SPG Launch of Design Hotels

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Old Nov 12, 15, 8:24 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by CLEguy View Post
Well aren't you a bundle of good news today! Thanks!
We just want to clarify – “SPG Design Hotels member hotels” are included. Sorry about the confusion.

Alice
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Old Nov 12, 15, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker IV View Post
It is important to note that the full Design Hotels portfolio has not yet joined SPG. Today marks the soft launch, with 5 hotels to start. Additional hotels will follow on a regular basis, with 40 projected to join by the beginning of 2016.
Thank you for updating us Lurker!

The Design Hotel portfolio has almost 300 properties in it - is it expected that all will eventually join SPG or will some of the portfolio opt out?
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Old Nov 12, 15, 9:38 am
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Not exactly my taste in hotels, but I like having more options if need be.

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Old Nov 12, 15, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by geo1005 View Post
Thank you for updating us Lurker!

The Design Hotel portfolio has almost 300 properties in it - is it expected that all will eventually join SPG or will some of the portfolio opt out?
As announced on the earnings call last month, all were sent invitations. It is up to each individual hotel as to whether or not to join SPG.
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Old Nov 12, 15, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by christianj View Post
So basically as a Platinum I loose out on a free breakfast and the upgrade. Would have preferred to keep these benefits but probably can live with it considering the new options this will add to the portfolio in areas where we have no hotels now.
my thoughts exactly....i like the fact that i will have a spg option now in a city or area where one didn't exist earlier....
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Old Nov 12, 15, 11:12 pm
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Bummer, no upgrades and no breakfast.
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Old Nov 13, 15, 12:53 am
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Originally Posted by christianj View Post
So basically as a Platinum I loose out on a free breakfast and the upgrade. Would have preferred to keep these benefits but probably can live with it considering the new options this will add to the portfolio in areas where we have no hotels now. In cities with numerous options I would likely go with another SPG option where I get those benefits.

Originally Posted by lcpteck View Post
Bummer, no upgrades and no breakfast.

It appears Plats also lose out on lounge access and late checkout. So you get points, night/stay credit, wifi, water. Sounds like the Best Western program.

Exempting properties from certain aspects of the loyalty program opens a Pandora's box. My concern is that a property that is considering to join SPG will opt for Design vs another flag that offers all SPG benefits and/or program exemptions spread to other brands such as Tribute.

Note: Design Hotels™ may not offer the same SPG benefits or brand service standards as other Starwood hotels.
Brand service standards has always been a weak point of the SPG program. Does this disclaimer mean that it will be worse under the Design brand?
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Old Nov 13, 15, 1:41 am
  #23  
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Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post
It appears Plats also lose out on lounge access and late checkout. So you get points, night/stay credit, wifi, water. Sounds like the Best Western program.
First, most Design Hotels are unique properties without lounges. So you're not losing out on lounge access.

Second, Plats will get chance for category upgrades instead of the full suite upgrades, which isn't much different than any other chain.

Third, none of the Design Hotels so far added are remotely like any Best Western property.

Exempting properties from certain aspects of the loyalty program opens a Pandora's box. My concern is that a property that is considering to join SPG will opt for Design vs another flag that offers all SPG benefits and/or program exemptions spread to other brands such as Tribute.
Starwood already concluded the dominating agreement with Design Hotels--which also allows Starwood to control which hotels join Design Hotels. Your concern is overblown. New hotels likely won't be added to Design unless they truly meet the market niche specifics. Either way, there will be 40 new hotels by early 2016 at which you can earn SPG stay/night credits and earn SPG points. That's a good thing.

There is no Pandora's Box. Design Hotels is a unique, situational opportunity for Starwood to expand its footprint, and it offers more properties for those who want them in areas that are not always otherwise served by Starwood.

Brand service standards has always been a weak point of the SPG program. Does this disclaimer mean that it will be worse under the Design brand?
I disagree. What ails Sheratons with brand service standards is not what ails Westin, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Element, Four Points, or Aloft. Luxury Collection and Tribute have little brand standard, and every other major chain is rushing to copy what SPG has in those. Design Hotels is just a new soft brand group of new properties into SPG--almost. Design Hotels are just like Luxury Collection or Tribute properties...except that you won't get suite upgrades and can't use SNAs. There is nothing worse. This is a net win for SPG.

Last edited by yosithezet; Nov 14, 15 at 5:15 am Reason: Personal comments redacted.
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Old Nov 13, 15, 1:52 am
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
First, most Design Hotels are unique properties without lounges. So you're not losing out on lounge access.

Second, Plats will get chance for category upgrades instead of the full suite upgrades, which isn't much different than any other chain.

Third, none of the Design Hotels so far added are remotely like any Best Western property.

You always find the negative, but seem to miss the positives of Design Hotels. If you find them so negative, it's quite simple--don't stay at any. Problem solved for you.



Starwood already concluded the dominating agreement with Design Hotels--which also allows Starwood to control which hotels join Design Hotels. Your concern is overblown. New hotels likely won't be added to Design unless they truly meet the market niche specifics. Either way, there will be 40 new hotels by early 2016 at which you can earn SPG stay/night credits and earn SPG points. That's a good thing.

There is no Pandora's Box. Design Hotels is a unique, situational opportunity for Starwood to expand its footprint, and it offers more properties for those who want them in areas that are not always otherwise served by Starwood. If you don't like it, then feel free to stay elsewhere.



