Send a text, get a towel: Hotels try new concierge concept
At some Loews and Four Seasons hotels, you don't have to pick up a phone to ask for towels, a bottle of wine or even a bowl for your dog's meal.
All you have to do is send a text.
The Four Seasons Philadelphia and three Loews properties - two in Orlando and one in Nashville - have pilot programs that let guests make any request through text messages. The hotels have partnered with a personal texting service called Zingle, which has worked with companies such as McDonald's and Subway.
It works like this: Once you check in, the hotel will register your phone number to your personal "service on demand" profile. You will then be able to text any request, whether you are inside or outside the hotel, for your entire stay. The hotel guarantees that your text will be answered within four minutes.
"To me, texting is about immediacy," says Ford Blakely, chief executive officer of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Zingle. "I think as the world evolves, customer service is about immediate attention - quick, easy attention."
A number of hotels have adopted mobile apps that allow guests to make a wide variety of requests.
Chekitan Dev, marketing professor at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and author of Hospitality Branding, says texting is more appealing because it is more immediate. By Nancy Trejos for USA Today. Click here to read more...
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Put the forecasts from The National Restaurant Association all together, and you get an interesting picture of what we may find on our plates at restaurants soon. We'll see some menu items that were big in 2013 continue to grow next year, as well as some emerging tastes that will be new to many diners. The big trends were popular this year, too, but we'll see interest accelerate in 2014, restaurant-watchers say. Other soon-to-be hot foods are still under the radar, but not for long. Click here to view gallery with top food trends for 2014.