Starwood to Launch SPG Pro

Travel News Asia Videos Podcasts Latest Travel News Asia Monday, 8 September 2014

Starwood is preparing to launch SPG Pro, an all-new loyalty program for meeting and travel professionals.

Set to debut in October 2014, the new program will offer meeting and travel professionals SPG elite status, upgrades and Starpoints for B2B business booked at any of Starwoods nearly 1,200 properties around the world.

Plus, any SPG member who books a group stay, event or corporate business meeting, regardless of if they are a travel professional or not, will earn Starpoints and status for the business they influence.

Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen said that SPG Pro was designed to leverage the strength of SPG, which today drives more than 50% of the companys occupancy and continues to shift consumer business to Starwood hotels.

The work that weve done to make SPG the richest elite program in the industry has proven that we can create true and lasting loyalty with our most profitable guests and shift share of wallet to our hotels, said van Paasschen. With SPG Pro, were focusing our powerful loyalty lens on B2B to cultivate ever stronger and more personal relationships with our global customers who deliver guests to our hotels.

Today, B2B accounts for nearly 70% of Starwoods overall room revenue and is comprised of corporate travel, meetings and events and leisure and wholesale travel. With a sales force of more than 5,000 globally, Starwoods Sales Offices manage 1,200 global accounts from more than 30 offices around the world.

According to Christie Hicks, Senior Vice President, Starwood Sales Organization, the top 1% of accounts drives 40% of Starwoods B2B revenue.

SPG Pro is a compelling way for Starwood to reward our global customers, provide more personalized service on property and really understand the totality of the business our partners influence, said Hicks. SPG Pro will also help us extend our reach beyond our managed accounts to attract new businesses, regional organizations and a next generation of travel professionals. New global travel patterns are driving more corporate, leisure and meetings business than ever before and with each 1% share shift in this business, we add $80M in revenue.

Loyal Guests

In addition to travel pros, Starwood is also targeting a new source of untapped B2B potential: its most loyal guests.

According to Mark Vondrasek, Starwoods Senior Vice President of Distribution, Loyalty and Partnership Marketing, 34% of SPGs elite Platinum guests, who may be senior executives or business consultants or small business owners, book meetings and events in hotels.

As weve gotten closer to our best guests through SPG, weve learned that while one-third of our elite members are also B2B decision makers. Starwood only gets a 40% share of that part of their business, said Vondrasek. We realized there was a great opportunity to recognize our guests business holistically, beyond just our guest rooms. By rewarding business like corporate off sites, product launches or even personal events like weddings, we build greater stickiness with our loyal guests, who in turn become an extension of our sales team.

Meeting and travel professionals can now register for SPG Pro, and registered professionals, as well as SPG Members who influence group, event and corporate travel, will begin earning Starpoints for business booked starting in October 2014.

Additionally, SPG Pro marks the first time accredited travel agents will have the opportunity to earn Starpoints and elite status with SPG.

Starwood, SPG, MICE, Loyalty

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