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Starwood Debuts the Ultimate New Travel App on iOS7

Stamford, Conn. – September 18, 2013 –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.”

App Highlights:

  • 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.

    About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,169 properties in nearly 100 countries and 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element®. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit  www.starwoodhotels.com .

    About Starwood Preferred Guest
    Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) is an innovative, award-winning frequent traveler program that unites each of Starwood’s 9 distinctive hotel brands and includes more luxury hotels in more destinations around the world.  SPG reinvented the hospitality loyalty landscape when it launched in 1999 with its breakthrough policy of no blackout dates, and over the years has continued its tradition of innovation with enhancements such as Cash + Points, SPG MomentsSM, and most recently Your24TM and SPG LifetimeTM.  In addition to Free Night Awards at over 1,100 hotels and resorts and Award Flights on over 350 major airlines without blackout dates, the Starpoints® that members earn through SPG can be redeemed for access like to no other to experiences in music, sports and the arts through SPG Moments.  SPG also has an ongoing commitment to digital innovation to meet the needs of today’s connected global traveler – from the SPG app for iPhone that utilizes state-aware technology to create a more personalized hotel stay to Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee on SPG.com, to SPG’s integration within various social media platforms.  Offerings such as these have helped SPG build a passionate member base among the world’s most frequent travelers.  Learn more at spg.com and spg.com/moments and connect with us on twitter.com/spg, instagram.com/spg, facebook.com/spg, foursquare.com/spg, pinterest.com/spglife, and youtube.com/spg.

 

Article Publish Date : 09/18/2013