Two years ago, when there was still a plan on the table for Starwood to be independent even as their board shopped the chain to other companies, they announced a $100 million marketing plan to revive the lagging Sheraton brand.
In fact in Asia Pacific, the Sheraton brand is strong. It signals quality. Sheratons are generally nicer than nearby Westins. The Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is a true world class hotel, for instance.
View from the Sheraton Iguazu Falls
In the US it’s pure inconsistency. There are perfectly decent Sheratons such as in Seattle and there are run down Sheratons. The Sheraton name in the U.S. alone doesn’t tell you what you’re going to get, other than the club lounge is likely mediocre.
Sheraton does, to me, mean an excellent bed. I’m a big fan of the Sweet Sleeper.
With Marriott having taken over, they’re intent on keeping all brands because that means more fees.
Something has to be done about properties dragging down the value of the brand, so about 25 are being renovated and just a couple kicked out. That’s hardly the strong plan laid out for Sheraton in 2015. At best they’re ‘in the process of having conversations’ with a couple dozen other laggard properties.
The Sheraton brand can survive, though, in a world where hotels are full and many are in good locations (and still others are among the nicer properties in cities without nice properties). Because at the end of the day, Hillary Clinton reveals a simple truth: you suck it up and stay at Sheraton if that’s where your conference is, where your meetings are near, or where POTUS is staying (HT: Joe Brancatelli).
[Huma] Abedin sent one email on Nov. 14, 2011 to Clinton, asking about hotel arrangements, apparently relating to an upcoming trip to Asia.
“Do you want to stay with potus?” Abedin wrote. “He’s at the horrible Sheraton. We had previously talked about staying elsewhere. Best hotel is peninsula. Presidential is gone and so is second largest but they have some suites left so I want to sign the contract if you are open to that.”
Clinton, labeled “H,” responded: “I think it would be hard not to be in same hotel as POTUS so try to get the best option there.”
Sheraton Port Douglas
I still get choked up at the Belong commercials from a decade ago (though they didn’t really give me a substantive reason why I belonged at Sheraton versus another chain other than they say so).
But Sheratons can still fill rooms and generate fees, even if many of them need some love and investment, and even if the inconsistent product diminishes the brand and therefore the room rates that the superior properties are able to charge. Hillary Clinton still stays, after all. And she stays despite not trusting any of the online reviews, too.