Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. introduced its new application for iPhone and iPod Touch, which utilizes state-aware technology to create personalized guest experiences across Starwood’s nine distinct brands.
The latest development is part of Starwood’s ongoing commitment to tech innovation to meet the needs of today’s connected global traveler—for example, Starwood was the first in the industry to offer FaceTime customer service, a feature that’s built into the new SPG app. The app also includes fully integrated booking, member information, comprehensive hotel searches and travel details, customer service and social media.
A still-growing trend in the hospitality industry, Starwood’s mobile revenue has increased by more than 300 percent year-over-year, and the company has found that the patterns of travelers using mobile devices to book rooms are markedly different from those of more traditional web bookers. For instance, two-thirds of mobile bookings are within 24 hours of the stay, triple that of web bookings.
Following guest feedback and member focus groups, SPG integrated key features into the app instead of directing to an outside mobile browser, creating a faster, more user-friendly experience. New options include the ability to find hotels by airport code or map and a streamlined home screen with “tiles” that are easily tapped or swiped to access frequent requests, such as account information, upcoming stays, customer support and special offers.
The SPG app is the first in the travel industry—and one of the first apps ever—to utilize state-aware technology, creating an interface that unites all nine of Starwood’s distinct lifestyle brands and its nearly 1,100 hotels and resorts; and adjusts the app’s look, feel and content depending on whether the user is planning, en route or already checked in to a specific hotel. Starting 48-hours before a guest is scheduled to arrive at a Starwood hotel or resort, the app sends a push notification; and the “My Stay” interface becomes reflective of the specific brand and property, with home-screen access to key information such as hotel address in both English and the local language, weather, directions and hotel amenities. Once at the hotel, the guest’s stay is enhanced with integrated content such as their room number, on- and off-property dining and activity suggestions, and in-app access to social media channels such as FourSquare and Facebook.
The app also offers an “Explore” tab for discovery when users don’t have a specific destination in mind. Explore provides customized hotel recommendations based on individual preferences such as trip type (e.g., beach, city, wedding), brand, SPG category and interests.