Sheraton Hotels & Resorts wanted to offer guests interactive touch-enabled computing to enhance their social experience at its hotels. It chose the Windows 8 Enterprise operating system, running on Lenovo All-In-One PCs and tablets, as a platform
to deliver personalized, highly secure computing experiences. With custom apps, such as an online concierge, Sheraton can also capture guest information to improve service delivery and increase its competitive advantage.
With more than 430 hotels in 70 countries, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is the largest brand at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Sheraton differentiates itself by emphasizing the social nature of travel—it provides social hours in the lobby and opportunities
to connect through the Sheraton Club, Sheraton Fitness Programmed by Core Performance, and Sheraton Social Hour featuring premium wines rated 90+ by Wine Spectator.
“When people come together, they’re happier and business guests are more productive,” says Hoyt H. Harper II, Sheraton Global Brand Leader for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “So we create opportunities for social engagement, in the hotel and online. To do this,
we use technology and our relationship with Microsoft as the key enabler.”
The heart of a Sheraton lobby is the Link@Sheraton, experienced with Microsoft, where the hotel provides guests with Lenovo ThinkCentre All-In-One PCs running the Windows 8 operating system that they can use to access the Internet and custom Sheraton content.
“Our guests are excited about technology and they are excited about socializing, so we brought the two together,” says Brennan Gildersleeve, Senior Director of Global Property Technology for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Great Wi-Fi connectivity and our public
PCs provide that context. Guests love our comfortable lounges where they can catch up on Facebook and email, and chat with their fellow travelers.”
||With Windows 8 touch capabilities and modern UI, we can serve guests in an interactive way, delivering a captivating experience. This will maintain our precedence as a leader in the hospitality industry.
| Hoyt H. Harper II
Sheraton Global Brand Leader, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Sheraton wanted to build on the success of Link@Sheraton by adding Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 PCs in bars, restaurants, Sheraton Club lounges, gyms, and spas—and improving its digital communications with guests. “We need exceptional manageability and security
with these computers to maintain guest privacy,” says Gildersleeve. “We have to restore the computer back to its original state between each guest’s session. It’s a challenging environment and Windows 8 is the only operating system offering the ability to
easily remote manage the devices.”
Sheraton found the right computing platform to meet these challenges with the Windows 8 Enterprise operating system. Windows 8 Enterprise improves upon the security and mobile device manageability features available in Windows 7 Enterprise and offers
intuitive, multitouch computing. IT staff can use Windows 8 Enterprise to enhance the reliability, customization, and security of the publicly deployed computers at Sheraton. To help protect information on the PCs, IT staff uses the BitLocker encryption technology
that is included with the latest operating system. IT staff is also using Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0, part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, which simplifies BitLocker deployment.
“We had a fantastic relationship with Microsoft Services Consulting. The team helped us to develop a template for the Windows 8 Enterprise experience that has 90 percent of the work done, and each hotel can add its own specific information,” says Gildersleeve.
“Now we can accelerate our deployment of the new operating system to 1,000 Lenovo ThinkCentre All-In-One and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 PCs to 430 hotels around the world. The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablets are phenomenal and they provide the mobility that we are looking
The IT staff uses third-party applications, such as Provisio SiteKiosk and Faronics Deep Freeze to manage and restore the PCs back to their original state between guest sessions. “Windows 8 Enterprise is by far the best platform to help secure PCs and provide
session management and remote support for a public-use computing environment,” says Gildersleeve.
The IT staff is also creating interactive apps that take advantage of touch computing. Its “virtual concierge” app works with Bing map technology to offer guests information on local attractions and is easily updated by Sheraton concierges.
By using Windows 8 Enterprise on Lenovo touchscreen PCs and tablets, Sheraton can boost its competitive advantage and improve customer service. Looking ahead, the hotel giant can increase its connections with guests by offering Windows 8 apps on tablets
throughout the hotel. “With Windows 8 touch capabilities and modern UI, we can serve guests in an interactive way, delivering a captivating experience,” says Harper. “This will maintain our precedence as a leader in the hospitality industry.”
Windows 8 Enterprise is the optimal computing platform to emphasize the Sheraton brand and the concept of social hubs because of the interactive and intuitive nature of the operating system. “Guests notice the screens immediately; they like the live tiles
and the modern apps on the start page—there’s no intimidation factor,” reports Gildersleeve.
And Sheraton can use Windows 8 apps to deliver custom information to its guests and build better long-term relationships. “With Windows 8, we can curate relevant, timely content for our guests to enjoy the same fun, interactive experience on a PC or a mobile
device in different venues around the hotel,” says Gildersleeve.
Looking forward, Sheraton will explore different ways to create a more unique and on brand experience with its guests using Windows 8 modern apps. These apps can provide guests with information about the hotel, its offerings, and local attractions and act
as a valuable source of information that Sheraton can use to build customer connections.
“With the introduction of customized Windows 8 modern apps, we can offer guests unique experiences to support our Social Hour program to view wine lists and explore wineries and vineyards, and then share that information with friends,” says Harper. “We can
record their favorite wines, so we know what to anticipate for their next visit and we can create personalized experiences. Our work with Windows 8 is just beginning.”
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