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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Starwood is heavily focused on improving customers’ digital brand experience. The iPad app, the first of several expected mobile upgrades, proves the hotel group understands its customers’ needs.
Its introduction comes alongside the launch of Apple’s new operating system, iOS7, and joins SPG’s already-released iPhone and Android smartphone apps.
Starwood’s mobile bookings are growing at annual rate of 1000 percent, but the hotel group will not reveal what percentage of bookings currently happen on mobile versus desktops and phones.
Part Browsing, Part Action
The app is visually stunning and includes a mix of curated content for property browsing, real-time social updates, and one-click booking. One of the neatest features included in the launch is a Foursquare map that shows guests restaurants and events happening near their hotel.
The main features of the app are described below and with visuals in the slideshow above.
- The “explore” feature on the app encourages users to flip through more than 100 Member Favorite Resorts.
- The “SPG life” section of the app allows members to access all account information includes their points, available rewards, and elite benefits. Users can also see a real-time filter of Instagram photos tagged with the #spglife hashtag.
- The app goes into “stay mode” 48 hours before a guests’ arrival. The hotel’s information is moved to the front and center of the app to help guests find the information they need quickly.
- A calendar with one-click booking for Starwood’s more than 1,100 properties is always one swipe away on the left side of the iPad screen.
- There is a section for each of SPG’s nine brands with photos and upcoming events that highlight what each brand offers guests.
Starwood’s websites and booking platforms are projected to receive more traffic from mobile devices than PCs in 2014, reveals Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest & Digital.
This is the first time that Starwood will launch an app in English and Chinese at the same time, a move that the hotel group hopes will symbolize their focus on global travelers.
Starwood’s mobile team again partnered with Bottle Rocket, who also developed its SPG iPhone app.