WestCoast Hospitality Corporation
, representing Red Lion Hotels and WestCoast Hotels in the United States and Canada, has launched “Net4Guests(TM),” its proprietary high-speed wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) service, giving all guests staying at participating hotels free, password-protected access in guestrooms and public areas of the hotel.The Net4Guests service utilizes the company’s GuestAwards frequent traveler program to provide members instant log on access using their member numbers and passwords. As an additional benefit to GuestAwards members, they can access Net4Guests service any time they are visiting a participating Red Lion or WestCoast property—whether they are an overnight guest or not. The hotels become their “hot spots” while they’re on the road.
“We want business travelers to know they have an office-away-from-the-office where they can check their e-mail or access their office virtual private network [VPN] if they find themselves with extra time between appointments, or while relaxing over coffee or a cocktail in one of our outlets,” said John Taffin, Executive Vice President of Hotel Operations for WestCoast Hospitality in making the Net4Guests announcement.
Guests with compatible wireless hardware will not need any special software to connect to Net4Guests and will not have to make any changes to their PC configurations. Those who do not have wireless capability can check-out the easy-to-use and fully-supported (24/7) Net4Guests Quick Start Kit containing a PCMCIA card and a software CD to access Net4Guests. GuestAwards members use their member number to log on. If a guest is not a member of the GuestAwards program, the guest is given a User ID for use during that stay, or the guest can enroll on the GuestAwards website and receive a member number instantly. This gives them the convenience of not having to register for Net4Guests at each hotel.
The Net4Guests Wi-Fi capability is enabled by Air2Data technology and is based on the 802.11b protocol so that it is accessible to the largest group of travelers with wireless functionality on their laptops and handheld devices. A variety of security measures, including a firewall and assigned IP addresses, are built into the Net4Guests system to minimize the risk of unauthorized access. According to Mark Rackham, Vice President of Operations for Air2Data, “In the last 18 months, we have not had any problems with security with any of our guests. That’s a great track record.”
Rackham also praised the partnership environment that created Net4Guests. “When we started this collaboration with WestCoast Hospitality, we rolled out the technology and the supporting documents we expected their hotels’ front desk associates would need to answer guest’s questions,” he said. “They came back to us with suggestions that custom-tailored their support manuals, guest collateral and log on process to make implementation as user-friendly as possible for both guests and staff. The Net4Guests result is a Wi-Fi installation steeped in the hospitality and service tradition of Red Lion and WestCoast Hotels. We think it will be a model Wi-Fi program for the lodging industry.”