Hotel Online  Special Report

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Radisson Encore Hotel Serves Up Customized In-room Service: Laptop, TV Internet for Corporate Travelers,
TV Wedding Highlights for Leisure Guests
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Property Uses In-Room Technology to Alert Guests to Outlet Promotions
and Heavy Weather; Access Internet, Movies, Games; Capture
Guest Comments And Assist Checkout

August 10, 2004 - In 16 years working at South Dakota hotels, Jo Kelling has learned there are a few things she can’t control – seasonal business patterns for one thing, and the area’s ever-changing weather for another. But the general manager of the Radisson Encore Hotel Sioux Falls is enjoying more control than ever over her hotel marketing and guest communications through the capabilities of the interactive marketing and entertainment system provided by LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation.
 

Located 10 miles from the Sioux Falls airport and adjacent to Interstate 29, the full service property hosts large numbers of business travelers. And with its proximity to the largest shopping complex between Minneapolis and Denver, the hotel draws a strong leisure contingent as couples and families check in for weekend getaways, holiday vacations and special events. “Guests stay with us because we have a great location, we give personalized service and we have something for everyone,” says Kelling. She points to the property’s broad amenity mix that includes everything from an indoor pool to a T.G.I. Friday’s linked to the lobby, along with a LodgeNet system that delivers a broad range of in-room movies, games and other on-demand 

Jo Kelling
content as well as laptop and TV-based Internet access. 

But Kelling’s concern for her guests goes beyond entertainment. She considers herself responsible for their safety – especially when storm clouds gather over the prairie. “Anyone who lives here will tell you our weather can turn rough in a hurry,” she says. “Informed guests are safer guests, and LodgeNet gets that. They showed us how to customize our TV system to display regional storm warning information and give guests travel safety tips on two of our channels. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just as important as entertainment.”

Corporate Travelers Benefit From Laptop, TV Internet Services

The Radisson Encore Hotel is constantly upgrading its guest-facing technology to deliver a high level of service. For example, Kelling notes that while about one out of three corporate guests uses the hotel’s laptop Internet service, others gravitate toward the TV Internet services. “We’ve had a lot of success providing our guests with information on the TV, and that includes tapping into the Web,” said Kelling. “Our TV Internet services are especially appreciated by corporate guests who don’t like lugging a laptop but still need to keep up on their e-mail.”

“Simple Template” Technology Delights Wedding Parties

The Radisson Encore Hotel also does brisk business with groups – in particular, wedding receptions, for which the staff’s creativity and attention to detail have built a regional reputation. “We like to provide personalized attention to guests, and the LodgeNet system makes it easy to do that,” says Kelling. She explains that through the LodgeNet PowerStationSM terminal, staff can post personalized messages and send them over the Hotel Channels to pre-selected groups of rooms. “Some of our guests have really been delighted to see highlights of their wedding on their TV screen when they stay here for a reception,” she says. “It sounds like it would be hard to set up, but the menus and templates of the PowerStation make it easy.” 

“We also use a Hotel Channel to promote drink or food specials at the T.G.I. Friday’s on site,” Kelling continues. “That makes a real difference since we are surrounded by literally dozens of other F&B outlets. When we have a band at our restaurant, we always announce it – so guests have another reason to eat there instead of going off-property.” 

Kelling says the property has also implemented an on-screen Guest Directory that conveys much of the same information guests would find in a printed compendium, such as hotel amenities, services and extension numbers, listings for local attractions, information about parks and museums, and local transportation information. “The biggest advantage of the LodgeNet application over a printed directory is that we can add, remove or edit information and get it to our guests instantaneously, rather than going through the time and expense of updating printed materials,” she notes. 

On-Screen Surveys Maximize On-Site Service; Integration Of Corporate Comment Card Planned

“One thing we just started doing with our LodgeNet system is testing an on-screen survey that asks guests about the quality of their stay while they’re right in the room,” continues Kelling. “Their responses print at the front desk so if a guest has a problem, like needing more towels, we can address the concern at once.”

The next step Kelling envisions is to go interactive with the comment card provided by Radisson’s corporate office. Currently, staff tell guests how to use the comment card when they check in, and guests receive Gold Rewards program points that can be used for additional stays or at the onsite T.G.I. Friday’s. “Today we mail the completed cards to our parent company,” she explains. “By migrating those same questions and response options to the TV, guest input can be e-mailed for faster action.” 

Electronic Checkout Brings Efficiencies On Both Sides Of The House

One way the hotel caters particularly to business travelers is by offering checkout through the guest room television. Kelling says more and more guests are having their invoice e-mailed directly to an address they enter during the process. “Our corporate guests like to review their folios the night before they leave, then check out in the morning and have their folio sent to their office so they don’t have to pick it up at the front desk,” she says. “It makes it easier on our housekeeping department, too, since they know which rooms they can clean first to have the house ready for early arrivals.” 

As Kelling sees it, her property exists to serve three types of clients. “We have business travelers who in a lot of cases would really rather be home, leisure guests who come specifically for things they can’t get at home, and special events clients who want a personalized experience with all the details covered,” concludes Kelling. “Our LodgeNet system is powerful and flexible enough that we can exceed the expectations of each of those guest sets and give them a compelling reason to come back.” 

About LodgeNet

LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation (www.lodgenet.com) is one of the world’s largest providers of interactive television systems and broadband services to hotels, including resort and casino hotels, throughout the United States and Canada as well as select international markets. These services include on-demand movies, music and music videos, Nintendo® video games, Internet on television, and other interactive television services, as well as high-speed Internet access, all designed to serve the needs of the lodging industry and the traveling public. LodgeNet provides service to more than one million rooms, including 967,000 interactive guest pay rooms in more than 5,800 hotel properties worldwide. LodgeNet estimates that during 2003 more than 260 million travelers had access to LodgeNet’s interactive television systems. LodgeNet is listed on NASDAQ and trades under the symbol LNET.

LodgeNet is a registered trademark of LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation. All rights reserved. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. 

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Contact:

Jo Kelling
General Manager
Radisson Encore Hotel Sioux Falls
605-361-6684
jo.kelling@radisson.com

LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation
Ann Parker
Director of Corp. Communications
3900 W Innovation Street
Sioux Falls, SD  57107-7002
605-988-1000
communications@lodgenet.com
www.lodgenet.com


 
Also See: LG Electronics And LodgeNet Develop First HDTV Satellite Programming Solution For Hotels / June 2004
Lodgenet Announces Major Milestones; More Than One Million Rooms Served Overall, Nearly Half Of Company's Interactive Room Base Now Digital, On-Screen Controls Enhancing Entertainment In 435,000 Guest Rooms, Digital Control Rights Secured From All Major Studios / June 2004
Doubletree Novi Doubles In-Room Entertainment Revenue, Enhances Guest Service With Interactive TV Upgrade / May 2004
IT Security: Pebble Beach Company Powers Toward a Perfect 10; Parent Company Of Three-Time Conde Naste Winner Uses Advanced Security Tools For High-Speed Internet Access / April 2004


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