Hotel Pennsylvania creates biz-only rooms

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NEW YORK -- Responding to customer demand, the 1,700-room Hotel Pennsylvania launched the Penn 5000 Club, two floors of specially equipped rooms and services for the hotel's business clientele.

Feedback from corporate customers -- primarily local businesses -- indicated that they wanted a more efficient hotel experience, including a speedier check-in and conveniences like high-speed Internet access and more room to work, according to Jim Flynn, general manager.

With that in mind, the hotel set aside 240 rooms on the 11th and 12th floors and installed high-speed Internet access, cordless speaker phones with voice mail, work areas with a desk and ergonomic chair, and CD players.

The hotel created a private lounge on the 12th floor, where guests are offered complimentary breakfast and all-day coffee service. The lounge features two computers with free Internet access, a fax machine and copier, a flat-screen TV and newspapers and magazines.

Guests staying on Club floors use a separate check-in area off the main lobby, and the hotel has assigned a dedicated manager to those floors. The budget for the Penn 5000 Club was approximately $700,000.

"We are primarily a leisure hotel, but we carved out these two floors because we realized there was market demand that wasn't being met in the neighborhood," said Flynn.

"Most hotels in the [Penn Plaza] area are leisure-oriented, so creating this business niche opens up a whole new market for us," Flynn said.

According to Flynn, the company has signed up more than 100 local accounts since launching the Penn 5000 Club in the spring, with the typical guest staying two nights, although a few customers have booked for as long as three weeks.

Rates at the Hotel Pennsylvania run about $129 a night in the shoulder season, and Penn 5000 Club rooms are priced about $40 higher.

In addition to these rooms, the Hotel Pennsylvania features three ballrooms and more than 90,000 square feet of meetings space that can accommodate up to 1,000 people.

For information or reservations, call (800) 223-8585 or visit www.penn5000.com.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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