ASFONA 2012 Associate Board Members Meeting Addresses Outlook for North American Hotel Market

STR research and continued growth of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ brands indicate positive outlook in 2012

The North American hotel market continues its steady climb out of the economic slump of the past 5 years, according to research presented at the first ASFONA (Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners – North America) Associate Board Members meeting of 2012. The meeting, which was held at The St. Regis Atlanta in mid-January, was attended by a number of Starwood senior corporate management, together with hotel owners, franchisees and hotel management company executives, as well as ASFONA associate members representing some of the most highly respected suppliers to the hotel industry.
Bobby Bowers, vice president of operations for Smith Travel Research (STR), opened the meeting with an overview of the North American lodging industry, including data tracking market conditions over the past 5 years, with a specific focus on the top 15 markets in the U.S.A. The research showed improved industry REVPAR growth in the U.S., which experienced an 8.2% gain in 2011, up from 5.5% in 2010. Other positive indicators in the U.S. market in 2011 included a 3.7% gain in ADR. 
 ASFONA’s Owner Board Members confirmed these industry findings, reporting that owners, franchisees and hotel management companies with Starwood brands in North America experienced impressive REVPAR and occupancy growth in 2011.
“Hotels with Starwood brands have shown excellent results overall and will continue to benefit from the strength and support of one of the world’s leading hotel organizations. With steady market improvement annually over the past several years, the hotel industry is on a positive trajectory and although some economic challenges do continue, there are enough indicators to be extremely optimistic for healthy industry growth in North America for 2012,” said John Shingler, ASFONA president.
Additional presentations by senior Starwood brand management executives at the meeting demonstrated the strength and excellence of each of Starwood’s nine global brands, including their respective target market demographics, design rationale, guest preferences and unique characteristics of each brand within the portfolio. In addition Starwood’s chief global supply chain officer provided the group with remarkable insight into the strategy associated with managing the organization’s global procurement operation.
ASFONA’s philanthropic initiatives were also apparent, as Pam Landwirth of Give Kids the World and John Belden, CEO of Davidson Hotels & Resorts, teamed up to enlist the support of the board members to raise funds for renovations needed at the 70-acre Central Florida resort village dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
On the second day of the meeting, attendees heard an informative presentation on the global cotton market, which explained the factors leading to volatility in linen prices, its impact on the hotel industry, and possible strategies to control costs and maximize guest satisfaction. A round table discussion by ASFONA’s honorary board members and suppliers concluded the session.
“Through relationships with our Associate Members, the ASFONA Owners Board of Directors continues to secure pertinent new industry and marketplace information to provide its members with enhanced industry knowledge that can help them create additional operational efficiencies,” stated Shingler.
For more information on ASFONA, including the 2012 ‘Areas of Focus’ to be addressed with Starwood, please see News Updates and Board Projects at
Editor’s Note: Electronic images are available by contacting Andrea Roland at Plan A Public Relations & Marketing, Inc.
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About ASFONA – Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners – North America 
The mandate of ASFONA is to provide an effective line of communication between Starwood and its franchisees, owners and hotel management companies doing business in North America. The association provides Starwood the opportunity to seek the council and opinion of the franchise and ownership community on policy and standard operating procedures that can influence the owners’ businesses and the cost of doing business.

ASFONA’s Board of Directors is charged with providing the leadership required to build strong working relationships between Starwood and its franchisees and owners. The primary goal of ASFONA is to ensure that all ownership groups, and specifically those in membership, have a solid platform upon which both ASFONA and Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ management can work together in building the best and most successful brands in the hotel industry. For more information, please visit