InterContinental is building on the iPad app we reviewed a couple of months ago, and will now let guests chat live with concierges using iPad 2 tablets to plan their business or personal trip before even leaving home.
From next week, InterContinental customers with video-capable iPhone 4, iPod Touch, or iPad 2 devices will also be able to videoconference with an InterContinental concierge at ten hotels.
Customers with Mac laptop or desktop computers with the Facetime Mac app can also videoconference with a concierge.
The concierges, each equipped with the latest iPad 2, are particularly useful sources of information for business travellers, and can save time and effort by making bookings on your behalf.
Savvy business travellers let the concierge organise airport transfers, recommend the perfect local restaurant for meetings and business functions or suggest bars for getting to know work contacts after hours.
Concierges can also provide suggestions for business travellers to make the most of their downtime while staying at the following ten hotels:
- InterContinental New York Barclay
- InterContinental San Francisco
- InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta
- InterContinental Houston
- InterContinental London Park Lane
- InterContinental Dubai Festival City
- InterContinental Shanghai Expo
- InterContinental Hong Kong
- ANA InterContinental Tokyo
- InterContinental Bali Resort
Of course, the Concierge app itself -- for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch -- is still available, and it's still as good as we thought it was in January. The app covers a wider range of destinations, too -- 120 across the InterContinental network.
The full iPad 2 FaceTime concierge program launches at chat.intercontinental.com next week.
But if you're travelling sooner, don't have FaceTime or aren't staying at an InterContinental, use our top tip and call the concierge at your hotel to make arrangements before leaving home.
We find that using a concierge to arrange airport transfers is particularly useful. Whereas car services and their drivers may well give up on individual travellers (who they're unlikely to see again) if flights are delayed, they're less likely to mess around with hotel concierges, who can be big business for them.
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.