Miguel's Message

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Dear colleagues;
 
As many of you know that soon I will be stepping down from my full time role at Starwood and will be serving the company as your Non-executive Chairman for the Asia Pacific Division, it is probably a good time for me to reflect on my own Starwood career and how I see the future of Starwood Cares will progress under the able new division leadership, headed by Stephen Ho.
 
Indeed, my “love affair” with the company started in 1979 when Asia was just a back water region ”tugged” under the “Hawaii, Pacific and Far East Division”. We were the obscure “Far East” region of a US/Western European centric world. Asia Pacific was quite an insignificant part to the over footprint and earnings of this global company at that time. I must confessed that during those years, there were always temptations that I should leave to join a local Asian company where I could be more in center stage than working for one of the smallest regions in the company. What always held me back was about the stark differences in corporate culture. Most of the big Asian companies were family owned, working for these companies in whichever senior or high paying positions would also mean that I would only be an “employee” to a family where bloodline matters the most. This by itself is not the biggest problem. But just think about a 22 year grandson of the founder does not need to be respectful to the experienced and capable professional managers as he could not be fired and he is also destined to be your chairman one day in the future?
 
What I like about a professionally managed MNC such as Starwood is everyone has an equal chance to be a Vice President, a division president, or even the CEO of the company. I believe it is that notion of equal opportunity that allows us to recruit and retain the best talent. It also encourage everyone in the organization to give it their best and not focus their time and energy in managing upward alone. The Starwood Cares program we started 12 years ago is meant to take this concept to a much higher level. We wanted everyone who worked in the division to feel that this is your company and your division. And to do that, we all need to care for each other, care for our guests/customers and communities where we operate in.
 
Many of you probably have observed that in my natural self, I am actually more patient and respectful to the junior associates than the senior colleagues. I was a bus boy and then promoted to a waiter in my college days with a Howard Johnson and then the Parker House Hotel in Boston. I always remember how important it is for the restaurant manager to treat me well and with dignity before I could put on a big smile to talk to a guest or told my friends that I had a great day at work. I know how it felt and therefore would not want other junior associates at Starwood to feel otherwise. I wanted everyone in the management rank to feel and do the same. Starwood Cares is indeed to systematically deliver that division management culture.
 
You may want to know that in this leadership transition, we have selected a new leadership team in Asia Pacific not purely on their business acumen, but also on their commitment and ability to extend and even take our Starwood Cares culture to a higher level. Francis Tan and Claudia Albalaa, who were instrumental in designing and executing the program in the last decade are totally committed to continue the mission, and further enhancing it through the more advance modules, not the least is the Starwood Career. I also know that Stephen, Qian Jin and Lothar are equally committed to do so.
 
As I will continue to consult with the new leadership team on the future of this great division, I am sure that the Starwood Care culture will continue to flourish further as well!
 
 
Miguel

A Short Note From The Editor

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Dear Friends of Starwood Cares,
 
 
Welcome to the second issue of Living Starwood Cares in 2012! We are now well into Quarter 2 of the financial year, and this exciting issue will be full of heartwarming stories of associates recognized for living out the Starwood Cares culture in their daily lives.
 
 
 
 
 
The St. Regis Singapore was all abuzz with anticipation on 11 April 2012, the long awaited night of the Divisional Awards presentation ceremony. The gala dinner was a colourful burst of diversity and culture as the top management of the Asia Pacific region partied it up with representatives and winners from the properties in our division. A highlight of the night was the Long Service Award, as we got to watch our very own Senior Leaders get recognized for all their contributions over the years.  In their speeches they gave great advice to associates about all their learnings and takeaways from their Starwood journeys.
 
Of course, it was an especially meaningful night for Starwood Cares as the President’s Award was given to the most Outstanding Care for Associates, Guests, Business, Community, Talent developer, and Team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your submissions and continuous support for Starwood Cares.
 
 
Riding on the theme of Caring Moments, do not miss the moving Caring Moments winner stories that we have curated this quarter, as our wonderful associates all over Asia Pacific share their adventures and examples of Care. Their touching stories are sure to move you to follow their lead in personifying the Starwood Cares for all the different stakeholders in your Starwood Journey.
 
