New Mobile Apps Extend the Customer Service Experience

What can mHealth marketers learn from the hospitality industry? Quite a lot, as it turns out!

Alyssa Waxenberg, Vice President of Mobile for Starwood Hotels, captivated attendees at m.2016, “Heroes of Mobile Assemble,” our agency’s private, fast-paced, content-driven event organized to provide clients with usable insights on what’s next in mobile.

Alyssa is considered a “Hero of Mobile” for driving the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Team to the head of the class in the battle for customer and brand loyalty. The hotel business is inherently mobile; smartphones and tablets capture nearly one-in-five online dollars. Recognizing that the mobile experience must do more than allow someone to reserve a room, Alyssa corralled the marketing and technology teams to get into lock-step, to be innovative across the board and to think like a traveler.

By looking at how mobile leaders in other categories — like Uber, Amazon and Netflix — are delivering a meaningful experience, Starwood realized that travelers have elevated expectations around customer service. The result is the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) app which has become an essential part of the Starwood travel experience. What’s more, it constantly evolves as technology advances and expectations shift. Launched four years ago, usage of the app has increased 90% year-over-year.

Starwood has developed a mobile-first strategy. In addition to the app, which allows travelers to book at any one of Starwood’s 11 hospitality brands, the company is elevating the game when it comes to mobile technology. If guests have opted-in for push notifications, they’re sent an invitation to check-in the day before their stay using SPG Keyless, Starwood’s mobile check-in feature– and they can even use their smartphones as their room keys when they get to the property.

As technology shifts and changes, Alyssa’s team is determined to be visionary in Starwood’s quest to stay ahead. Starwood was the first chain in the hotel industry to launch an app for Google Glass, and guests have access to integrated user-generated Instagram on property pages.

Her advice to mHealth marketers? “Your number one goal with a mobile app needs to be the creation of brand loyalty and furthering your brand’s promise. Don’t rest on your laurels. Challenge the status quo and give your industry something to talk about.”

Watch a full clip of the fireside chat with Alyssa Waxenberg below, and more videos from m.2016 here.