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Live from HITEC: InterContinental Debuts Microsoft Surface to Enhance Concierge Services and Guest Experience

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world's largest hotel company by number of rooms, announced today its first Microsoft Surface deployment at an InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property. Providing its leisure and business guests with an interactive and memorable way to gain personalized concierge services and local insight, InterContinental is piloting several custom applications for Microsoft Surface at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta in Georgia, with plans to deploy the technology to a broader segment of its global portfolio of 158 hotels.

Microsoft Surface, the first commercially available surface computer from Microsoft, is a revolutionary surface computing platform that responds to natural hand gestures and to the placement of real-world objects on the display. With a large, 360-degree, horizontal user interface, Microsoft Surface creates a unique gathering place where InterContinental concierge teams, meeting planners and guests can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with information and content, communicating with each other in a way that feels familiar, just like in the real world.

"Microsoft Surface enables us to take our commitment to facilitating and providing local, authentic and enriching travel experiences to a whole new level," says Bryson Koehler, vice president, revenue and guest technology, IHG. "Microsoft Surface enhances our InterContinental Concierge Program, offers our guests unique new ways to interact with and experience digital information, and helps our concierges deliver memorable, value-add services."

'In The Know' functions
Leisure and business travellers to the InterContinental Buckhead, located at 3315 Peachtree Road NE in Atlanta, can currently experience the following features of its 'In The Know' concierge application.

  • Points of Interest. The service offers individual touchpoints for information on restaurants, shopping and entertainment with an "insider" perspective that only local residents can know. The local concierge can easily update with fresh tips and suggestions on new discoveries or area hot spots.
  • Interactive Maps. Using Microsoft Surface maps, the property's concierge can draw and design personalized insider walking routes for each guest to take with them as they hit the streets to experience the city in their own preferred way.
  • Concierge Video. In The Know integrates InterContinental's destination videos from its industry-leading Concierge program. Microsoft Surface's multi-user capability enables the concierge to help one guest with his plan for the day while another guest watches the video or uses another function.

In addition, a Meetings & Events application helps business guests and future brides finish planning their next event at the InterContinental Buckhead property without leaving their seat around Microsoft Surface. InterContinental Buckhead's professional meeting planners can offer photos of the facility, meeting rooms and amenities on the Microsoft Surface unit, providing a relaxing way to look at and select from the various offerings from the hotel including catering and decorations.

Following the pilot of Microsoft Surface at the InterContinental Buckhead, the company plans to offer its functionality to a broader segment of its 158 hotels in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. InterContinental expects to test additional features and functionality on Microsoft Surface, including deeper wedding planning capabilities, interactive games that can be saved for a later trip and applications that will serve as a touchpoint for transactions.

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