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I’m always saying that social media is becoming more and more important every day, especially when it comes to airline and hotel loyalty programs, which use channels like Facebook, Twitter and Intagram to get out the latest news, deals and promos to their most loyal customers. Today, Starwood has taken the next step in this evolution by announcing the global launch of Instagram Guest Galleries on its property websites worldwide.
Starwood has found that guests are uploading over 40,000 Instagram photos a month taken at its 1,150 properties, so in response, the chain has decided to incorporate unedited, firsthand guest Instagram galleries on all its hotel websites in the hopes that this new visual platform will inspire future guests to book stays.
Explaining the move, Senior Vice President, Starwood Preferred Guest & Digital Chris Holdren said, “A ‘picture is worth a thousand words’ and a picture shared is worth even more to our guests. Starwood’s mobile bookings are growing five times faster than the annual growth rate of the web channel 10 years ago. With an increasingly mobile, digital traveler we expect social sharing in places like our Instagram Guest Gallery pages will continue to change how our guests book travel and explore and interact with our hotels.”
Although in a bit of irony, you can’t actually access the new galleries via SPG’s phone or tablet apps, just on hotel web sites.
The new galleries are already up. To access them, you can go to the site of the hotel you’re interested in, click on the Photos & Videos tab and then you’ll see the hotel’s official gallery and tabs for videos and one that says “Explore Guest Gallery.”
Though I’ve recently stayed at and Instagrammed from the Prince de Galles in Paris and the St. Regis Bal Harbour in Florida, I don’t see my photos up. It looks like most of the galleries just have photos from the first two weeks of November so far, and that to be included, you’ve got to geo-tag your photo or video at the property. Also, it looks like hotels that have both individual sites and Starwood sites – like the W Vieques for example – only have the guest gallery up on the Starwood site.
I suspect SPG has folks combing through these making sure there’s no inappropriate content, so there might be some lag time, but hopefully we’ll see the content get a little more up-to-the-minute in the coming days and weeks. Overall, I think this is a great move on SPG’s part since it lets guests post unfiltered content and opinions that others can benefit from…and the hotels get some free social media publicity, so everyone wins.
Here are the terms & conditions for how SPG will use Instagram photos and how to get yours removed if you want:
ABOUT THE STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC, (“Starwood”) INSTAGRAM GUEST GALLERY (the “Site”)Content featured on the Site is pulled via geotagged photo and videos utilizing the Instagram API.
We will not display any content of any user who has set their profile to “private”. No content visible on the Site will be used in any of Starwood’s marketing or advertising without the explicit permission of the Instagram user.
CONTENT GUIDELINESStarwood reserves the right not to post your photo if it contains any of the following types of content or violates the terms and conditions of the site
- Obscenities, discriminatory photos, or other images not suitable for a public forum
- Content that infringes or may infringe on third party rights including without limitation any copyright, name, trademark, logo, trade dress, or other personal or proprietary right of any person living or deceased (including but not limited to rights of privacy or publicity or portrayal in a false light) or entity or make reference to any commercial/corporate advertising (including but not limited to corporate logos, brand names, charities, slogans, political, or religious statements), or be otherwise objectionable.
- Advertisements, “spam” content, or references to other hotels, offers, or websites
- Photos containing email addresses, URLs, phone numbers, physical addresses or other forms of contact information
- Photos containing pictures of faces or other personally identifiable information
- Critical or spiteful comments on other reviews posted on the page or their authors
CONTENT REMOVAL OPTIONSWe respect your right to privacy. Should you wish to remove your content from the Site, the following options are available:
- Remove an individual photo and/or video
If you wish for your content to be removed from the guest gallery, simply remove geotag meta data from the photo or video in question via your Instagram account.
- Remove all photos and/or videos
If you wish for all current and future geotagged Instagram content to be removed, please submit your Instagram user name via the form below and certify you are the owner of the account in question.
Please allow for up to 2-3 business days for your content to be removed. There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.
There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.