Four Seasons In Las Vegas Goes High Tech With New Internet, Networking Services

LAS VEGAS? The new Four Seasons Las Vegas wants to be known for its technical capabilities as well as its high level of service, according to Russ Ketchum, director of information systems. Since mid-July, the 424-room property has been offering new Internet, networking and event technology services that are being utilized by both business and leisure guests. ?Feedback from guests has been very positive,? Ketchum said, adding that the new services have caused a flurry of inquiries from potential guests. The Four Seasons is the only hotel in Las Vegas with a separate data port in every guestroom that offers a standard category 5, 10/100 Ethernet link, according to Ketchum. The Ethernet network enables a variety of custom networking solutions at the hotel. Each room is assigned its own TCP/IP address that allows it to be networked with any other hotel room, meeting room or home office. In addition to the networking capabilities, the system enables guests to access the Internet at a speed up to 50 times faster than a traditional dial-up connection, according to Ketchum, and it doesn?t tie up either of the two phone lines in the room. The guestrooms at the Four Seasons Las Vegas don?t appear different from those at other Four Seasons hotels ?with the exception of the category 5 jack in the wall,? Ketchum said. When a bellman shows a guest to their room, he will explain that the high speed Internet connection is available and advise them that additional information on the technical amenities is available in the guestroom directory. Las Vegas is the venue for many large high-tech conventions such as COMDEX, Ketchum noted. ?This had a lot to do with our wanting to offer the new services,? he said. But serving the leisure traveler is likewise important. ?Many of them don?t travel with their laptops,? he explained. ?And they want to be able to check on stocks and e-mail.? Ketchum predicted conference attendees staying at the Four Seasons Las Vegas will appreciate the data networking capabilities of its meeting and convention space. Event facilities technology and services enable attendees to create local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs) and virtual private networks (VPNs). They also offer high-speed Internet access to any function, according to Ketchum. He added that another unique service at the Four Seasons Las Vegas is Internet broadcasting. Any event can be broadcast to the Internet from the hotel or the event can be captured and placed on any web site for future viewing by a global audience. When the Four Seasons Las Vegas was in the planning stages, ?it was our intention to design a hotel that placed absolutely no restrictions on the customer when it comes to technology,? Ketchum said. ?We?re still trying to get a firm grip on how much use guests are making of the new services,? he added. ?More than anything, the most popular seems to be the high speed Internet access and the extended network to meeting space. They are not yet using the inter-room networking service.? The cable infrastructure combined with the service provider, US Telcom, offers the potential for other unique applications, he indicated. Convention attendees can transfer large files quickly or network with their office to arrange private software or web application demonstrations in their guestroom or at the meeting space. Business people coming to Las Vegas for high-tech conventions such as COMDEX or Networld+Interop are already linked to the Las Vegas Convention Center, Ketchum noted. Guests can set up and test their equipment in their room at the Four Seasons before the show, then network their booth at the convention center to their room at the show. As for the future, Ketchum said the cable infrastructure at the Four Seasons ?will allow us to take advantage of emerging technologies. We always want to be able to provide our guests with the most up to date services and technology available.?