One of the world’s most creative hotel companies is at it again. According to the Wall Street Journal, Starwood Hotels & Resorts is expected to announce next week that it has hired stylist Amanda Ross as fashion director for W Hotels.
The WSJ says the hire ends a two-year search to fill the new role. Two years! Searches for CEOs and presidents most often don’t go half that long.
The move further indicates that hotels aren’t the stuffy, snooty places they once were. Hotel executives are learning from the retail sector that it pays to keep in mind guests’ tastes at all times and to cater to their impulsive nature.
Earlier this week, HotelNewsNow.com’s Stacey Higgins wrote about how retail is crossing over into hotels. Starwood’s latest move hammers this home.
The WSJ article quotes Eva Ziegler, who can be considered a fashion plate in her own right, as saying Ross will make W more credible in its outlook on fashion and will move the brand into the right fashion circles.
I’m most certainly not a fashion expert (just take a look at my wardrobe and you’ll know that), but I do recognize smart moves when I see them. Starwood has been able to stay in the positive news column with moves like this and its announcement earlier this year that it plans to add thousands of employees during 2010.
Of course, nothing can match my personal favorite Starwood announcement. That came in March 2007 when Starwood brand Four Points by Sheraton created the position of Chief Beer Officer. I momentarily had a vision of changing jobs right then and there, but decided I might have too much experience in that department, so I let it pass.
Like any hotel company, Starwood has its challenges during a tough economic cycle like the one we’re experiencing. By choosing to be creative and forward looking, the company continues to make its entire family of brands stronger.