Home on the road: business travelers enjoy the comforts and convenience. Technology, too.

Author:Held, Shari

INDIANA HOTELIERS ARE staying ahead of what business travelers want.

"Traveler expectations go in cycles," says Tim Miller, corporate account manager for Conrad Indianapolis. "Ten years ago, technology was at the top of everybody's mind. If a hotel didn't have a data port at that time, it was not even an option for some travelers."

While today's business travelers typically expect complimentary high-speed Internet access, if not wireless, and access to office equipment and supplies, the list doesn't end there.

"Business travelers want all the amenities they have at home in their hotel room," says Rob Evans, general manager, Hilton Fort Wayne at the Grand Wayne Center. "Gone are the days of generic-looking hotel rooms. Enter duvets and larger TVs with good stereo systems, easy-to-use alarm clocks--all the things that they see on the home-improvement shows. These shows have really set a new benchmark for hotels and what our guest business travelers expect when they come to a hotel. We have to make sure that we bring a little bit of home to them."

Enhanced comfort. And what better way to simulate "home sweet home" than by giving travelers a place to relax and a good night's sleep?

Hilton Fort Wayne offers triple-sheeting bedding, duvets, a daily newspaper, curved shower rods and a Serenity bath amenity package that includes stainless-steel accessories and high-quality soaps and shampoos.

Schahet Hotels Inc., which operates six properties in Indianapolis, recently updated its four Hampton Inns as part of Hampton Hotels' "Make It Hampton" initiative. Its "Cloud Nine" bedding experience features pillow-top mattresses, crisp white duvet covers, 200-thread-count sheets, multiple pillow-s that provide a choice of firmness, a lumbar pillow, lap desk and a pre-programmed, easy-to-operate clock/radio. Curved shower rods and Purity Basics-brand products add to the bath experience.

Besides new beds, bedding, quiet-zone floors and guaranteed wake-up calls, the Crowne Plaza's Sleep Advantage Program provides a bevy of sleep-related amenities--eye masks, drapery clips, ear plugs, lavender spray, night lights and a sleep CD with relaxation tips. According to Jim Dora Jr.--president of General Hotels Corp., which owns and manages 10 Indiana hotels, including the Crowne Plaza at Union Station and Holiday Inn Select Airport in Indianapolis--the item that elicits the most comment is the drapery clip.

Conrad Indianapolis boasts exclusive 500-thread-count...

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