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Best Western Reaches Installation Milestone

Best Western has reached the half-way
point in its aggressive campaign to bring free high-speed Internet access
(HSIA) to all of its North American properties by fall. More than 1,100 Best Western hotels now offer the service, 50 percent of
the chain’s membership across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
In the five months since the February program launch, Best Western’s
29-person Information Services Team has logged more than 21,000 hours on
the project, coordinating and tracking each property’s progress.

“We’re comfortable with the overall progress of our installation efforts,
considering the enormity of such a complex undertaking,” said Mike
Kistner, CIO and senior vice president, information services, for Best
Western. “Although the potential always exists for unforeseen
circumstances to arise, we are headed in the right direction.”

With HSIA now available at her Cherokee, Iowa property, Shawn Simonsen,
owner and general manager of the Best Western La Grande Hacienda, said,
“Everyone loves it, and is amazed that it’s free. Guests are now able to
do their work more efficiently. My favorite component of the program is
the 24/7 Help Desk, which doesn’t require me to be a computer technician.”

The chain’s remaining North American members are currently in various
stages of the installation process, which includes such steps as
conducting site surveys with local cable companies; wiring properties; and
ordering equipment.

Best Western’s HSIA program is not only the largest initiative ever
undertaken within the hotel industry; it is also one of the fastest
technology implementations. The company’s goal is to establish wireless or
hard-wired HSIA in some portion of the public areas, and a number of guest
rooms, across the brand. In wireless applications, loaner access cards are
typically available at the front desk. For properties subscribing to the
company’s own exclusive HSIA system known as SpeedLinks, Best Western
Information Services features a 24-hour toll-free customer hotline to
assist both guests and staff with questions.