Starwood Debuts Virtual Meeting Facilities in Europe

State-of-the-art “virtual meeting” technology will debut at four hotels in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc's European portfolio. The Le Méridien Etoile, Le Méridien Brussels, Le Méridien Parkhotel Frankfurt and the Le Méridien Munich will become the first of Starwood’s European properties to introduce the new meeting facilities showcasing Cisco Telepresence technology. All properties currently feature the new suites except the Le Méridien Parkhotel Frankfurt, which will debut its new facilities in late November, Starwood said.

The new facilities are part of a year-old partnership between Starwood Hotels and Tata Communications to build Cisco Telepresence rooms at properties worldwide. Starwood unveiled its first in-hotel Telepresence meeting suites earlier this year at The Sheraton Toronto, W Chicago City Center, the Sheraton on the Park Sydney and more recently, at the Sheraton Kuwait City. In late 2010, the Sheraton New York and The Westin Los Angeles Airport also introduced their own meeting suites. Other Starwood locations planning to launch soon include key domestic and international business markets such as Dallas, San Francisco and Hong Kong.

The public rooms located within each Starwood hotel will be linked to a wider Tata Communications Telepresence network via its Global Meeting Exchange. The Exchange enables meetings to take place between any private or public room on its network; as well as rooms on the networks of Tata Communications’ Intercarrier-Exchange partners, BT and Telefonica, and the National Lamda Rail network, which links leading U.S. universities. This network reach makes Telepresence a truly global collaboration tool.

“The opening of these four European public Telepresence rooms with Starwood marks another milestone for us in the Telepresence space. Since we launched the first public Telepresence facility in 2008, we have strived to develop a portfolio of Telepresence managed services that enable business executives to easily collaborate with colleagues, partners and customers anywhere in the world. Underpinning this portfolio is the ability for users to connect with an extensive business ecosystem of public and private rooms through our network and partner networks, spanning 35 countries.” said Peter Quinlan, vice president of telepresence managed services for Tata Communications.

As an industry first, reservations for these telepresence rooms can be made instantly using the Tata Communications online portal,, with a convenient payment capability that accepts all major credit cards.

As the world and the hotel industry grow increasingly more global, Starwood said it is continuing its constant pursuit of innovation, anticipating how tomorrow’s travelers want to meet. The company is also responding to increased demand to incorporate technology, virtual meetings and social media into new meeting offerings for the next generation of business travelers.

“When clients are doing business globally, it makes sense to offer a meeting solution that’s ‘global’ as well,” said Mary Casey, vice president of global sales for Starwood. “Meetings no longer just mean sitting around a table, and the Telepresence technology we’re unveiling in Europe helps clients shape meetings to their own needs.”

The public room facility offers users who do not have Telepresence rooms within their company, access to this cutting-edge technology at an affordable hourly rate. Tata Communications currently has the largest global network of public Telepresence rooms and is present in 21 major cities across five continents covering the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Kuwait, South Africa, India, The Philippines, Singapore and Australia.