Design Hotels has deepened its relationship with majority owner Starwood Hotels Resorts in a partnership that gives member hotels access to the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program as well as Starwood’s consumer and corporate booking channels.
Starwood expects 40 hotels to be listed by the end of the year, and a large portion of Design Hotels’ 288 properties to join in the coming months.
Design Hotels guest will receive most of the same points earning and redemption benefits as they would in other Starwood properties.
The SPG relationship gives properties access to consumers through Starwood’s own booking channels, as well as corporate travel planners, using a pay-per-performance model.
Most major hotel chains have heavily courted independent properties over the past two years. Marriott’s Autograph collection has more than 90 properties, Hilton’s Curio has 17, and Starwood’s own Tribute group has four, with eight planned openings in the next few months.
Unlike these relationships, where participating hotels are required to meet brand standards handed down by the corporate parent, the Design Hotels/SPG relationship allows its properties to maintain whatever standards they see fit. And unlike other independent groups, Design Hotels’ members range from five-star properties to those with more character than bling.
Although Starwood owns a 74% equity interest in Design Hotels, it continues to operate independently and Starwood does not include its financials in quarterly reports.
The strategic alliance is aimed at exploring areas of potential cooperation, including joint procurement, maintenance and repair collaboration to identify cost savings and achieve economies of scale.