Starwood Hotels launches SPG App for iPad, ready for iOS 7
It is interesting to find a hotel chain not only publicizing its new app, but specifically saying that it is a “native iOS 7” app. My how we’ve progressed from the time when we had some media gurus discouraging companies from developing for the iPad, even returning their tablets saying they see no use for it. Well, sadly, those gurus are still consulting for the newspaper industry – but everyone else has moved on.
STAMFORD, Conn.–Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), today introduced an innovative and inspiring new app for iPad as well as an exciting new design to support iOS 7. The SPG App for iPad joins the SPG App for iPhone, extending SPG’s digital suite of products and gives today’s connected traveler a visually rich, personalized experience on every step of their journey from imaginative destination exploration to the details of their trip before, during and after a visit. Each new, native iOS 7 app builds on the operating system’s latest features and designs and provides guests with the beautiful, immersive travel experience Starwood is known to deliver.
“Travel is inherently mobile and the rapid advancements in technology enable us to extend the personalized experience guests receive in our hotels to their most personal devices,” said Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President, Starwood Preferred Guest & Digital. “Following our success with the SPG App for iPhone, we built the SPG App for iPad using insights we have gained from our members. The relationships we’ve built with our guests put us in a unique position to lead and win with digital by delivering the experiences they seek.”
Today’s travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to search for and explore destinations, as well as book rooms and other travel services. Industry wide, 40% of travel searches occur on mobile devices up from 25% in 2012. Starwood’s mobile bookings are growing at an annual rate of 1000% –five times greater than the annual growth rate of the web channel 10 years ago. The new Starwood apps deliver both the convenience and speed mobile travelers desire while highlighting the SPG lifestyle.
SPG App for iPad:
The new SPG App for iPad app pushes the boundaries of current hospitality apps by uniting Starwood’s unique focus on design and photography, as well as both curated and real-time social content into one mobile experience. Alongside SPG’s iPhone and Android apps, the new SPPG App for iPad provides a seamless guest experience, simplifying and enriching both business and leisure travel.
Starwood’s digital design team leveraged iPad’s capacity for high resolution, immersive photography to create an editorial-like experience akin to content one might expect from high-end travel or shelter magazines.
“When we developed our iPhone App, we were focused on ease and speed, envisioning travelers engaging with the App with ‘one eye and one thumb’ in transit,” said Clay Cowan, Vice President, Global Digital for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “We created our iPad App with a deeper, more leisurely experience in mind. We’re literally inviting people to ‘lean back’ and get lost in our destinations and hotels through fantastic photography showcasing great design, amazing locations and the unique experiences one can expect across our portfolio of nine lifestyle brands and 1,100 hotels in 100 countries.”
- Explore: The “explore” section inspires travelers to dream of more vacation time with a rich mix of curated content including the more than 100 Member Favorite Resorts awarded by fellow SPG members and dynamic content generated through social interactions
- Using our guest interactions through social media, the SPG app highlights the hottest venues, as reviewed by previous guests, around the hotel right on the map embedded in the app. So when you are far from home, you can eat, drink, and travel like a local.
- SPG life: This section of the app is a hub for learning about Starwood Preferred Guest’s many benefits. Here, members can access up-to-date account information including point balance, upcoming stay information and elite benefits. Members can also take a peek at all the exclusive benefits SPG offers its members like a virtual backstage tour at one of SPG’s Hear the Music, See the World performances, soar with trapeze lessons with Cirque du Soleil or take a seat in the SPG Luxury Suite at the US Open. Users can bid on SPG Moments like these and see Instagram photos from events and live the #spglife within the app.
- Fast and easy personalized booking: A secure area stores credit card information streamlining booking to just three taps. All of Starwood’s more than 1100 properties in 100 countries are represented with full detail with ratings and reviews from verified members who have stayed at the hotel. Perfect for researching your next escape.
- Brand sections: Each of SPG’s nine brands have stunning visual content, designed to highlight each lifestyle brand’s unique attributes and social activities as well as give travelers a realistic representation of what each destination provides.
“We strive to offer our guests a great experience that is unique to them both inside our hotels and at every touch point,” said Holdren. “The experience we created with our iPad and iPhone apps combine the insights of our guests with the magic of our design-led brands. We build our apps on the newest tech in order to exceed the needs of our digitally connected guests.”
Starwood’s mobile team partnered with Bottle Rocket to design and develop the SPG apps—resulting in smart, intuitive navigation that seamlessly integrates SPG and hotel-specific branding into the iPad’s famously user-friendly interface. The SPG App for iPad will launch in both English and Chinese and will be updated with additional versions and multiple languages. The app, currently available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad or at www.spg.com/mobileapps, is the latest development in SPG’s evolution into a hyper-personalized guest services platform.