Sheraton to offer free night at 86 hotels

October 1, 2009 8:15:52 AM PDT
One hotel chain is hoping to help business by offering rooms for free. Sheraton Hotels will offer thousands of guests one free night's stay at any of its newly renovated hotels in the U.S. and Canada to highlight a $6 billion revitalization of the companies facilities.

The offer covers taxes, fees and surcharges for one night.

The free rooms will be available to the first customers who register on Sheraton's Web site from October 6 - 9.

Guests who are too late to get the free night will receive a coupon for a room discount.

For more information, please visit: www.sheraton.com/freenight

The deal is available for overnight stays on Oct. 23 and will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis through a company Web site. About 40 percent of the brand's North American locations will participate in the promotion.

Additional nights and services will cost extra, but the offer will cover the cost of taxes, fees and surcharges, said Hoyt Harper, senior vice president of brand management at Sheraton's parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

About 2,100 rooms will be available to those who register on Sheraton.com/freenight. Guests will be able to book rooms on the site from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9.

Sheraton, which is owned by White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood, hasn't performed as well as its more posh Starwood-owned siblings W, Westin and St. Regis hotels. The company also acknowledges that many of its Sheraton locations had previously presented a hit-or-miss images to guests.

"In North America, we've had a pretty mixed history. We've have some great hotels and we've have some hotels that were substandard," Harper said. "This is a new beginning for the brand."

As part of the effort that was launched in 2007, Sheraton cut underperforming locations from its roster and added or renovated 70,000 Sheraton rooms around the globe. Nearly three-quarters of them were in the U.S. and Canada, and almost half of the brand's 203 North American locations have been renovated through the effort.

Morningstar analyst Michelle Chang said such an undertaking is vital for hotels, which must constantly update themselves risk losing customers for good.

"If a hotel company doesn't continually reinvest in their properties, it's going to lose its luster, and it's going to look run down," she said. "And so you have to keep reinvesting in the property to keep it fresh and keep it new and keep it updated."

Starwood shares climbed 32 cents to $32.98 in midday trading Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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