Marriott and Starwood are going high tech with their meetings. Both brands announced separate plans this week to introduce Cisco's TelePresence remote conferencing technology to several properties this year.
Using high-definition video and real-time audio, telepresence is growing in popularity for its ability to help small groups meet and collaborate no matter where attendees are located across the world. Companies without Telepresence capability, or remote regional employees, can connect "in-person" with people in various locations by renting the rooms.
"As the 24/7 world economy becomes more interconnected, the need to hold small global meetings that cross continents and oceans will only grow," said Arne Sorenson, president and COO, Marriott International, in a statement. "We believe telepresence will create more business meetings because people can travel shorter distances and easily connect with colleagues and clients around the world.
Marriott, who is partnering with At&T's fully-managed AT&T's Telepresence Solution, plans to offer telepresence meeting suites at its Marriott Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts brands in 25 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong and London. Starwood, partnering with Tata Communications, will have telepresence in 10 of its new facilities, including Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, Sheraton on the Park in Sydney, and Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
"The partnership with Tata Communications is yet another opportunity for us to bring innovative, cutting edge technology to our properties, and add true value for our business and conference facilities' guests," said Christie Hicks, senior vice president of global sales for Starwood, in a statement. "With global companies under increasing pressure to foster productivity at the least cost, the need for public telepresence rooms is greater than ever. Telepresence that is available on a per use basis enables affordable, high quality communication for the small and medium business or remote regional office worker."