 
The Butler team at the St. Regis Osaka did all that they can to ensure one of their guests’ marriage proposal was a huge success
 
 
Be in the know about all the Happenings that have been taking place at properties in Asia Pacific, as properties go green and taste “Spring”, and many fascinating ceremonies and launches thrown in honour of Starwood Careers, and Starwood Cares.
 
Kitchen & Sales departments making their creative Green hats at their Go GREEN launch - Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling.
 
 
Starwood Careers Season 1 Loaded and Launched at W Retreat Koh Samui
 
 
Enrich yourself in Ideas and Resources, where you can find out all the dos and don’ts about giving advice, and learn from the best of our very own about how to pursue your dreams
 
As Margaret Fuller rightly sums it up, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader”.  I wish you all the best in bettering yourselves!
 
 
Francis Tan
Vice President
Talent Management & Organization Development
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts
 

 

A Short Note From The Editor

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Dear Friends of Starwood Cares,

Welcome to the first issue of Living Starwood Cares in 2012! This issue will continue to showcase the many inspiring stories of our associates living the Starwood Cares culture and sharing their journey in Starwood Careers.

A year ago, Starwood Careers made its debut in Asia Pacific. To date, we have 127 hotels across Asia Pacific rolling out Starwood Careers tracks for more than 2,000 associates. I am sure many of our associates have felt the thrills of witnessing the journey of their own career growth over the past year. Take a look at these fantastic Starwood Careers launches that are happening in our hotels.

Direct Managers Training at The Westin Mumbai Garden City – All Set to Develop Talent!

Cake cutting at Starwood Careers Launch - The Westin Gurgaon and The Westin Sohna

Thank you for the submissions of the many touching Caring Moments stories that have deeply impacted on our associates, guests, business and community. Let us continue to feel the Caring spirit of our Associates from the Caring Moments Winning Stories, as each and every story shares a unique experience and exemplary behaviors of our associates living the Starwood Cares values.

As the Sheraton Brand saying goes, "Life is better when shared"! – Delivering Coal Briquettes to the Community – Team from Sheraton Incheon Hotel

A special highlight to note, the nomination for the prestigious Starwood Cares President’s Awards is now open. We look forward to see the submission of your best Caring Moments stories over the year. Please click here for more information.

Keep a look out for exciting Happenings that have been taking place at properties in Asia Pacific such as the Talent Development and Culture Manager Orientation that took placed at the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel recently. There is a shift of transiting of this role from the traditional Training Manager to the Talent Development & Culture Manager role, given the changing needs of the business and what is expected of this critical role at properties.

TDC Team from the various Indochina properties with their two trainers at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.

Also, not to be missed is the short autobiography of Mr. Josef Dolp, Managing Director of the Sheraton Macau, as he shares his inspirational story on his Starwood Journey. Be encouraged by his story of growth in Starwood, as well as his words of wisdom and advice to all Associates.

“As you sail through life, don’t avoid storms and rough waters. Just let it pass, just sail. Always remember, calm seas never make skillful sailors.” – Josef Dolp

Check out some interesting reads in Ideas and Resources, where you can find out how to create loyal customers and learn to avoid some of the common mistakes hotels make with review websites. I hope everyone will gain new perspectives and insights to apply in various aspects of your work and life with Starwood!

We hope that this issue will motivate everyone to strive harder and have fun in your Starwood Journey in the year ahead. Make a difference and share your favorite articles and stories with your team to spread the Starwood Cares spirit. Enjoy Reading!

Francis Tan
Vice President
Talent Management & Organization Development
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts

From Miguel's Desk

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Dear Colleagues,

2011 was a terrific year for Starwood, with 112 new hotel deals signed and 80 new hotels opened. Over the year, we have also captured market share from many of our competitors and have managed to sustain our strong reputation among many owners, customers and guests. Our brands now make up the world’s best high end hotels and are attracting elite travelers from all over the globe. All this was achieved thanks to everyone who lived up to our strong culture of playing as a team. It is exactly this culture and spirit that inspires others and sets us apart from our competition.

Riding on the high momentum of 2011, we are now looking to open 57 new hotels in Asia Pacific in 2012. With more hotel openings, it is very important that our hotels continue to attract new talent and retain our best associates. What better way than to do so through the use of our Starwood Careers system!

