by Michael J. Shapiro | August 14, 2013
Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which launched its Personalized Travel program in 2011 to cater to the expectations of outbound Chinese travelers, is now focusing on the tastes, preferences and expectations of the Indian travel market. The lodging company will begin offering amenities such as slippers and tea kettles, masala tea and breakfast items like dose, poori and paratha at participating properties. Among the hotels to offer the program will be the Sheraton Centre Toronto, Le Méridien Ile Maurice in Mauritius, W Barcelona in Spain, Sheraton Macau Hotel Cotai Central and The St. Regis Florence in Italy. The India program is more focused on the business-to-business space than the China program, according to Starwood senior vice president of sales Christie Hicks. "India group bookings tend to happen in the very short term," Hicks explained, "and we're educating hotels on the needs and expectations of the India planner." India currently is Starwood's fourth largest market, with 37 hotels in the portfolio and an additional 32 under development.