Hyatt uses Internet to boost occupancy in Asia

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MANILA--The Hyatt hotels in Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore are using new Internet technology to helpboost occupancy rates.

Software packages WorldRoom and WorldRoom Connect! provide access to the Internet in individual rooms 10 timesfaster than terminals at home, according to Anthony J.May, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Manila.

The software also provides business travelers with a mini-office in their rooms, equipped with a full workstation.

WorldRoom allows customers to link up to more than 150 Internet sites, including flight schedules, online ticketing and hotel bookings, local guides to food and leisure, and regularly updated and archived regional and international news.

The system so far has been launched at the Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, and the Grand Hyatt and Sheraton Towers in Singapore.

Occupancy has risen to average 85% a month in these hotels, according to Mr. May. "WorldRoom was such a hit at high-end hotels that they were able to charge premium rates on the wired rooms," he added.

WorldRoom Connect!, meanwhile, caters to business executives who travel with their laptops.

Hyatt's three properties in Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore are the first hotels in Asia to become completely wired with the new service initially available in Hyatt's Regency Club and Gold Passportrooms.

"We have to constantly think about ways of getting ahead in this business," said Mr. May. "Every hotel recognizes the difficulty of differentiation in its class. I mean, who can tell the difference among thesehotels? But with WorldRoom and WorldRoom Connect!, wehave an edge."

Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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