Starwood Preferred Guest, Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ loyalty program, has launched SPG Pro, offering meeting and travel professionals SPG Elite Status, upgrades and Starpoints for B2B business booked at Starwood properties around the world. And now, any SPG member who books a group stay, event or meeting—regardless of whether they are a travel professional or not—will earn Starpoints and status for the business they influence.
“By rewarding business such as corporate off sites, product launches or even personal events such as weddings or bar mitzvahs, we build greater stickiness with our loyal guests, who in turn become an extension of our sales team,” says Christie Hicks, senior vice president, Starwood Sales Organization.
These loyal customers account for a big percentage of Starwood’s meetings and events: 34 percent of SPG’s Elite Platinum guests, who may be senior executives or business consultants or small business owners, book meetings and events in hotels, according to Mark Vondrasek, senior vice president of distribution, loyalty and partnership marketing.
Starwood is the first company to leverage its leisure travelers and B2B business with a single program, according to Mark Theis, director of global corporate sales. “We’re setting a trend here and we take pride in being first.”