Ameranth Wireless, with the support of a powerful technology alliance has partnered with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), owner of the Holiday Inn brand, to turn the vision of a Wi-Fi, Internet-enabled dynamic, paperless menu into an operational reality for IHG’s Holiday Inn brand. This “E-Menu” system, which automates guest services from the concierge to the restaurant table, was achieved through the cooperation of technology industry leaders and their commitment to continue to expand and grow the initial platform and features. Ameranth Wireless, the project integrator, aligned with Microsoft, Intel, Dell, and Motion Computing to assemble the total system solution for InterContinental Hotels Group and Holiday Inn.
This solution totally integrates and links digital communications over the Internet, hotel Intranet, and 802.11 wireless, with on-premise JTECH staff paging, cell phones, and fixed and wireless printers - all operating on state-of-the-art Microsoft and Intel technology platforms to deliver an unprecedented guest experience. Ameranth and IHG began testing customer feedback to the E-Menu system in January 2004 with the opening of the first “next-generation” Holiday Inn prototype hotel in Duluth, Ga., north of Atlanta. After an initial success at the Duluth site, ten additional Holiday Inn properties will be equipped with the E-Menu system by the end of July. Dell is providing the entire hardware suite of Tablet PCs, Dell Poweredge Servers, Dell Printers and Dell Axims as well as total system support.
Ameranth’s 21St Century Hotel? E-Menu system, operating on 802.11 wireless networks, the Internet and the hotel’s Intranet, allows guests to use Motion Computing Tablet PCs to browse the real-time menu items, customize orders and even place orders directly into the kitchen from E-Menu equipped tables in the restaurants or order room service directly from their hotel rooms.
Available in both English and Spanish and normal and large-sized text, the tablet allows diners to search for the information that is most important to them, from electronic images and a complete nutritional breakdown of each menu item to tax and gratuity calculations in multiple currencies. The wireless system also facilitates room service - guests can access the menu from their own laptop computers via the hotel’s Wi-Fi or Internet service. After placing their meal order, the E-Menu system also empowers guests to check driving directions, receive news and weather for their hometowns or destinations, make reservations for other events and even revise their travel plans and print their airline boarding passes.
“No single company could create InterContinental Hotels Group’s operational vision and then deliver the marketing strategy for Holiday Inn,” stated Keith McNally, CEO of Ameranth Wireless. “We needed to leverage and maximize the power of our strategic industry partners and are very appreciative of the exceptional response and support from Microsoft, Intel, Dell, and Motion Computing.”
“Holiday Inn is credited with pioneering the modern hotel industry more than 50 years ago, and today we’re continuing that legacy of innovation with this industry-first “E-Menu” system,” said Mark Snyder, senior vice president, brand management, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, the Americas. “Eventually, we will be able to integrate operations systems wirelessly - from reservations to supply chain management - all while providing our guests with a great hotel experience.”
“Innovative hotel brands like Holiday Inn are delivering the next generation hotel experience with technology and solutions designed around open standards,” said Jon Stine, worldwide retail - consumer packaged goods manager, Intel. “With Intel® Xeon? processor-based servers that analyze and manage information in real time, to tablets and PDA’s powered by Intel® Centrino? mobile technology and Intel® XScale® technology, guests get a more personalized experience. We are excited to be working with world-class companies like InterContinental Hotels Group, Dell, Microsoft, Ameranth and Motion Computing to design solutions that are transforming the future of hospitality.”
“InterContinental Hotels Group’s deployment of an E-Menu system solution based on the Microsoft .NET Framework is an excellent example of how technology innovations will change the rules of engagement with customers and a guest’s hotel experience,” said Brian Scott, general manager for the Retail & Hospitality Industry Solutions Group at Microsoft. “We applaud Intercontinental Hotels for recognizing the business benefits of working with companies that support industry standards and the integration advantages of Web services and Microsoft .NET, all of which will enable its E-Menu expansion needs in the future.”
“InterContinental Hotels Group clearly recognizes the advantages of standards-based products and services which allows them to affordably implement, integrate and manage computer systems across multiple locations at low costs,” said Tim Mattox, VP of Retail for Dell, Inc. “We are excited to be collaborating with Ameranth, Motion Computing, Microsoft, and Intel to deliver InterContinental Hotels Group comprehensive solutions. “
“Motion Computing’s lightweight, clipboard-sized tablet PCs enable people to use computers in new ways and places, so we are a good fit for InterContinental Hotels Group’s creative E-Menu concept,” stated Ralph Spagnola, Motion’s vice president of sales. “We are pleased that Intercontinental Hotels and Ameranth selected our tablet PCs as the best of all available options in the market.”