Getting information on local attractions,
restaurants and activities soon will be just a few mouse clicks
away at Holiday Inn hotels worldwide.
The chain has
approved installation of an online "virtual concierge" service
called eHost that provides wide-ranging services to help guests get
the most out of their stay.
"With the growth
of the tech-savvy, socialized, Generation X customer base, our
guests continue to expect the same superior service from Holiday
Inn, but the way they want to interact with us is evolving," said
Mark Snyder, Holiday Inn's senior vice president of brand
management in the Americas.
Snyder said the
eHost system already is available at several Holiday Inn properties
and would be installed at all Holiday Inns in North America by the
end of the year.
Guests staying at
a Holiday Inn can log onto eHost via their personal computers and
the hotel's free high-speed Internet access.
The system is
live 24 hours a day and is designed to provide much of the
information offered by a live concierge, such as local movie
schedules, weather forecasts information on dining options and
guests can send ePostcards to friends and family from the site as
well as e-mail the hotel's general manager or members of the
Snyder, "eHost affords our guests more convenience, choice and
control than ever before, allowing them to access the hotel's local
community they are visiting in a way that is unique to them and
customizes results for their individual needs."
The system is
designed to complement the services of live concierge
At least 200
Holiday Inn hotels have concierges on staff.
to the system include providing information in several languages
and a room-service option. In fact, Holiday Inn said, some
properties already are using such
enhanced features, since the system can be customized for each
developed the system for Holiday Inn.
"We believe eHost
positions Holiday Inn on the cutting edge of technology," said
Keith McNally, Ameranth Wireless' CEO. "We will continue to evolve
it as a platform that keeps pace with the ever-changing
technologies that guests seek."
Shangri-La to manage Abu Dhabi hotel
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has signed
an agreement to manage a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri is slated to open
in February. In addition to guest rooms, the property will have
serviced apartments and deluxe villas. Dining, entertainment,
retail and recreation facilities will be offered.
A waterway that
winds around the property will transport guests to their
destination on abras, or Arab gondolas.
Pan Pacific makes rate guarantee
Pacific Hotels & Resorts is offering a best-rate
guarantee on bookings made at its Web site.
If online bookers
find a lower rate for a Pan Pacific hotel at a retail Web site, Pan
Pacific will honor that rate and offer the guest a 10%
The policy mimics
online rate guarantees introduced over the past few years by
several hotel chains.
Pacific launched a reservations program called eDirect by Pan
Pacific, to help expedite bookings for corporate clients. Corporate
clients can install software that enables them to link directly to
a reservations site with their contracted rates.
shows that clients are looking for a faster, easier and more
efficient online booking process," said Kevin Croley, Pan Pacific's
vice president of sales and marketing.
Dubai firm buys W in N.Y.
Istithmar, an investment firm owned by the
government of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, has paid $285 million
for the 270-room W Hotel Union Square in New York,
one of five W hotels in the city.
SideStep adds brands
SideStep, a consumer search engine,
recently added more than 25,000 hotels when it signed partnerships
with several firms, including Golden Tulip, NH Hotels, Preferred
Hotel Group, Classic International Hotels, Jurys Doyle, Millennium
& Copthorne Hotels, Sierra Suites and Station
Also, five hotel
consolidators have partnered with SideStep: Flairview Travel, Hotel
Book, Hotel.de, Reserve Travel/Alliance and Skoosh. SideStep also
signed deals with Apple Vacations and Mark
SideStep said the
new partnerships would particularly enhance its offerings for Las
Vegas and Europe.
Studio 6 gets Wi-Fi
America is installing wireless Internet at all Studio
6 hotels in the U.S. Accor said that installation of
Teledex's high-speed ExpressNet AirLink service would be completed
system will bring a combination of wired and wireless Internet
access to Studio 6 hotels. Approximately 20% of rooms at any one
property will have wired and wireless connections. All other rooms
will have wireless-only access. Wired rooms will be available on a
first-come, first-served basis for those who have an immediate
need, such as government or corporate guests, said
Innkeepers USA buys SoCal hotels
Lodging Fund, an affiliate of RLJ Development, struck a
$215 million deal to sell four Southern California hotels to
Innkeepers USA Trust.
The four include
the 192-room Residence Inn San Diego Mission Valley, the 200-room
Residence Inn Anaheim/Garden Grove, the 230-room Hilton Suites
Anaheim/Orange and the 309-room Hilton Ontario Airport.
The RLJ Urban
Lodging Fund was established in October 2004 with equity
commitments of $315 million and has since closed on 23 assets with
a total acquisition value of more than $700 million. The privately
held firm is owned by Robert Johnson, founder of Black
Michael Milligan is Travel Weekly's hotel editor. E-mail
him at [email protected].