BALTIMORE—Management and ownership of the SpringHill Suites by Marriott-Baltimore BWI Airport hotel today announced that the installation of wireless Internet (WiFi) technology at the property was so popular, the hotel has decided to give it away for free.
The hotel installed the high-speed wireless service in the lobby, meeting rooms and public spaces, which complements the hotel`s in-room, “hard-wired,” high-speed Internet access service. As part of its free WiFi service, the hotel is providing approximately 20 guests per night with a free connectivity card so that guests can “test drive” the system.
“A growing number of guests are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional, expensive Internet connections,” said Roberta Wittes, hotel general manager. “With wireless Internet access, the SpringHill Suites by Marriott-Baltimore BWI Airport offers guests quicker connectivity, fewer hassles and, best of all, it`s free! Everyone wants to try it out to see how it works.”
Interest in WiFi has grown exponentially since the announced formation of a $150 million fund by computer chip maker Intel to create “hot spots,” or WiFi accessible locations, nationwide. In March Intel unveiled its Centrino mobile technology, featuring a computer chip that enables portable computers to access the Internet without plugging into a connection. Within three years, experts expect more than 50 million computers to be equipped with the new chip.
“The technology is so new that most portable computers don`t have them, so we purchased 20 WiFi cards and lend them to our guests on a first-come, first-served basis,” Wittes said. “WiFi is the road warrior`s new toy, and everyone wants to give it a spin. Even though we`ve just completed the WiFi installation, already we have seen a substantial increase in reservation calls requesting the new service. The word has really gotten out on this.”
Located at 899 Elkridge Landing Road, the four-story hotel is managed by PM Hospitality Strategies, an affiliate of hotel owner, The Buccini/Pollin Group, and is located within minutes of BWI National Airport, Arundel Mills Mall, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore Zoo, Camden Yards and a variety of other local attractions. In addition to free WiFi, other hotel amenities include three meeting rooms totaling 1,500 square feet of meeting space, dinner delivery service from local restaurants, complimentary continental breakfast, valet & self-service laundry, business center, indoor pool with spa and state-of-the-art exercise room.
“The success of this program prompted our company to install it at one of our sister hotels, the Embassy Suites in Newark/Wilmington, Del., where it has met with the same, very positive response,” said Greg Miller, president of PM Hospitality Strategies, the hotel`s management company. “We are aware that a select group of owners in the hotel industry are embracing WiFi, but we are the first BWI-area hotel to offer it to our guests at no charge.”
PM Hospitality Strategies of Alexandria, Va., currently operates nine hotels and is overseeing the construction of three additional upscale hotels, all on the Eastern Seaboard. PMHS` hands-on founders oversee all aspects of day-to-day operations, and emphasize marketing, employee development, and cost-effective operation for each hotel. With strong financial backing, PMHS ranks among the fastest growing hospitality management organizations in the United States. During each of its first six years, the company has realized substantial increases in operating profits. Same-unit sales increased in 2002 over 2001 for the second year in a row, a feat virtually unmatched in the hospitality industry during that time period. Additional information about the company may be found at its Web site: www.pmhs.com.
The Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG), with offices in Alexandria, Va., Wilmington, Del., and New York, is a multi-faceted hotel, office, residential, and parking facility developer and owner. BPG currently has 24 projects completed or under construction, including 10 hotels. Four hotel projects currently are under way: a complete restoration of the 353-room Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C. (scheduled to re-open in August 2003); construction of an Embassy Suites in Dulles, Va.; and two extended-stay Homewood Suites, in Newark, Del. and Dulles, Va. Founded in 1992, the company has acquired or developed, and currently owns, 2.5 million sq. ft. of office and flex space, three major multi-family projects, and two multi-story parking facilities, in addition to its extensive hotel holdings. Additional information about the company may be found on its Web site: www.bpgroup.net.