Westin Associates Run the Span of the World in Celebration of Global Launch of New Balance Gear Lending Program

Thousands of Westin Associates Lace Up Their Running Shoes for a Good Cause

Westin and New Balance Donate More than 15,000 Pairs of Shoes to Soles4Soul; Shoe Drive to Benefit those Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

STAMFORD, Conn.--()--Today, Westin Hotels & Resorts announced that thousands of Westin and New Balance associates around the world are participating in 5k runs to benefit Soles4Soles in celebration the global roll-out of the brand’s popular gear lending program with New Balance. Following a successful pilot program, the innovative, exclusive product loan program is now available to guests at all 190 Westin hotels worldwide, empowering more travelers to stay healthy and fit on the road. Thousands of associates at close to 75 participating Westin properties are running over 6,000 miles (more than the land mass around the world), reinforcing Westin’s ongoing commitment to making fitness convenient for travelers.

“New Balance is excited to expand its partnership with Westin to provide their health and fitness-minded guests, worldwide, with footwear, apparel, accessories and programming for an overall enhanced experience.”

From Start to Finish, Westin Is Dedicated to Making Fitness Convenient for Travelers

Today, Westin celebrates the culmination of launch runs around the world with a 5k in New York. The run will start and end at the new Westin New York Grand Central, which made its debut last month as the newest property in the brand’s portfolio, and will conclude a two week-long celebration of the New Balance gear lending global launch with 5k walks and runs in dozens of cities around the world including Boston, Munich, Toronto, San Francisco, Shanghai and Tokyo. These runs commenced at Westin hotels in each area and followed each property’s designated RunWESTIN™ 5k running map, taking associates on a scenic tour of iconic landmarks in their cities. Participating hotels also featured donation stations where associates, guests and locals dropped off gently used or new footwear which Westin will collect and donate to Soles4Souls, an organization that provides shoes to adults and children in need around the world. Upon the completion of the global runs, Westin and New Balance will donate more than 15,000 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls on behalf of all participating hotels, a portion of which will benefit those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

“We are excited to celebrate the global launch of the New Balance gear lending program by encouraging our associates to put on their running shoes for a good cause,” said Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Westin Hotels & Resorts. “Westin’s mission is to enable our guests to pursue their well-being when on the road, and our partnership with New Balance makes not only packing much easier but provides a solution for those travelers who forgot their gear or decide to work out last-minute. The program also helps us to continue to deliver on personalized experiences for our guests around the world.”

“Today’s travelers are committed to staying healthy and fit while they’re away from home and convenient access to the proper athletic equipment and programming is vital to making this happen,” said Hilary Keates, director of global marketing and brand management for New Balance. “New Balance is excited to expand its partnership with Westin to provide their health and fitness-minded guests, worldwide, with footwear, apparel, accessories and programming for an overall enhanced experience.”

Westin Celebrates Most Successful Pilot Program in the Brand’s History

The decision to expand the gear lending program with New Balance globally was driven by the unprecedented positive feedback from users of the pilot program, which launched in 10 target markets in 2010. Over two-thirds of surveyed guests stated that they would be more likely to return to a Westin because of the program. Guests also rated the gym in the top five amenities they look for in a hotel and are more likely to choose to work out with the New Balance program in place. This innovative program eliminates the hassle of packing gear, which surveyed guests listed as a key barrier to working out while traveling.

No Room for Sneakers in Your Luggage? No Worries, Pack Light and Stay Fit with Westin

For just $5, guests can borrow running shoes with disposable insoles, as well as a variety of men’s and women’s New Balance apparel including shorts, shirts and socks for men and shorts, capri pants, shirts, sports bras and socks for women.

Westin guests will also benefit from travel-specific fitness content provided by New Balance. New Balance Fitness Ambassador and Exercise TV celebrity trainer Holly Perkins developed exclusive in-room fitness and equipment-free content that includes stretching and strengthening workouts, cardio and yoga. The program includes “Wellness in Travel” tips from Perkins on nutrition and creative ways to combat jet lag and healthy living. In addition, New Balance will continue to work with individual Westin properties to enhance the current three and five-mile local area running maps. As part of the partnership, participating properties will provide guests traveling for a major athletic event, such as a marathon, with wellness amenities, including turn-down gifts with “performance/fuel” goodies for the race and “good luck” wake-up calls.

For more information on Westin Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.westin.com, Facebook or follow Westin on Twitter.

About Westin Hotels & Resorts

Westin Hotels & Resorts offers innovative programs that transform every aspect of a stay into a revitalizing experience. All Westin signature services – like the Heavenly Bed, delicious SuperFoods and WestinWORKOUT studio – have been designed with the guests’ well-being in mind. Westin hotels, with more than 190 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT). Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,128 properties in nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and ElementSM. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.westin.com

About New Balance

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is currently the only athletic shoe company that manufactures footwear in the U.S. with 25% of our U.S. footwear shipments produced at five New England facilities. The company also operates a manufacturing facility in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 4000 associates around the globe, and in 2011 reported worldwide sales of $2.04 billion. To learn more about how New Balance Makes Excellent Happen, please visit http://www.newbalance.com.

About Soles4Souls®, Clothes4Souls®, and Hope4Souls™

Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-enterprise efforts to eradicate poverty. Soles4Souls’ other two divisions, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, provide the same relief and support through clothing and other necessities. Donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.giveshoes.org, www.clothes4souls.org or www.hope4souls.org for more information.

(Note: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities regulations. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated at the time the forward-looking statements are made. These risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that our expectations will be attained or that results and events will not materially differ. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.)

Contacts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Nadeen Ayala, 203-351-2542
Nadeen.Ayala@starwoodhotels.com
or
Nancy J. Friedman PR
Jenna Newmark / Courtney Long
212-228-1500
Jenna@njfpr.com / Courtney@njfpr.com

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