Le Méridien: Born Again

Venerable Brand Gets Boost From New Owner Starwood

Michael Wale

Michael Wale

Six months after its acquisition by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts is ready to go toe-to-toe in the competitive luxury hotel market.

In March, the brand announced it was fully integrated into Starwood’s well-oiled sales and marketing systems. According to Javier Benito, Starwood’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, the internal alignment resulted in $85 million in potential revenue sales leads to Le Meridien from Starwood’s global sales force.

According to Michael Wale, London-based senior vice president of operations for Le Meridien, 2007 will kick off an era of global expansion and brand strengthening.

“It is now time for Le M}ridien to step out of the middle of the luxury pack, where it has been too quiet for too long,” said Wale. “It’s going to have an explosion of growth in the next few years.”

With 120 hotels worldwide, Le M}ridien now has 85 projects on the books. In the next 18 months alone, the brand will open properties in Croatia; Egypt; Malta; Pakistan; Shanghai, China; and Thailand.

In addition, Wale noted, “We are under-represented in North America, and we want to build the same brand awareness here that we already have in Europe and Asia. After all, it is the European heritage of Le M}ridien that differentiates us from all the other Starwood chains.”