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Starwood rewards loyalists via Foursquare contest

May 19, 2011

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is rewarding members of Starwood Preferred Guest loyalists by offering free points and free-night awards for those who check in to properties worldwide via Foursquare.

The company is extending a line of communication to its guests by leveraging Starpoints as “social currency” and other prizes. Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program can link their Foursquare accounts to Starwood to participate.

“Starwood continues to evolve the SPG program by providing members with the most flexible and rewarding loyalty program,” said Chris Holdren, senior vice president of Starwood Preferred Guests, New York. “Starwood sees loyalty as an ongoing conversation with guests, and with the rise of social media, Starwood can reward loyal members beyond just the nights they spend at a Starwood hotel or resort.

“Our goal with the SPG foursquare integration is to introduce a new way for our hotels and resorts to engage with SPG Members,” he said.

Starwood Hotels consists of 1,000 properties with nine brands in 100 countries.

The Foursquare campaign will cross all of the company’s brands, including the upscale Luxury Collection and St. Regis properties.

Squaring off
Guests who are members of the Starwood Preferred Guests and have a confirmed reservation can earn bonus starpoints when checking in via Foursquare.

Preferred Guest members can link their accounts with Foursquare at or


Connecting via Foursquare

Additionally, individuals can earn 250 Starpoints by checking in with a reservation May-July.

Checking in to the social network will enter participants into a giveaway to win a five-night resort getaway plus airfare.

New bonus opportunities will be presented starting in August. These will be optimized by brand or region of the world, per Starwood.

Starwood is taking the Foursquare partnership one step further with the incorporation of Foursquare Mayorship.

This will most likely lead to increased reservations and traffic in the properties.

Every month, the Preferred Guest member with the most Foursquare check-ins across all Starwood Hotels will earn the title SPG Mayor.

The Mayor will be interviewed and showcased on the SPG specials landing page and will have the chance to contribute travel tips to the Foursquare tips page at

Getting techy
Affluent consumers who frequent Luxury Collection resorts or St. Regis properties are likely to be members of the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

Other luxury brands are starting to use Foursquare to their advantage.

For instance, Gucci is expanding its mobile horizons with a new Foursquare initiative meant to drive consumers into its retail locations (see story).

Foursquare is probably used by younger guests moreso than older ones, but Starwood could be using this as a way to build relationships with younger consumers who visit less-expensive properties in the hope that they will eventually work their way up to the company’s more prestigious brands such as St. Regis and Luxury Collection.

Still, Starwood considers itself somewhat of an innovator in reaching its guests via new technology.

In January, the company began using Apple’s mobile video calling service FaceTime to directly connect with its most loyal consumers through their iPhones and iPod touches (see story).

“SPG reinvented the hospitality loyalty industry when it launched in 1999 with its breakthrough policy of No Blackout Dates – redemption of points for free nights and free flights is never accompanied with hassles or blackout dates,” Mr. Holdren said.

“Our redemption platform is and always has been a standout from the competition,” he said.

Final Take
Rachel Lamb, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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