Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc was incorporated in 1980 under the laws of Maryland. It operates as a hotel and leisure company. The Company conducts its hotel and leisure business both directly and through its subsidiaries. It has 1,222 properties providing approximately 354,200 rooms in approximately 100 countries and 180,400 employees under its management at its owned and managed properties, vacation ownership resorts and corporate offices. The Company manage and operate its hotel business in three separate hotel segments: the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East ("EAME"), and Asia Pacific. Its vacation ownership and residential business is a separate segment. It franchises its Luxury Collection, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element brands and generally derive licensing and other fees from franchisees based on a fixed percentage of the franchised hotel's room revenue, as well as fees for other services, including centralized reservations, loyalty program, national and international advertising and sales and marketing. The Company's brands name includes St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points, Aloft, and Element. Some of its competitors are private management firms, several are national and international chains that own and operate their own hotels, as well as manage hotels for third-party owners and sell VOIs, under a variety of brands that compete directly with its brands. It is subject to taxation at the federal, state or provincial and local levels in the U.S. and various other countries and jurisdictions.