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January 10, 2014

Send a Text, Get a Towel: Hotels Try New Concierge Concept

David Wang

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.

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