Starwood Careers was launched one year ago as a Care for Associate initiative for our associates’ career growth. It serves as our main platform and strategy to ‘bubble up talents’, enforcing our business strategy of “Utilizing Talents at all levels” and to “Win with Talent”. Starwood Careers provides opportunities for all levels of associates to be equipped with skills and knowledge to be ready for the next position. Today, I am very proud to say that it has been a year since the launch of Starwood Careers, and we have 127 hotels rolling out Starwood Careers for our Associates in Asia Pacific.

We look forward to the many hotel openings in 2012, and I also believe that all of us need to continue to take pride in serving our guests. Together, we should put in our best effort to delight our guests at every hotel, in every possible way.

Continuing to take the lead in innovation and lifestyle experiences, SPG has also recently launched a suite of new enhancements and distinct personal benefits that appeal to our most frequent guests. Standout benefits now include our innovative, dedicated ambassador service, lifetime status and a first-of-its-kind 24 hour check in. With this transformation of SPG, we are indeed changing the game in hotel loyalty programs.

As we move to mark many new and exciting challenges in the year ahead, let us press on to build new peaks, live up to our culture and deliver excellence beyond expectations.

Miguel Ko
Chairman & President
Starwood Asia Pacific

 

 

 

 

A Short Note from The Editor

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Dear Friends of Starwood Cares,

Warm greetings to everyone!

Quarter 3 was an exciting time in Starwood Asia Pacific, with many Starwood Careers events at properties and other initiatives. This issue of Living Starwood Cares will feature these recent events, and Starwood Cares stories which impact not only our own Associates and business, but also guests and the community.

Starwood Careers made its debut in South Asia region in September with a Talent Developer Certification Workshop. Talent Developers in the region were introduced to Starwood Careers and discussed how to best implement it for their hotel. At the same time, properties in China, Indochina, Pacific and South East Asia have all commenced Starwood Careers tracks in the hotels and Associates are excited at the opportunity to prepare them for the next stage of their careers.

 

Also, take a look at this quarter’s winners of Caring Moments Awards, which each and every story shares a different aspect and angle to the four pillars of Starwood Cares: Care for Associates, Care for Guest, Care for Business and Care for Community.

You ought not to miss the short autobiography of Harris Chan, Regional Vice President of Operations, China and how he has been Growing with Starwood and What Makes Starwood so special in this heart.

On a special note, we would like to say a special word of encouragement to our Associates whose families and homes are affected by the flood in Thailand. We wish you a fast recovery, also to thank you for your effort in keeping our properties safe from the flood.

We hope that this issue will provide you with a lot of insights, ideas and stories to serve as a good source of inspiration and energy for everyone. Please do not hesitate to share your favourite article or story with your team.

Enjoy Reading!

Francis Tan
Vice President
Talent Management & Organization Development
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts

 

From Miguel's Desk

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Dear Starwood Colleagues,

This quarter, we have much to celebrate with many exciting news and happenings in Starwood!

In the month of November, Starwood in Asia Pacific will witness the opening of our 200th hotel and resort. This marks an important milestone for our Journey in widening Starwood’s footprint in Asia Pacific with plans to reach 210 hotels by this year end, and over 320 hotels by 2014. As the largest luxury and upper upscale hotel company in Asia-Pacific and the fastest growing division in Starwood, we are certainly the most exciting and dynamic company in the region!

Also, despite an uncertain global economy, we had a solid performance in Q3, 2011 earnings, where Starwood continues to Own the Guest and outperform our competition. Our collective efforts enabled us to beat our investors’ expectations, with EBITDA of $241M and EPS of $0.42 cents. Importantly, this sets us up to start 2012 in great shape.

As important, we are focused on the future and defining what’s next in the hospitality business. We recently introduced 300 Starwood leaders to Global Personalization at Starwood – GPS – which we see as the next game changing innovation from Starwood.  The concept of personalization has been rooted in the hospitality business for centuries. GPS will allow us to connect with guests on their own terms, in and outside of their stay. It enables our Associates to anticipate guest needs and deliver tailored experiences at their fingertips.

