has received approval from its hotel members to rollout high-speed internet access (HSIA) at all of its 2,300 properties throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. HSIA will be offered free to all Best Western hotel guests. Installation is to begin immediately for completion by September, making it not only the largest hotel industry initiative, but also one of the fastest technology implementations.
Wireless and hard-wired high-speed internet access will be available in both public areas and at least 15 percent of all Best Western guest rooms. Additional distribution will be achieved through the availability of wireless access cards at the front desk. HSIA will be supported by the Best Western Information Services technical center with a 24-hour toll-free customer hotline to assist both guests and hotels with questions.
A recent survey conducted 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.
As a membership-based association, the high-speed internet access initiative required a majority vote of Best Western’s North American hotel owners.
“Unlike other hotel chains, before we undertake a major initiative, the management team has a responsibility to present a compelling business case to our membership,” said Tom Higgins, Best Western president and CEO. “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,” emphasized Higgins.
The HSIA proposal is coupled with replacement of every hotel’s current front desk computers with 2.4 Ghz Pentium IV processors and the addition of computer terminals for guest access in the public areas of each hotel.