Starwood Hotels and Resorts recently released a comprehensive new social media campaign across Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone to help out its guests and other travelers. The applications rely heavily on user-populated content, but the hotel chain has also put its army of concierges to work to help jump start the flow of information.
The services are offered through the Starwood Preferred Guest program. They help guests of hotels and resorts like the Sheraton and Westin chains, find information on local restaurants entertainment venues and more. The Facebook application, called SPG TripShare, was developed by Buddy Media, which has been behind a slew of applications recently, ranging from Fox News to the New England Patriots. It gives users the ability to add up to 5 photos from their vacations or travels to a central, searchable album — photos are tagged to make finding shots of particular subjects, places or events easy, and users can browse all the submitted photos, or just those of their Facebook friends.
SPG is also offering a new Twitter application that pairs with Google Maps to offer reviews of eateries and local attractions. The reviews will be identifiable by location, and will be entirely populated by users. The hotel did take advantage of the knowledge base of its concierges to input some restaurants and hot spots, but it will probably be the small, out-of-the-way locations that users discover that will make the application truly useful.
A new iPhone application will allow patrons of the hotels to check their reservation information and Starwood accounts. While none of these applications are particularly ground-breaking, it is a good example of a hotel chain recognizing the interests of its guests. Frequent travelers are often doing so for business, and staying connected on the road is a concern, whether it be with business colleagues or friends and family at home. Some aspects of the new offerings from SPG also make finding the comforts of home while on the road a little easier, which any weary traveler can appreciate.
SPG has been tinkering with social media in one form or another for a while, and this lates group of offerings simply updates and expands on what is already available.