitors to ‘The Sheraton Experience’, a 4,200-square-foot concept featuring mid-century design, all-day dining, technology-centric amenities and a number of collaborative co-working spaces. The concept also highlighted how the 81 year old brand has been a mainstay in some of the world’s most important city centres.

Sheraton’s invention will “build on a rich legacy of sitting at the heart of communities across the globe, but also create a differentiated positioning and compelling proposition for our owners,” Sorenson said at the time.

Earlier this month, Marriott held a weeklong series of activations at the newly renovated Sheraton Cairo Hotel and Casino in Egypt, including a co-hosted Ted Talk titled ‘Egypt’s Cultural Past and Present’, an experiential ‘Heart for the City’ tour incorporating the country’s landmarks, monuments and heritage, as well as further examples of how the Sheraton brand will appeal to future customers.

The event follows global brand officer, Tina Edmundson’s, statement to Arabian Business in June about how “The Middle East is pivotal to Sheraton’s fortunes and could likely be one of the first places to see the all new hotel.”

On the West Bank of the Nile River, Sheraton Cairo is steps away from the Egyptian Museum and the Cairo Opera House, and was the first of its brand to open in Africa more than four decades ago. One of Sheraton’s most important locations globally, the hotel recently underwent a renovation of its 326 rooms and facilities including the addition of new spaces including restaurants and lounges.

“Sheraton in the Middle East and Asia has been wildly successful,” said Edmundson. “Our job is to dust off the globally recognised icon and bring it back to its glory days.”

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