Starwood: Competitive Weapon

Topics: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Hotel, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Pages: 6 (1894 words) Published: July 9, 2012
Starwood: Operations as a Competitive Weapon
Before 2002, meeting and event planning among Starwood properties lacked consistency (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). Each individual property had its own unique approach to event planning, paperwork requirements, and available technology and resources (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). Starwood realized that meetings and events were critical for the continued success and growth of the brand, as a large volume of the hotels’ business derives from this segment (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). For this reason, Starwood must build and maintain successful relationships with event planners (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). In order to determine how best to achieve the highest possible results from their meetings and events division, Starwood held focus groups with meeting planners to determine their key needs, which uncovered that consistency among properties was imperative (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). Discussion

With 1,103 properties in almost 100 countries, Starwood is one of the largest international companies in the hotel industry (Investor overview, 2012). With a drive to provide all guests with a unique hotel experience catered to differing individual tastes, the company operates nine different brands including Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, aloft hotels, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, element, Westin Hotels & Resorts, and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts (Who we are: Starwood, 2012). In addition to lodging, meetings and events held at Starwood properties represent an important part of the company’s business and future growth (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). For this reason, the company conducted focus groups with their planning partners in order to better understand their needs (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). This process uncovered that the most important aspect of the planning process with Starwood is consistency in the process among properties (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). Prior to 2002, inconsistencies in paperwork, processes, and available amenities from property to property created challenges for planners booking events at multiple properties (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). In order to improve consistencies and increase loyalty from its most valuable meeting and event planners, Starwood established the Starwood Preferred Planner program in 2002 (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, Video, 2010). This program not only created consistencies in the planning process among Starwood properties, but also established a rewards program for planners, an assigned concierge for each meeting, and Nextel radios issued to each planner to allow immediate access to key staff during events (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, Video, 2010). After implementation of this program, consistencies improved across the company’s properties, as did the reviews from its planners (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, Video, 2010). Inputs and Outputs

Krajewski, Ritzman, and Malhotra (2010) indicate that outputs are the products and services produced by a process, while inputs are the resources required to generate the outputs, such as wages and other costs. In the Starwood scenario, the inputs include the hotels’ management and employees, as well as any additional outside labor the hotel may employ (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). Additionally, products and materials, such as food and decorations, as well as the costs of the facilities, equipment, and additional utility costs are factored into the inputs (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). Finally, the information provided to Starwood from the meeting and event planners is a necessary input for a successful meeting or event (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2010). When all of the above inputs are put together carefully, then the result is a successful...
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