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Starwood boosts mobile bookings through Android app

December 12, 2012


Starwood Hotels & Resorts is extending the mobile reach of its Starwood Preferred Guest program through the release of an Android application that offers similar capabilities to its iPhone application.

The new Android app allows users to book stays at Starwood’s nine hotel brands around the world including St. Regis and The Luxury Collection, access their SPG benefits, manage their SPG accounts and connect through integrated social media. The app also provides travel information such as weather, directions and information on hotel amenities.

“Starwood is a powerful brand with more than 1,000 properties worldwide, and is a very cutting-edge company when it comes to providing its guests with easy access to customer support and booking services,” said D.M. Banks, director at DMB Public Relations, New York. “This most recent launch proves Starwood’s dedication to its tech-savvy target demographic.

“In most cases, these apps are developed to meet the large millennial demographic who are young, tech-savvy and have the money to spend on travel,” he said.

“We see this increasingly active demographic within the travel industry, and know that they are most comfortable utilizing these digital formats when planning and booking travel.”

Mr. Banks is not affiliated with Starwood, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Starwood Preferred Guest was not available to comment directly on this matter before press deadline.

Savvy travelers

The SPG app for Android is available for free on Google Play.

Android users are now able to book rooms at any Starwood brand.

Book stays with the SPG app

During their stay, users can get weather information, directions, in-room dining selections and other hotel amenities through the app.

Hotel information

Social media channels integrated on the app such as foursquare allow users to virtually check-in to the hotel during their stay.

Users can also access their SPG profile information through the app, manage their Starpoint balance and upcoming stays and review previous stays.

Account information on SPG app

In addition, the app allows members to send an email or text message reservation confirmation to others.

Starwood has seen a 300 percent increase in mobile booking revenue generated this year compared to the same time last year, per the hotel chain.

“This data is a serious indication to the future of booking travel,” Mr. Banks said. “Consumers are using smartphones to guide their travels from start to finish, whether it is for last-minute bookings, connecting to destination-related information or seeking personalized recommendations.”

No Android, no problem

The SPG app is already available on iPhone and the member program has been incorporated into the Passbook app for iOS 6.

Starwood is enabling its preferred guests to upload their member card to the Passbook application for the iPhone’s iOS 6 for instant access to account information and reservations at all nine of its brands including the St. Regis and The Luxury Collection.

Passbook lets iPhone users add their cards to the platform and see account details such as Starpoints balance, year-to-date earned nights, customer service contacts and upcoming stay details.

Users are also able to add an SPG Stay Pass to Passbook that corresponds to an upcoming hotel stay and shows a complete reservation confirmation (see story).

Also, the hotel brand is promoting the use of its mobile apps this holiday season through a fourth-quarter campaign that offers bonus rewards when consumers visit properties (see story).

“The strategy of providing these apps available on multiple devices is vital in today’s hospitality industry, as we are seeing an increase in mobile booking each season,” Mr. Banks said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York