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TECH| TRENDS| Creating the ideal hotel for today’s plugged-in traveler

When guests step into a Hyatt Place hotel, they’re met with an experience that reflects more than two years of extensive research and analysis to uncover the needs of contemporary travelers. The company now shares the insight used to develop its hotels.

Hyatt Place asked travelers what they look for in a hotel experience. Based on these findings, Hyatt developed its design, amenities and service philosophy to allow travelers to transition from their daily 24/7 lifestyle to life away from home in a way that was not possible before.

- Productivity: Half of travelers always look to maximize productivity on the road and 65 percent end up working more hours. At Hyatt Place: Guests can take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, the “e-room” with free access to public computers and a printer with secure remote printing capabilities, or use the oversized desk and ergonomic chair in each room.

- Comfort: 1 in 4 travelers would drive 20 miles out of their way for a hotel “dream” bed, and 62 percent are bothered when there is no place to sit and relax in the room. At Hyatt Place: Guests can stretch out on the signature Hyatt Grand Bed™ or the eight-foot Cozy Corner sectional sofa-sleeper, both found in every guestroom.

- Food: Travelers are frustrated by limited choices (59 percent), availability of healthy choices (43 percent) and lack of 24/7 food access (43 percent) . At Hyatt Place: Guests can unwind at the intimate wine and coffee bar serving premium wine and beer and their favorite Starbucks® specialty coffees; pick up freshly prepared sandwiches and salads at the Grab ’n Go, enjoy complimentary continental breakfast or head to the Guest Kitchen for freshly prepared snacks and entrées 24/7.

- Entertainment: Travelers resent outdated hotel entertainment systems (44 percent). At Hyatt Place: Guests can watch favorite shows on the 42-inch, flat-panel, high-definition television or use the innovative Hyatt Plug Panel™ to integrate their own personal entertainment media with the TV – including laptops, MP3 players and DVD players.

- Style: 1 in 3 Americans say unattractive hotel design or style is very or extremely disruptive. At Hyatt Place: Both the Gallery and guestrooms were designed for relaxation and productivity and boast sleek, contemporary design. The award-winning Hyatt Place Gallery is an open, innovative space with a coffeehouse vibe; while guestrooms offer separate sleeping, lounging, and work areas.

Hyatt Place staff also plays an important role in making guests’ experience from home to hotel seamless. The training all Hosts must master provides them with the tools to interact with guests sincerely and effectively, including being a Host; conversation skills; presenting your best self; how to make a connection; and more.


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INTL| U.S. hotels to bottom out in 2009

A new study by PKF Hospitality Research reveals that demand for U.S. hotel rooms will contract for the next two years. Compounding the negative impact of declining demand is a projected concurrent increase in supply.

PKF Hospitality Research (PKF-HR) is forecasting a combined net increase in 2008 and 2009 of nearly 275,000 new hotel rooms compared to year-end 2007. This represents a 6.2 percent jump in accommodations over this two-year period.

With supply and demand levels moving in opposite directions, occupancy rates are projected to decline in both 2008 and 2009. Considering the 0.3 percent occupancy decline reported by Smith Travel Research in 2007, the result is three consecutive years of fewer accommodated roomnights for the average U.S. hotel.

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NEWS| Sheraton debuts lobby tech

Sheraton officially launched a new lobby lounge that provides wireless Internet and computers for guest use as. The upgraded lobby now stands in about 100 of Sheraton's properties and is expected to be in 300 hotels worldwide by the end of this year.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Sheraton brand this month officially launched a new lobby lounge that provides wireless Internet and computers for guest use as part of a $4 billion worldwide makeover.

First announced in May, Sheraton’s Link @ Sheraton offering is the result of a partnership with Microsoft Corp. and is designed as a social space in Sheraton lobbies where guests can access free wireless Internet service and computer stations to check e-mail, print boarding passes or use such accessories as Webcams, all of which van Paasschen said caters to the increasing mobility needs of the corporate traveler. The lobby lounge also has televisions, newspapers and a café.

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