I disagree. What ails Sheratons with brand service standards is not what ails Westin, Le Meridien, St. Regis, Element, Four Points, or Aloft. Luxury Collection and Tribute have little brand standard, and every other major chain is rushing to copy what SPG has in those. Design Hotels is just a new soft brand group of new properties into SPG--almost. Design Hotels are just like Luxury Collection or Tribute properties...except that you won't get suite upgrades and can't use SNAs. There is nothing worse. This is a net win for SPG.
I disagree. Starwood has worked hard to eradicate "limited participation" properties from the portfolio and now they are back and likely to expand in number.

Opaque brand standards are a big problem in my experience across multiple Starwood brands (I have had more issues in Westin and W's than other brands for instance). Adding more caveats devalues the SPG programme. I think Starwood might have come to a more inventive solution in the integration of Design hotels like levering SNA's for use at these properties but not normal plat upgrades. IMHO an "in category upgrade" is worthless and meaningless.

This seems a last roll of the dice to give the impression of footprint growth ahead of the sale of Starwood to try and bump up the price a little.
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Old Nov 13, 15, 1:55 am
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Soft Launch of Design Hotels

Good news overall. On the breakfast issue, many European properties may include at least a continental with every reservation, as they haven't quite yet discovered the ancillary earning power with biz travelers.
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Old Nov 13, 15, 4:53 am
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
First, most Design Hotels are unique properties without lounges. So you're not losing out on lounge access.
I haven't bothered checking, but let's say a Design Hotel has a lounge. They can charge Plats for access.

Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
Third, none of the Design Hotels so far added are remotely like any Best Western property.
Both Italian properties could just as easily be flying the Best Western flag.

Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
Starwood already concluded the dominating agreement with Design Hotels--which also allows Starwood to control which hotels join Design Hotels. Your concern is overblown. New hotels likely won't be added to Design unless they truly meet the market niche specifics. Either way, there will be 40 new hotels by early 2016 at which you can earn SPG stay/night credits and earn SPG points. That's a good thing.
It was stated in the earnings conference call that all Design Hotels were invited to join Starwood. No exceptions were mentioned, no 'market niche' requirements.

Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
There is no Pandora's Box. Design Hotels is a unique, situational opportunity for Starwood to expand its footprint, and it offers more properties for those who want them in areas that are not always otherwise served by Starwood.
As has been seen many times in loyalty programs, a 'one time' reduction in elite benefits usually leads to further reduction in elite benefits. There are already plenty of hotels that play fast and loose with room upgrades. With the breakfast and lounge waivers given to Design Hotels, hotels within SPG could start aggressively gaming the system for those and other benefits.

Last edited by yosithezet; Nov 14, 15 at 5:15 am Reason: Personal comments redacted.
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Old Nov 13, 15, 5:41 am
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I used to live at 4 Lex. GPH is at 2 Lex. Sadly, there's no redemption there yet, and the lowest rate I saw for a weekend stay I was looking at in December was just under $500.

For redemption, it says until some time in 2016. I don't see any category listings for it either. Have they been assigned yet?

What about C&P is that going to be a possibility at Design Hotels also?

-David
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Old Nov 13, 15, 7:45 am
  #28  
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Just in case anyone is lazy like me, here is a direct link to the list of Design Hotels: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/design.../all/list.html
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Old Nov 13, 15, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by iflyjetz View Post

Exempting properties from certain aspects of the loyalty program opens a Pandora's box. My concern is that a property that is considering to join SPG will opt for Design vs another flag that offers all SPG benefits and/or program exemptions spread to other brands such as Tribute.

Brand service standards has always been a weak point of the SPG program. Does this disclaimer mean that it will be worse under the Design brand?
While perhaps a valid concern, it is more likely an issue of training. With properties joining SPG with just a few days notice, it does not make sense to over promise and have people come away with a bad experience. Getting staff on to a new computer system and in New York when the hotels are already very busy at this time of year, it is just not practical to have guests waiting around while front desk agents are learning the new system and the ins and outs of the SPG program. That is likely why they are also starting with 5 hotels to work out any glitches rather than trying to have 200+ properties trying to figure everything out at once. They have already stated that redemptions are coming soon and the other amenities may very well be added too once the systems are all worked out.

One of the best parts of Starwood is that there is flexibility in the brand standards. There are plenty of other cookie cutter brands out there if that is what is valuable to you. Whether you are in Cairo or Des Moines, you can be in the same room eating the same food. I would rather have more unique experiences which is what drew me to Starwood in the first place. Perhaps some experiences may be better than others but I would rather that than having things be exactly the same wherever I am. I hate cookie cutter hotels.
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Old Nov 13, 15, 9:28 am
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I'm not sure I understand all the back and forth on brand standards. SPGs ability to control brand standards in their portfolio aside (and I do agree this isn't a strong area for SPG), it's been made clear that Design is not an SPG brand. Instead, it's a partnership so I think it would be wise to treat this as similar to the Crossover Rewards program with Delta.

I understand it's probably going to be harder for the common consumer to draw a distinction given we're talking about hotels and hotels here, but SPG has no more ability to control Design's brand standards than they do to control Delta's brand standards.

Like the Delta arrangement, it's a partnership program - stay with Design and earn some perks. Period. This doesn't represent a "Pandora's Box" for current SPG properties to suddenly opt-out of brand standards. (At least not more than they already try to do so).
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