Starwood's Second Westin in Panama - Analyst Blog

Tuesday, January 15 2013 @ 05:25 PM UTC

Contributed by: Don Winner

By - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. recently unveiled a Westin branded property, The Westin Panama, in Panama. Starwood opened this property in association with Bern Hotels & Resorts; and this new property marks the opening of second Westin branded property and seventh Starwood branded hotel in Panama.

Previously Bern Hotels & Resorts was involved in developing and managing two other Starwood branded property in Panama.

Strategically positioned at Costa del Este, one of the most important financial and business hubs in Panama, the new hotel lies in proximity to Panama City and Tocumen International Airport. The Westin Panama features 218 rooms, which includes 45 suites and 14,460 square feet of meeting space.

Starwood has set a new trend in hotel design with its Westin brand, which embodies modern design and peaceful ambience. The brand offers signature retail services including the Heavenly Bed, SuperFoodsRX and WestinWorkout Studio among others.

Owing to the saturation in the U.S market, major hoteliers are exploring growth opportunities abroad. The current trend shows that economic strength has been shifting from the developed to the rapidly growing economies. Latin America is one of those regions to promise solid growth going forward.

In order to beef up its Latin American presence, the company has included approximately 2,500 guestrooms in its portfolio in the last two years. The company's Westin brand continues to be a star performer in the region. Currently, the company possesses 12 Westin branded property across five Latin American countries namely Panama, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Starwood Hotels competes with major hoteliers like InterContinental Hotels Group ( IHG ), Hyatt Hotels Corporation ( H ) and Marriott International Inc. ( MAR ).

We currently have a long-term Neutral recommendation for the stock. Starwood currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Editor's Comment: It seems like there are new hotels opening up in Panama, practically on a daily basis. All of this new inventory has to be saturating the market, and occupancy rates will continue to drop until the floor is reached. And, that won't happen until all of the new hotels are opened and absorbed. The bottom line for consumers and travelers to Panama should translate to lower prices and better deals.

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