BT: Now that Marriott and Starwood have come together, there are a number of brands in the group that seem to occupy the same segments of the market. For example, what differentiates a Four Points by Sheraton from its peers like Courtyard by Marriott?
NIELSEN: Four Points properties are designed to provide “uncomplicated comfort” so that guests have exactly what they need at their fingertips. This includes the signature Four Points, Four Comfort Bed and comfy duvet, free wireless Internet, and complimentary bottled water in all rooms. The look and feel of Four Points is relevant to today’s independent traveler; the hotels are modern and practical, but never overtly trendy.
BT: The Four Points by Sheraton brand is known by American consumers, but there is strong growth in the pipeline for international destinations which is one of the largest growth areas among Marriott family
brands. Tell us more about that.
NIELSEN: There are more than 120 signed hotels in the development pipeline, many of them overseas. This year, Melbourne, Australia received its first Four Points by Sheraton, and it represents the brand’s intention to expand across the globe. Among other Australian openings, there are also plans to open more hotels in Africa, Europe, and Asia. A new property is expected to open in Algiers, Algeria, in 2019 for example, and a hotel in Arusha, Tanzania, has just opened. The largest Four Points by Sheraton, with more than 1100 rooms, is scheduled to open in Makkah Al Naseem, Saudi Arabia, in spring 2018.
BT: The Sheraton name is so well-recognized globally, adding the “by Sheraton” to the Four Points name raises certain expectations. How does the Four Points by Sheraton brand relate to its big sister, Sheraton? Are there any design or service elements that were carried over between the two brands?
NIELSEN: The Four Points by Sheraton and Sheraton guests are different in many ways. However the similarity between the brands lies in the approach to time-honored hospitality, which both brands deliver.
BT: The Best Brews program is a unique concept that is quite popular with your guests. What is it exactly and what can guests at participating Four Points properties expect to experience during their stay?
NIELSEN: Best Brews is a signature Four Points initiative that gives guests an opportunity to sample local beers. Each property serves craft and regional beers produced by breweries within a specified radius of the hotel. What makes these beers unique is that they are chosen based on taste, popularity, quality and only served regionally, which provides a great opportunity for busy travelers to sample a bit of the local custom even if they are too busy to leave the hotel.