InterContinental becomes latest hotel chain to give its customers FaceTime
Tuesday 15 March 2011
InterContinental has become the latest hotel chain to connect its customers to its staff via videoconferencing.
The upscale chain introduced a new chat feature March 14 which allows guests and future guests to connect with its concierges via Apple's FaceTime videoconferencing service.
Nine InterContinental hotels around the world have equipped their staff with the new video-capable iPad 2 tablet, allowing them to answer questions and give advice to travelers via video calls before the guests arrive.
A spokesperson told Relaxnews that anyone who has booked to stay at InterContinental can use the service by logging onto a designated website and selecting a timeslot to discuss their stay further using the FaceTime video calling service, which is currently available on the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and some Apple laptops.
InterContinental's initiative with iPads follows the introduction of FaceTime customer service calls by rival chain Starwood, which owns brands such as Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton and W Hotels.
In January, Starwood announced that members of its Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program would be able to talk face to face with its customer service staff using FaceTime, to complete transactions such as bookings, checking account balances or getting further details about hotels.
It was reported earlier this month that the company is looking to expand the service to users in other geographic regions and across different video calling platforms.
However, InterContinental already has a reputation as something of an early adopter - last year, it equipped its concierge teams with first-generation iPads within days of their release, promising to use the tablets' display technology to bring destinations to life for guests.
It also offers an iPad-specific concierge app which includes videos produced by the concierge teams at each destination along with walking routes and recommendations and suggested itineraries.
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