Holiday Inn’s eHost puts concierge at guests’ fingertips
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 services of live concierge representatives.
the hotel’s free high-speed Internet access. At least 200 Holiday Inn hotels have con-
The system is live 24 hours a day and cierges on staff.
is designed to provide much of the infor- Future upgrades to the system include
mation offered by a live concierge, such providing information in several languages
as local movie schedules, weather fore- and a room-service option. In fact, Holiday
casts information on dining options and Inn said, some properties already are using
airline information. such enhanced features, since the system
Additionally, guests can send ePostcards can be customized for each hotel.
to friends and family from the site as well Ameranth Wireless developed the system
as e-mail the hotel’s general manager or for Holiday Inn.
&members of the staff. “We believe eHost positions Holiday Inn
According to Snyder, “eHost affords on the cutting edge of technology,” said
our guests more convenience, choice and Keith McNally, Ameranth Wireless’ CEO.
control than ever before, allowing them “We will continue to evolve it as a platform
to access the hotel’s local community that keeps pace with the ever-changing
they are visiting in a way that is unique technologies that guests seek.”
to them and customizes results for their
individual needs.” Shangri-La to manage Abu Dhabi hotel
The system is designed to complement the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has signed
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The policy mimics online rate guarantees introduced over the past few
years by several hotel chains.
Additionally, Pan 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.
“Our research 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.
A room at the W Hotel Union Square in New York, a property recently purchased by Dubai-based Istithmar for $285 million.
an agreement to manage a luxury hotel in
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The 214-room 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.
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.
Pan Pacific makes rate guarantee
Pan 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% discount.
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 Casinos.
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 Travel/Funjet.
SideStep said the new partnerships would
particularly enhance its offerings for Las
Vegas and Europe.
Studio 6 gets Wi-Fi
Accor North 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 in November.
The AirLink 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 Accor.
Innkeepers USA buys SoCal hotels
RLJ Urban 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 Ana-heim/Orange and the 309-room Hilton
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 Entertainment Television.