Having such growth and performance required the dedication and hard work of a great team of associates and I am proud to have the Best Team with us now to continue to Own the Peak. With the launch of Starwood Careers, we aim to continue to develop our associates for their highest potential and recruit the right people for our ever growing no. of hotels in Asia Pacific.

In a nutshell, Starwood in Asia Pacific is gaining good traction to "Own the Peak". It is Our Time and with such tremendous growth now, you are in the right place in Asia Pacific. We couldn’t have done it without your contribution to achieve such confidence and loyalty from our guests, as well as continue to perform beyond expectation for our stakeholders.

Let us continue to in our Journey to Own Q4 for a terrific 2011!

Miguel Ko
Chairman & President
Starwood Asia Pacific
 

A Short Note from The Editor

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Dear Friends of Starwood Cares,

Warm greetings and hope that you have been enjoying every day with Starwood!

Once again, a new issue of Living Starwood Cares is published to feature recent events in Asia Pacific division and present Starwood Cares stories.

I would like to express my thanks to all properties who submitted stories for Caring Moments and Happenings @ Starwood. Each of them sincerely tells an inspiring story about an exemplary personality and his or her laudable acts. On behalf of Living Starwood Cares team, I wish to show gratitude to all nominators who recognized these good case practices and put forth for sharing; and of course, the Associates who have been living Starwood Cares spirit. You can refer to this link for all the winning stories of this issue.

 

Many of you might have known that we hosted Divisional Conference 2011, a grand event for Starwood Asia Pacific, in June. Among the many sessions within the conference, our AP Team of RVPs shared their personal Starwood Journeys and Careers. This was a big hit with the audience at the Conference. Please click here to get to know your RVPs’ Starwood Journeys and Careers.
 

 

The Starwood Cares President’s Awards garnered many nominations and excitement this year with the presence of our senior leadership teams. Click here to view some photos taken from Gala Dinner and to know the winners of Starwood Cares President’s Awards 2011. Remember to congratulate them for being exemplary Starwood Cares ambassadors. Many stories of the nominees have been featured in our latest Caring Moment Book (Volume 3).

 

 
Over the past few months, various hotels have launched Starwood Careers in their hotels with a lot of interesting launch ideas and practices. Take a look at some of the innovative ideas. With such an enthusiastic start, we are confident that many individuals can look forwards to more rewarding careers with Starwood; and in turn, building our talent pool.

 

With so many beneficial reads in this issue, do take some time to explore the articles.

Happy reading!

Francis Tan
Vice-President
Talent Management & Organization Development
Starwood Asia Pacific
 

From Miguel's Desk

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Warm Greetings to All!

It was great seeing so many of our leadership at our recent Starwood Asia Pacific Divisional Conference 2011 in Bangkok. The Conference is a great success and we hope that you have enjoyed meeting new colleagues, renew old ties, feel the collective power of Starwood and the pulse of a dynamic Division; plus the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

Other than critical insights from the speakers, the Conference also provide a great opportunity for us to award and recognize our well-deserved Associates and hotels who have been working so hard to bring Asia Pacific Division to great heights and also for our Starwood Cares President’s Awards Winners, living out the values of Starwood Cares.
Another area that I am much encouraged is how our Conference delegates feel about Starwood. Based on a simple question: “What makes Starwood special to you?” we received many interesting insights. A very high percentage (61.64%) commented on how they appreciate our Starwood culture and the opportunities to develop in Starwood. It goes to show that our continuing effort to nurture our culture and talents through Starwood Cares and Careers is very important.

Most of all, we want you to feel very connected as a team and filled with pride we share as a Starwood family member. For those Associates who are not able to join us, your leaders will or should have been shared with you their inspiration and key messages from this conference or from the What’s Hot broadcast specially filmed in our home ground.

As you have seen in the news lately, our Senior Leadership Team from corporate headquarters relocated to Asia Pacific for a month which is unprecedented for any global company. This shows the great emphasis and impact that Asia Pacific is making and we are certainly moving towards Path to Peak with a strong second quarter 2011 earnings and projected 30 hotel openings in AP the remaining months to come. This is an exciting time to be in Starwood Asia Pacific!

