Starwood to Put 15 to 18 Hotels on Block

New York -- Starwood Hotels plans to sell 15 to 18 hotels, collectively worth up to $1 billion, as part of its strategy to rely more on hotel management and less on property ownership.

Starwood plans to sell the hotels, which it termed non-strategic, over the next year to 18 months, company executives told investors and industry reporters during a meeting here over the past two days.

Starwood has already sold more than $5 billion worth of properties over the last 18 months., including 28 hotels it sold to Host Hotels in April.

The company, which owns, manages, or franchises some 850 hotels in more than 95 countries, also plans to launch a marketing campaign for each of its eight brands. Starwood hopes to build brand loyalty by persuading customers to think of its chains as delivering distinct experiences rather than consider hotel rooms to be a commodity.

Company executives said revenue per available room, a key measure of hotel productivity, is expected to reach 9 percent to 11 percent this year, slowing to 5 percent to 7 percent thereafter through 2009.