Starwood Hotels & Resorts
With Starwood’s mobile presence expanding, the global online compliance team needed to ensure that the content and functionality of its mobile apps and websites met corporate brand standards.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is the most global high-end hotel company in the world. It boasts nine distinct brands with a total of 1,134 properties in nearly 100 countries and employs 171,000 associates worldwide.
The Challenge: Accessing Mobile Apps without Purchasing Mobile Devices
Individual Starwood brands and properties are constantly developing and improving their websites and mobile apps to communicate with their customers. Customers use these channels to find hotels, learn about services, view pictures of properties and rooms, book reservations, and more.
To ensure that these sites and apps properly represent the Starwood brands and are compliant with corporate policies, the global online compliance team conducts regular audits and reviews. As the hotels have increasingly moved from providing information on websites to also supporting various mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS the global online compliance group needed to keep pace with reviews and audits of these new apps.
Normally, the global online compliance group would have needed to purchase mobile devices to evaluate device-specific mobile apps. The group, however, wanted to save the time that would have been necessary to go through budget request and approval process and the cost of the devices themselves. It began looking for an alternative.
Keynote Delivers the Right Capabilities
Janay McWhorter, senior manager for the global online compliance group spearheaded the search. She began by seeking references, researching online communities, and searching the web, ultimately learning about the Keynote’s DeviceAnywhere platform and requesting a demo of the product.
After seeing the product go through its paces, McWhorter was sold. “We chose DeviceAnywhere because it allowed us to do exactly what we needed. Rather than requiring us to rent or purchase the actual devices, DeviceAnywhere allows us to go online and pick from any number of Smartphone devices and OSs to use for our testing.”
In contrast, alternative solutions were “complicated and convoluted,” McWhorter said. Moreover, they focused exclusively on testing app performance, which was outside the scope of the compliance group’s requirements.
The Solution: Cloud-Based Real Device Testing Over the Internet
The online compliance organization used DeviceAnywhere as it embarked on a four-week auditing project. Five testers performed manual testing of their mobile websites and apps for Android and iOS platforms utilizing the largest real device library in the world from DeviceAnywhere. DeviceAnywhere allows site reviewers to remotely interact and control every aspect of the mobile device including pressing handset buttons, viewing LCD displays, listening to ringers and tones, playing videos, taping and swiping touch screens, muting, powering on/off, downloading apps, sending/receiving messages and anything else they could do if they held the physical device in their own hands. Using DeviceAnywhere the group was able to perform a general review and audit of all the company’s mobile apps worldwide, looking at their content and functionality.
The group found that it was able to ramp up quickly on DeviceAnywhere. Said McWhorter, “DeviceAnywhere was very easy to use and the support was great. Our testers were able to use their devices in exactly the same way they’d use the real devices. This meant that testers were able to start working immediately with no learning curve required for the device itself.”
DeviceAnywhere does exactly what McWhorter intended. “If an app is device specific, we can now instantly go to the Internet, access the device we need to put the app through its paces.”
If one of the testers found something that didn’t look right on a particular device, he or she could easily select from DeviceAnywhere’s many choices to look at the app on a different device or a different version of the same device to determine whether the problem was with the app or with the way it was rendered on the particular device.
Benefits: The Right Solution
McWhorter has been very pleased with the results. “Mobile apps are the direction Starwood’s business is moving. Increasingly, we need to monitor more than just websites. DeviceAnywhere really proved its worth.”