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Starwood is customer-centric on mobile

News, 09 February 2015

NEW YORK: Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality and leisure group, is making sure the "user journey" is central to informing its mobile app experience, rather than simply being led by new technology.

Arlie Sisson, associate director/mobile product strategy, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Mobile First, Mobile Everywhere conference in New York.

"There's a lot that you can build with mobile. And we have this problem at Starwood: we want to be everything to everyone, and it gets a bit overwhelming sometimes," she said.

"It's always a continued push to say: how can we make this better, how can we make this experience cleaner, how can we engage with guests."

Sorting through those priorities can be challenging as the options multiply and the ecosystem grows increasingly complex, with more than 60bn apps also now competing for attention.

"You have a lot of items to think about, especially as a product owner," said Sisson. (For more, including how the firm uses research and analytics, read Warc's exclusive report: How Starwood builds a customer-centric mobile experience.)

"There are all the algorithms of getting yourself found; then there's actually getting your users to download it and being relevant and actually worth using; then there's – hopefully – getting them to purchase; then there's talking to them after."

In determining where its mobile app – which has already secured "several million" downloads to date – can be most useful to consumers, Starwood doubles down on the core aspects of the customer journey.

"We get to completely – hopefully – engage with you throughout your discovery, your actual purchasing of a stay, once you come onto a property, and then post[-visit]," said Sisson.

"We call that our 'user journey'. And we talk to you differently for each point ... It's all about being contextual and relevant once you step into that different moment that you're in – and how do we engage with you differently."

Data sourced from Warc