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Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, known for world-class amenities and an industry-leading rewards program, wanted to take their connection with consumers to another level. The mission was to deliver a mobile experience that would live up to their consumers’ high expectations. At the same time, they needed to bring together the hotelier’s global portfolio of brands and properties into a single mobile experience reflecting Starwood’s five-star quality.



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Before merging with Marriott International, Starwood Hotels and Resorts was one of the world’s largest hoteliers, maintaining over 1,200 properties in 100 countries and employing over 180,000 employees. Iconic, industry-leading Starwood brands included Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, and 8 others, each with their own unique look and brand.

The Challenge

Uniting these individual brands and hundreds of properties in a single usable application was no easy feat. Incorporating the quality of the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program in a single mobile experience that is not only intuitive, but also loaded with all of the features guests want and expect, made the challenge even greater. The mobile experience on both iOS and Android had to serve the brands’ most loyal guests AND increase mobile bookings. Starwood needed a beautiful, elegant and comprehensive mobile experience.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts iPad screen next to people in lobby.

Our Approach

In 2011, we started by redesigning their world-renowned iPad app. We quickly followed with the creation of the iOS and Android native applications. These apps deliver a rich, intuitive experience loaded with features. The app allows SPG members to find and book, while seamlessly accessing and using their loyalty rewards. The app also provides personally and contextually relevant content, based on a user’s loyalty profile and location. Users can get to know each of Starwood’s 11 distinct hotel brands and decide where their next adventure lies. While staying with Starwood, the property shares all kinds of information with their guests through the app, from the weather and driving directions to hotel features and amenities. Members can connect to Starwood through social networking communities by checking in to destinations, sharing photos and reading insider tips. A guest’s SPG account information is always available, so they can check their Starpoints® balance and view details on upcoming and past stays.
Apple, Android, wearables showing the Starwood app

This app was recognized and applauded industry wide for the first ever creation of keyless hotel check-in and also featured by Apple in its iOS launch that year, as well as on the Apple App Store homepage for “Best New Apps.” We later integrated the Apple Watch which was also featured by Apple in its 2014 Keynote presentation.

To support the ever-growing needs of the brand, we went on to create a new type of team structure to support this important client and the industry-leading applications that were now in market. This new structure, called a Mission Control Office (MCO), is our version of a dedicated, mixed-resource model team that allows us to continuously and swiftly serve the needs of their business and the changing expectations of their most loyal customers.

W.oman's arm showing room key on apple watch
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