Starwood Sets the Bar High for Mobile-first Hospitality

October 31, 2014

By Meghan Medlock, senior director of committees and conferences, ANA

Starwood Hotels & Resorts owns popular hotels like the W and Sheraton and has been extremely successful in acquiring new members and retaining loyal ones over the last several years. Two keys to their success have been to constantly stay ahead of technology innovation in hotels and to make the mobile experience a priority. Mobile is omnipresent with their prospects and customers and will continue to grow. As such, their mobile bookings are growing five times faster than web bookings did ten years ago, and mobile accounts for 42% of Starwood’s site visits, up from 16% just two years ago. Connectivity, especially via mobile channels, is a great chance to engage with travelers. Global travelers.

Starwood is the first in the hotel industry to leverage state-aware technology that can connect with guests in real-time with relevant offers. The company also communicates with customers via SMS and Starwood’s customer contact centers stay on top of and respond to social media in real-time. In fact, just last year, the company engaged in almost 3 million social media interactions with its guests – that’s over 8,200 per day on average across all of their hotel properties.

Starwood has also innovated globally with mobile. For example, they launched a South American iPad app that offers consumers a description of the hotel and the location to provide a “lay of the land” of sights, the neighborhood, shops, etc., that consumers can explore on their mobile devices before booking a trip. They have also released an Android app for Chinese consumers that allows guests to better organize their travel experience and is modified to reflect Chinese culture. All of their apps are available in eight different languages.

This is just the beginning of what they have accomplished in the last few years and how they will continue to evolve and innovate with the “mobile first, mobile everywhere” consumer. They are piloting smart check-in which offers keyless check-in via smartphones, as a “natural progression” in the hotel customer experience. They are also experimenting with how to use “beacons” to enhance the experience. Smart check-in, though, is just the beginning of their digital and mobile innovation process as they integrate these platforms with revenue management systems, big data engines, and a cohesive set of reservations and loyalty systems. 

Starwood Hotels & Resorts will be sharing more of their mobile innovation success story at our ANA Mobile First, Mobile Everywhere Pre- Conference presented by MediaVest, December 1 in New York City! The Mobile First, Mobile Everywhere Conference will take place the following day, December 2, in New York City.  At this premiere industry event, you will learn how top marketers are staying ahead of the curve in a mobile first, mobile everywhere world. Walmart, Heineken, Timex, Lowe’s and more will be speaking! Click here to see the outstanding line up. Register now because space is limited! 

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