Best Western’s President and CEO Tom Higgins
CIO Mike Kistner announced plans today for the hospitality industry’s largest rollout of high speed internet access (HSIA) impacting more than 2,300 hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
Wireless and hard-wired high speed internet access will be available at every hotel in both the public areas and at least 15 percent of all guest rooms. As an additional service wireless access cards will be available at the front desk. This service will be free to all hotel guests and supported by a Best Western
staffed 24-hour toll-free customer hotline.
A recent survey by Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell
showed that 65 percent of business travelers agree that free access to the internet from their room is extremely or very desirable.
The HSIA proposal is coupled with replacement of every hotel’s current front desk computers with 2.4 Ghz Pentium IV processors including DVD/CD player and 17-inch screen monitor.
Prior to the proposed upgrades, Best Western hotel owners must pass a ballot by simple majority vote that is expected to go out in December. Installation would begin after the first of the year and is slated for completion by September 1, making it not only the largest, but also one of the fastest technology implementations in the industry.
“Before we undertake a major initiative such as this one, the management team has a responsibility to do its homework and present a compelling business case to our membership,” emphasizes Higgins. “Best Western hotel owners by their entrepreneurial nature understand the importance of keeping a competitive edge in the marketplace and internet technology figures prominently in the equation.” he adds.