When we sat down with Starwood's VP of Global Brand Management, Carlos Becil, we immediately commented on the prominence of music on the app (the home screen essentially makes you choose between booking a hotel room, shopping, or listening to music.) "Music, music, music. Guests are always asking for the music they hear in our hotels," he told us. Guess that CD they released last year—not to mention the other two now available at their online store—hasn't quite supplied the demand!
Becil then brought up Michaelangelo L'Acqua, the accomplished Italian DJ who was brought on as global music director for the brand—a rather novel post, we think. But for a hotel that admittedly obsesses over design, fashion, and music, it makes sense. "We have been working with Michaelangelo L'Acqua for two years now, but all along, we knew we wanted to go digital. So this was a natural step for him and for us. All of our music is carefully programmed, and now, if guests want to have that same experience on the go, they can."
Becil, who excitedly toggled through the different screens as we continued to talk, emphasized the hotel's consideration of their preferred guests (or, SPGs, as they're affectionately known.) "We really wanted to give special attention to our most loyal guests. For example, if a guest is stuck in a conference room somewhere, they can directly contact our dining staff, order room service, and arrange for a hamburger to be waiting for them twenty minutes later." Like we said earlier, the magic of smartphones.
Other features of the app, which was a year in the making, include hotel photos, local restaurant and shopping suggestions, an "I need..." button, special offers, social media buttons, and of course, plenty of music (seven channels specifically, each with hours of playlists).