‘Road Warriors’ Stay Connected While Traveling

business travel - laptopsToday’s business traveler carries between three and four mobile devices with them while on the road, states data from a new survey from Four Points by Sheraton. This Starwood Hotels and resorts brand surveyed 6,000 global business travelers to find what devices they are most likely to use while traveling – and what hotels can best do to help these tech-savvy travelers.

Business travelers are “connecting” to friends and colleagues while on the road more than ever, with 55% saying that they travel with three to four devices. Brazilian travelers are the heaviest packers, with 27% saying they travel with more than five devices at one time. We’re not even sure how one gets to that many tech items, unless you’re traveling with multiple telephones. Germans were the least device-dependent, with 33% reporting they travel with only one or two items.

Smartphones #1
Not surprisingly, smartphones (74%) are the number-one device used by travelers, although tablets (65%), music players (43%) and laptops (32%) are also popular. Chinese respondents were the only group to bump laptops out of the top four, in favor of cameras (30%).

Business travelers are also glued to those smartphones. After landing, the majority (54%) turn on their smartphone while the plane is still taxiing on the tarmac, while 12% admit to never turning it off in the first place. The remaining respondents wait until they’re in the terminal or settle into their taxi/car (17% each).

Given our tech-obsessed society, some of these stats may seem mainstream, but checking their smartphone is also the first thing respondents do when they wake up in their hotel (36%). Only 19% turn on the TV first and 18% take a shower. Checking Facebook (12%) ranks fourth, while checking Twitter and calling home share a distant fifth (7%).Business Travelers Prefer Tablets
Tablets are quickly gaining market share among business travelers, with 68% of respondents saying they use their tablet more often than their laptop, and accordingly a similar number (69%), if told they could take only one of the two on the road, would choose to travel with their tablet.

This is in line with the business goals of travelers – many use mobile devices to keep up with email (90%), although many use devices for Internet browsing and social media (75%). Keeping up with the office is important too, but less so – only 73% of respondents cited this as important. Either these travelers still prefer books or they aren’t reading for pleasure – only 43% use mobile devices to read.

Business Centers Still Rule
In addition to all their hand-held technology, the majority of respondents report that they have visited a hotel business center (66%). They mostly do so to print business items (93%). They are also inclined to use the business center to print personal items (87%), check social networking (87%) and check email (86%).

What do you think? How many devices do you travel with, and which do you use most frequently?

[Flickr via magerleagues]

Starwood makes checking in a social affair

Starwood and foursquareStarwood Preferred Guest, the rewards program for such brands as Sheraton and Westin, just took “checking in” from the front desk to the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. The hotel company is launching a new program with social media company foursquare to increase member benefits.

According to foursquare’s blog, this partnership is “the first truly global loyalty integration of its kind,” an appropriate statement for a corporate blog, of course. Here’s the upside for you: when you check in (on foursquare) while checking in (at a Starwood), you can pick up more points, get free nights and win contests.

In the past, foursquare has worked with Heineken, American Express and others, but this appears to be its first foray into travel, a natural fit for a company that has built its business around location.

Sheraton Hotels introduces Shine, the hotels’ new signature spa concept

Combining pampering with practicality seems to be Sheraton’s new approach. Shine for Sheraton will debut across the globe in new and existing Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. The new spa concept is part of the hotel’s $6 billion brand revitalization efforts.

The new spa brand will offer guests an “upscale, approachable spa experience” in partnership with Germaine de Capuccini, a global spa and skincare brand.

Sheraton guests in select hotels in China, Vietnam, the Maldives and Slovakia can already experience the new spa concept, and the hotel group plans to open 17 more Shine spas in hotels by next year.

The spa offers five signature treatments: massage, facial, body treatment, manicure/pedicure and a treatment for two.

We’ve yet to experience this new spa offering but we’re certainly intrigued… what do you think? Can Sheraton hotels compete with other high-end hotels with spa offerings?

Starwood to open seven hotels in NYC this year

New York City is getting a few new addresses.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced its plans to open seven more hotels in New York City, upping the hotel’s portfolio by 50 percent in the Big Apple. Starwood currently operates 12 hotels in New York City across six of its nine brands, and expects to have 18 properties open in the city by year’s end, including the local debut of the Aloft and Element brands.

From Starwood:

“While nearly 80% of our future hotel pipeline is outside of the United States, we have more hotels in New York City than any city in the world and we will open more hotels right here in our backyard than anywhere else, which speaks to New York’s enduring stature as the most global gateway city in the world,” says Starwood CEO Frits van Paasschen.

Coming soon: Aloft hotels in Harlem and Brooklyn and Starwood’s first Element hotel in Times Square.

In addition to the new brands, Starwood’s Sheraton hotels is making a splash in the big city. Of the seven hotels opening, Sheraton will debut two New York hotels including the Sheraton Brooklyn New York Hotel the Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel. Starwood’s most popular brand, the W, continues to operate four hotels in NYC including its landmark W New York and W New York-Times Square.

Starwood plans a Sheraton Times Square makeover

The Sheraton Manhattan at Times Square is prepping for a bit of a nip/tuck, says owner Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

The redevelopment plan will evaluate how to best make use of the full city-block space the hotel occupies (Broadway, Seventh Avenue and 51st and 52nd Street near Times Square). Part of the makeover will include the Sheraton flying a Starwood flag. As the hotel is redeveloped, Starwood will remove the Sheraton flag and operate the hotel as a non-branded Starwood property beginning in April. The Sheraton Times Square will remain open and will continue to be a member of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program.

This redevelopment is another example of Starwood’s bold entrance into the New York City hotel arena. Starwood has 13 hotels in New York City with plans to open six more in 2010, including two properties in Brooklyn and Tribeca, the W New York Downtown and the Four Points by Sheraton Long Island City. In addition, Starwood will debut its two newest brands – Aloft New York Brooklyn and Element New York Times Square West – later this year. The Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, the Sheraton brand’s flagship New York property, will launch a $90 million renovation later this year.