KINKO'S FINDS ROOM IN HOTELS

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CHICAGO-The ever-shrinking world of global business is keeping some corporate travelers awake at night-and has hotels scrambling to fill rising round-the-clock demands for everything from computer rentals to cellular phones.

The latest to join the trend: the Stouffer Riviere Hotel on Wacker Drive, part of the chain owned by Renaissance International of Coral Gables, Fla. A 24-hour Kinko's Copy Center is scheduled to open Dec. 1 in the hotel, offering copying and fax machines, desktop publishing and Federal Express and United Parcel Service pickups.

"We were in need of a full-service business center to accommodate our corporate travelers," said John Bruns, hotel general manager.

Kinko's is leasing a 1,866-square-foot space next to retail shops on the level below the lobby.

Said Greg Melheim, president of Kinko's in Illinois: "Our opening in the Stouffer will enable us to not only target hotel customers but also people working in the Loop."

The Stouffer shop will be Atlanta-based Kinko's Corp.'s first Loop location and its second in an Illinois hotel. Kinko's has operated a business center in the Sheraton North Shore Hotel in suburban Northbrook since March.

Although many hotels recognize the demand for business centers, they don't agree on how to staff them. Some hotels prefer to make such centers an extension of the hotel, staffed with hotel employees. Others would rather rent out space to a company like Kinko's and stay out of the operation.

"Most hotels want to control the business themselves because they feel they can do the best job servicing customers," said Arnold Karr, president of the Hotel/Motel Association of Illinois.

Said Robert Cima, manager of the Ritz Carlton at Water Tower Place, which runs its own center: "We know what our customers need, and we feel we are the most capable to deliver it."

The Stouffer Riviere, on the other hand, linked up with Kinko's to take pressure off its staff. "Customers would come in [by the] dozens [with] copy and fax requests," said Arthur Keith, senior managing director. "Our concierges had to interrupt their work to attend to these requests."

Ms. Aran is an intern with Crain's Chicago Business.

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