How Starwood “Hacked” Instagram To Take Hotel Reservations

What Happened
Starwood Hotels hacked Instagram to allow socially connected travelers to initiate the booking process right in the photo-sharing app. Working with digital shopping platform, Starwood allows users to start booking a reservation simply by liking one of the Instagram photos that the hotel chain paid social influencers for. Once they double-tap, they receive an auto-generated email via with a link to book their stay at the hotel chain’s two featured properties in Paris.

What Brands Need To Do
Among popular social media services, Instagram has been notoriously hard for marketers to crack, largely due to its restriction on clickable links. Save for the call-to-action buttons in ads and the one URL allowed in each account profile, brands have no viable means to move Instagram followers down the sales funnel. Starwood’s effort here provides a new example of how brands can find innovative ways to circumvent Instagram’s restrictions and convert followers into customers.


Source: Digiday

The Smartphone-Enabled Hotel Room Keys Have Arrived

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Starting today, guests staying at ten selected Starwood hotels will be able to use their iPhone (and, in the spring, Apple Watch) to unlock their hotel doors with the new SPG Keyless service. Based on Bluetooth LE (instead of NFC), the virtual keys will work with all iPhones from the 4S onward. Similarly, Hilton Worldwide has announced that it will be introducing its own smartphone key system next year as well. More Internet of Things could be expected to be applied in the hospitality industry in the near future.

Starwood Releases Google Glass App

Google Glass already has a host of third-party apps, but Starwood is one of the first major brands to develop on the platform. Starwood’s app will let users search and book hotel rooms, view photos of the resorts and even get turn-by-turn directions to a location. Glass just closed their one-day public sale Tuesday, but with an estimated 10,000 Glass in use prior, Starwood can’t be reaching that large of an audience.  They are likely making an investment in the future of Glass and getting some nice PR in the process.