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Sheraton Hotels Unveils New IT System

Employees at more than 200 Sheraton Hotels are using a new online system to coordinate fast responses to guests' complaints and unmet needs.

When a Sheraton hotel employee enters the report of a guest's problem in the Starguest Response system, a clock starts ticking. If the maintenance staff, maid-service staff, or other group designated to manage a particular issue doesn't respond within a time predetermined by hotel management, the color of the notice appearing on an employee or departmental PC will change from green to yellow and finally to red. Code-red notices sometimes prompt the hotel to offer the guest a gift, a rebate, or a free room to compensate for the delay.

The system, rolled out in 210 Sheratons owned by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. over the past 18 months, is helping the company stand out for the quality of its services, says Israel Del Rio, Starwood's VP of emerging technologies. "Starguest Response is one reason Starwood is gaining market share from the competition," Del Rio says.

Starwood reported that revenue per available room, a standard industry measure, was up 8.8% to $85.96 a night in the fourth quarter of 2003 compared with the same period in 2002 for the Sheraton chain. Market share for Starwood, which also owns Westin and W hotels, was up 2.3% in the fourth quarter, according to research firm Smith Travel Research.

Manhattan's Sheraton Hotel is one of 210 hotels featuring the Starguest Response system to enhance guest services.

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