InterContinental Hotels Group is launching a comprehensive virtual concierge service, ‘eHost’, for its Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts brand. The move, the first by a major hotel chain, is part of the Holiday Inn brand’s commitment to developing consumer-enabling technology for the ever-growing community of guests who seek products and services online.
‘eHost’ goes live this week in 14 U.S. Holiday Inn properties as part of the system’s beta release. Accessed via hotels’ free High Speed Internet Access systems, eHost gives Holiday Inn guests 24-hour access to the information normally provided by a traditional concierge. This includes dining options and recommendations, attractions, movies, shopping, transport links, and events all available in the immediate vicinity of that Holiday Inn.
‘eHost’ also provides weather and airline information, hotel-specific information and Holiday Inn brand history, as well as email access to the hotel’s general manager and staff to provide immediate feedback via an online survey tool. Guests can even play games and send ‘ePostcards’ home to friends and family through ‘eHost’.
“With the growth of the tech-savvy, socialised Generation X customer base, our guests continue to expect the same superior service from Holiday Inn, but the way they want to interact with us is evolving,” said Mark Snyder, senior vice president of Brand Management for Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts in the Americas. “‘eHost’ affords our guests more convenience, choice and control than ever before, allowing them to access the local community of the hotel they are visiting, in a way that is unique to them and customises results for their individual needs.”
Hotel employees can also access ‘eHost’ on behalf of their guests. While traditional concierge services are optional for the Holiday Inn brand, more than 200 U.S. Holiday Inn properties currently offer them, mostly in large metropolitan areas and tourist destinations. Full-scale system implementation of ‘eHost’, anticipated by late 2006, will complement rather than replace traditional concierge services at those properties and will allow all Holiday Inn properties to offer concierge services.
Future evolutions of ‘eHost’ already underway will offer multiple languages (Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, German, French and English) and an online menu and room service module, although several hotels are already offering the menu and room service features ahead of schedule.