LUXURY SPOKEN FLUENTLY

Starwood Luxury Privileges drives loyalty beyond reason

For years, a greater part of bookings in the luxury segment at Starwood were based on consortia rate plans via the likes of Virtuoso, Signature, Ensemble and American Express FH&R. Today thatis expanding. At ILTM Cannes, we asked Sarah Bisa, Director – Leisure and Luxury Sales (EMEA) – Starwood to tell us more about “Starwood Luxury Privileges” – now a couple of years into its running– and currently taking full flight.

Today’s luxury travel professionals worldwide arediversifying the way they do business with theirhospitality partners. They want to be recognized forthe work they do which means a direct partnership with the hotels they book.
Historically, especially in North America, luxury travel professionals had access to thisrecognition and added values if they were members of luxury consortia.
 While we still work very closely with our luxury consortia and also wholesale partners as they are an important part of our business, we created Starwood Luxury Privileges to address this larger need that came straight from our customers and essentially gives
them access to the hotels and resorts in all three of luxury brands: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels. And, with the launch of SPG Pro, our loyalty offering, travel professionals booking Luxury Privileges can also earn additional rewards on top of their 10% commission which can be redeemed for free nights, free flights, merchandise and more.
“IN THE LUXURY SPACE, NOT JUST IN LUXURY HOSPITALITY, BRAND
POSITIONING IS KEY. THE WAY WE SELL OUR HOTELS, SO THE CHANNELS AND TRAVEL PROFESSIONALS WE CHOOSE TO PARTNER WITH, IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FORMS OF BRAND POSITIONING.”
How does it work? Available exclusively to invited travel professionals, Luxury Privileges offers a new level of service and privileges, including personalised advantages and special touches that enhance their clients’ experiences, a full complement of services and support, and direct access to the world’s largest collection of luxury hotels and resorts in the most inspired destinations. Once the travel professional is in the program, they can book via our dedicated website, the GDS or by calling one of our call centers.
Starwood Luxury Privileges is driving the highestADR ever recorded in the history of Starwood. In the luxury space, brand positioning is key and what drives that loyalty beyond reason, therefore price is not the main deciding factor for the luxury customer.
The way we sell our hotels, so the channels and travel professionals we choose to partner with, is one of the most powerful forms of brand positioning. Starwood Luxury Privileges is still in its infancy, but it’s alreadyhugely successful and we remain fully committed to
growing our business our key luxury travel professional partners.