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Starwood Hotels targets BlackBerry audience for chain-wide mobile bookings

Consumers can access their accounts, check reservations and get directions. The application is available in BlackBerry App World.

“The new SPG app is one of several key initiatives in Starwood’s larger social media and Web strategy,” said David Godsman, vice president of global Web services at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, White Plains, NY. 

“Mobile access is increasingly important for the fast-paced lifestyles of our guests and we are committed to providing solutions across mobile platforms that enhance their experience while on the go any where in the world,” he said.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has 1,000 properties in nearly 100 countries. The company is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences, including the St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien and Sheraton.

Starwood worked with CSC to develop the application.

Here is a screen grab of the application:

Mobile booking
Guests can manage current reservations, view their Starpoints balance, check on recent account activity and connect with customer service.

Here is another screen grab of the application:

In addition, consumers can get direction and maps to the hotel from their current location.

Consumers can also access the company’s blog, which features travel trends and tips.

“I think in general it’s a good idea for a hotel to launch an app,” said Michael Burke, cofounder and president of appssavvy, New York. “From a hotel standpoint they should decide if it’s the app is more of a customer loyalty program or if it’s to drive more foot traffic into the hotel.”

“What these apps might not do is drive awareness, that’s where they should make sure to focus on,” he said.

Mr. Burke is not affiliated with Starwood. He is just a mobile application industry expert.

Starwood members who log in by Sept. 30, will be entered for a chance to win 100,000 Starpoints, which they can later redeem for free nights, award flights on more than 250 airlines and VIP access to concerts.

Here is another screen grab of the application:

Hotels go mobile
Starwood is not the only hotel that has a mobile application. 

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts lets guests view hotel information, special packages and destination recommendations.
Consumers can also view room descriptions and restaurant details (see story).

In addition, Waldorf Astoria lets guests book and browse 22 hotels via a full image gallery and read the history of each hotel. In addition, guests can search for discounted rates and special offers, book the property of their choice or modify existing reservations (see story).

“We are very focused on mobile technology,” Mr. Godsman said. “We will be rolling out more enhancements to our successful platforms in 2010 and we have a variety of brand and property level initiatives currently underway that we look forward to sharing.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats, editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York