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Over the past year, Starwood Hotels & Resorts has been leading the hospitality sector when it comes to embracing next-generation innovations, such as mobile check-in and keyless entry.

Martha Poulter, Executive Vice President and CIO of Starwood, as driven much of these efforts since joining the global hospitality provider in June of 2014. Much of this success comes from leveraging existing IT successes and capitalizing on these investments further in the future.

This was the focus of a recent Hospitality Technology interview where Poulter discussed the future of mobility and guest engagement for Starwood. When asked about mobile-first design being an imperative for the hospitality provider, she said the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) app serves as “mission control” for all guest interactions.

Knowing and delivering on a wide variety of guest preferences is also a key focus for Poulter and her team.

I would call out a few in different domains,” said Poulter in the article. “One that we’ve spent additional energy in is knowing the preferences of our SPG members. We’ve built a capability to then match those preferences to our on property features. That’s a great example of how we’re delivering both high-tech and high-touch.  For example, a guest tells us that he likes high floor rooms far from the elevator. On his next visit we’d match that preference to his booking and let him know we’ve been able to fulfill that request.”

Another area that she touched on – which is not often talked about in the hotel technology media – is maintaining the privacy of guest data.

“A new one that we haven’t talked about yet is that we’re investing a lot of energy in making sure we maintain the privacy of our guest information,” added Poulter. “We want to make sure we’re respecting the use of guest information in the way it was intended. In particular, we’re focusing on protecting personally identifiable information (PII).”

Lastly, she reiterated how focusing on the guest experience is paramount. “We are a force to be reckoned with in terms of allowing guests to do business with us in the way they want,” she said.

Be sure to read the full Hospitality Technology interview here.