Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has unveiled its first in-hotel Cisco TelePresence meeting suites today with a virtual, interactive meeting spanning across two continents. The W Chicago City Center and Sheraton on the Park Sydney are the first in Starwood’s global portfolio to introduce the new meeting facilities, showcasing the state-of-the-art Cisco TelePresence technology.
Guests and corporate clients were brought together in a true-to-life meeting setting, despite more than 9,000 miles apart and the 17 hour time difference. Participants in both locations had a seat at the table and were able to meet “face-to-face” utilizing ultra-high definition video, superior audio and life-size imagery of all participants.
Two more Cisco TelePresence meeting suites will open in the first half of this year including the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers and Sheraton Centre Toronto which will come online in the upcoming months. Other Starwood locations planned to open throughout 2010 include The Westin Los Angeles Airport, with the anticipation to expand the offering to key domestic and international business markets such as Dallas, San Francisco, Brussels, Paris, Hong Kong and Frankfurt. As an industry first, reservations for these telepresence rooms can be made instantly using the Tata Communications online portal, with a convenient payment capability using all major credit cards.
“As the world and the hotel industry grow increasingly more global, Starwood is continuing their legacy of innovation and looking at tomorrow’s travelers and how they want to meet. There is also an increasing demand to incorporate technology, virtual meetings and social media into new meeting offerings from the next generation of business travelers,” Starwood said.
“The launch of the new Cisco TelePresence meeting suites at the W Chicago and Sheraton on the Park Sydney is another example of Starwood’s commitment to innovation by offering our clients an exciting, new meetings solution that facilitates a ‘face-to-face’ meeting in the same room regardless of global location,” said Christie Hicks, senior vice president of global sales for Starwood. “We have a great partner in Tata Communications and look forward to continuing opening new meeting facilities throughout our portfolio of hotels around the world.”
Cisco TelePresence provides life-like, high definition, conferencing facilities with superior audio, video and environmental qualities allowing participants to meet their colleagues, customers and business partners across a virtual table. The public facility offers users who do not have telepresence rooms within their company, access to this cutting-edge technology at an affordable per hour rental rate. Tata Communications has several operational public rooms in India (Mumbai, Bangalore (x2), Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Gurgaon), UK (London) and U.S. (Boston), Manila with PLDT in the Philippines and Johannesburg with Neotel in South Africa.