To sum up, we have generated terrific results in the quarter and are on track to outperform the competition for another year. I believe that we are all reinvigorated and have gained a stronger conviction on where we are heading as a Company. Thus, in line with the theme of the Conference - 'Own The Peak, Own The Future' – let us continue this Journey of living our Promises and navigate to a promising future!

Miguel Ko
Chairman & President
Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels & Resorts
 

A Short Note from The Editor

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Dear Friends of Starwood Cares,

Warm greetings and hope that you had a good start to the year!

We are extremely excited and proud of the official launch of Starwood Careers! This launch will mark a new chapter of our Starwood Cares Journey and further enhances our commitment in developing talents.

Starwood Careers is a Career & Talent Development system that provides structured developmental tracks for all associates and was created with all associates in mind. The aim of Starwood Careers is to provide a platform of opportunities for all associates who are willing, ready and selected to progress further in their careers within Starwood.

With the launch of Starwood Careers, a series of Talent Development Leader Hub Trainings are being steadily introduced to Asia Pacific. The first Hub Training was held in Sheraton Guilin Hotel and it was a very successful session. Here are some pictures which we would like to share with you.

Click here for previews of the Starwood Careers Hub Session

Every issue, we will chose the best associates whom we feel have best demonstrated the Starwood Cares culture and will present them with Caring Moment Awards in recognition of their great exemplary behavior.

Click here to view the winning stories for Caring Moments Quarter 1.

With that, we would like your support to nominate your best associates / colleagues who have been living the Starwood Cares culture consistently throughout the year for the annual Starwood Cares President’s Awards. The President’s Awards represent the highest recognition and appreciation for our associates that have brought great contributions and performance in our workplace with the Starwood Cares values.

Click here to download the nomination forms.

It is also our pleasure to be able to feature Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice-President of South East Asia in Profiles and Personalities. His enduring journey with Starwood is truly inspirational for all our associates.

Click here to know what motivation he has that keeps him going on this journey.

A special mention of our budding writer – Magdy Anis, Managing Director of St. Regis and Four Point Lhasa who has kindly contributed two inspirational articles on decision making and taking initiatives that will change your life in Resources.

We hope you enjoy this issue! Happy Reading!

 

From Miguel's Desk

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Dear Colleagues,
 
In the upcoming months, there will be many new exciting events unfolding in Starwood Asia Pacific Division. In conjunction with that, I am pleased to announce the official launch of our Career/Talent Development program - Starwood Careers. 
 
Starwood Careers is a Care for Associate initiative for our associates’ career growth within Starwood. It serves as our main platform and strategy to ‘bubble up talents’, reinforcing our business strategy of “Utilizing Talents at all levels” and to “Win with Talent”. Starwood Careers provides opportunities for all levels of associates to be equipped with skills and knowledge to be ready for the next position. From the launch so far, we have received positive and encouraging responses from our various stakeholders. We are confident that with your support of Starwood Careers, we will be able to build a strong pipeline of talent to sustain our growth and meet the aspirations of our associates in their Starwood Journey.
 
Moving forward, it is also time to recognize the outstanding achievements of our fellow associates. Coming this June, we will be holding the Starwood Cares President’s Awards. Every year, these prestigious awards are given in recognition and appreciation of associates who have consistently demonstrated living a lifestyle of the Starwood Cares Culture. This year, the award ceremony is held in conjunction with the return of our Asia Pacific Divisional Conference in Bangkok, grace by many senior associates from our Asia Pacific hotels, as well as our corporate senior leadership who will be helping to give out the awards. It will be another memorable celebration to come and we encourage you to send your best associates who are great examples in “Owning the Peak” in many ways for our Starwood Cares culture. 
 
As we continue to take on many new and exciting challenges to “Own the Future”, let us not forget to Care for Community, that is, for our Japanese hotels and the associates. Many of our associates chose to stay back in the hotel to assist and take care of the guests after the major earthquake and after shocks. Their selfless and heroic acts are truly inspiring and symbolic to Starwood Cares. To our Japanese associates, my heart goes deeply for your loss and for your greatest courage! 
 
With that, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions and hard work thus far.
Let us continue to build new peaks and success in year 2011!
 
 
Miguel Ko
Chairman & President
Starwood Asia Pacific 
 

 

 


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