By Arun Sudhaman
LONDON: The hotel giant that owns the Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels and Le Meridien brands is poised to hand a major pan-EMEA PR brief to Fleishman-Hillard, following a keenly-contested pitch.
The Holmes Report understands that Starwood Hotels and Resorts is currently concluding contracts with Fleishman-Hillard to handle overall PR strategy across the region and its nine brands. The brief is estimated in the six-figure range, and it is believed that as many has 10 agencies took part in the pitch.
Fleishman-Hillard UK director Emma Wiseman confirmed that talks between the agency and Starwood were underway.
“We are talking to Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ EAME division about a newly created PR agency role supporting a number of key markets in the region,” said Wiseman. “At this stage, more specific details of what this might look like are to be confirmed but we are hopeful of moving this forward.”
The account is understood to cover corporate and consumer PR, hubbed out of London. Starwood currently works with a number of agencies on a brand and market basis in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The decision to appoint an agency can be seen as evidence of Starwood’s goal to raise its overall profile. The company recently announced plans to open a further 50 hotels across EMEA by 2012, adding to the 240 that it currently owns, operates or franchises.
The Middle East is seen as particular priority for the company, with an expansion target of 40 percent by 2015. Other brands that Starwood has brought to the EMEA region include The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, St Regis, Aloft and ElementSM.
Representatives from Starwood declined to comment.