Starwood targets meeting planners, travel agents with SPG Pro loyalty program

Christie Hicks
According to Christie Hicks, SVP, Starwood Sales Organization, the decision to introduce SPG Pro was due in part to rising meetings revenues.

According to Christie Hicks, SVP, Starwood Sales Organization, the decision to introduce SPG Pro was due in part to rising meetings revenues.

New York – Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is launching SPG Pro, an expanded loyalty program for meeting and travel professionals.

Working as an extension to the existing Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program, SPG Pro will allow meeting planners and travel agents to earn points and status with SPG through a combination of B2B and personal bookings—in what Starwood is calling a first for the industry.

We spoke to Christie Hicks, SVP of Starwood Sales Organization, who explained that when travel professionals register they will be assigned an account number, just as SPG guests are today. When the professional makes a booking for themselves, for a leisure travel client or for a meeting, it’s all credited to that one account number, which makes it easier to acquire elite status and awards within SPG.

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“The same person could have a number for meeting and a number for individual travel. We’re merging those programs,” Hicks said. “You’re one person but you wear different hats at different times, so we record you and all your activity together.”

Meeting and travel professionals can register at www.spg.com/pro. When the program launches October 16, the Starwood Preferred Planner program will come to an end and all accounts will transition to SPG Pro.

Starwood also is tapping into existing SPG Platinum-level guests who may be senior executives, consultants or small business owners who book events at hotels. SPG currently drives more than 50 percent of Starwood’s occupancy to its 1,200 hotels.

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