SAN JOSE, CA and WHITE PLAINS, NY - March 5, 2001 - Hotel giant Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc (NYSE:HOT), and Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, announced today that they have formed a strategic relationship to introduce broadband technology in Starwood's hotels beginning in 2001 and that Starwood has selected Cisco as its preferred infrastructure provider for high-speed Internet access and other broadband services. This marks the first major deal inked by Starwood Technology and Revenue Systems (STARS), a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Initially, this relationship will enable Starwood to provide hotel guests with the highest quality, most secure, high-speed Internet access in the hotel industry throughout its Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, St. Regis/Luxury Collection and W hotel brands. In addition, Starwood will work with Cisco to develop new broadband-based communication and entertainment services, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), that will greatly improve guest satisfaction and enhance the customer experience.
The key components of the solution will include Cisco Long-Reach Ethernet, the Cisco Aironet Family Series of wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) products and Cisco Building Broadband Service Manager, a subscriber management platform. Although the components of Cisco's broadband technology are transparent to hotel guests, the high-speed power it provides from "touchpoints" throughout the hotel, including in-room communication, wireless services and kiosks, will accelerate the transformation of the Internet experience for hotel guests worldwide.
Starwood and Cisco today also announced that Starwood is the first hospitality venue partner for the Cisco Internet Mobile Office, an initiative that provides mobile business professionals with secure, high-speed network access from public facilities. Critical to Cisco Internet Mobile Office is the enabling Cisco Virtual Private Network technology that ensures guests of end-to-end secure access to their corporate networks from the hotel. The Internet is a constantly evolving tool that when coupled with the hospitality industry will reshape how people come together in all aspects of their stay whether for business or pleasure, in a connected hotel room or wireless-enabled conference room or other public spaces in the hotel. Mobile business professionals, in particular, will realize the power of the Internet when they can access their corporate networks from the comfort of the hotel room and now be more productive in these previously "unconnected" spaces.
"Our intent is to become the hospitality industry's technology leader, and by partnering with Cisco, the global leader in networking systems, we are that much closer to achieving this goal," says Barry Sternlicht, chief executive officer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. "Starwood will soon be synonymous with providing guests with secure, high-speed Internet access, wireless services and state-of-the-art technology wherever their travels take them."
"Cisco is looking forward to working with Starwood to provide high-speed Internet access and other communication and entertainment services to Starwood hotel guests and employees," said Charles Giancarlo, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco's Commercial and Consumer Lines of Business. "Starwood's leadership in the hospitality industry and global reach in more than 80 countries, combined with Cisco's building broadband access solution, furthers our vision of enabling travelers to reliably, securely and easily access their corporate intranets while on the move."
Starwood will conduct a pilot installation of this broadband technology at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, one of the largest properties in Starwood's portfolio with 1,750 guestrooms. The pilot will be followed by the rollout of this broadband technology throughout Starwood's more than 725 hotels around the world.
Starwood Technology and Revenue Systems (STARS) will work closely with Cisco on the broadband implementation as part of its mission to accelerate the adoption and implementation of new technologies across every aspect of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "Our long term goal is to ensure our hotels have access to the leading edge technologies that travelers use on a day-to-day basis," says Steve Hankin, president, STARS. "By working with Cisco, we ensure the best quality of service that will ultimately enable us to revolutionize our relationships with customers through new hotel technology, services, programs and partnerships."