If you've seen one crystal-chandeliered ballroom, you've seen them all. So how's a meeting hotel to distinguish itself these days?
Through its service.
From bringing back the page to providing diapers on command, here are a few of the new offerings your attendees might enjoy at their next conference: * Ever miss a fax at a hotel? It won't happen anymore at the Waterfront Centre Hotel in Vancouver, which has reinstated the page. Donning the traditional uniform (pillbox hat, white gloves, and silver tray), the hotel page is personally responsible for fax and message deliveries, lobby paging, and elevator assistance.
* For meetings where attendees bring the kids, diapers are available at a moment's notice at one of Noble House Hotels & Resorts' eight properties (though Noble House President Phil Brown probably won't be the one to deliver them).
* For meetings where attendees bring the kids, Noble House Hotels & Resorts has introduced "family amenities" at its eight properties in Texas, Florida, Washington, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Among the items guests can request are baby food, baby joggers, cribs, diapers, high chairs, kid-carrier backpacks, snugglies, crayons, children's books, and strollers.
* Break your brown shoelace? Forget your black socks? It's no problem at the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, a Four Seasons Regent Hotel, which now offers a list of 100 items that guests can call for and receive within minutes. Through the "I Need it Now" program, a guest can call the concierge or housekeeping and get a dress shirt, a blender, saline solution, and more, 24 hours a day.
* At the Royal Garden Hotel, London, meeting executives can hire or negotiate a Private Car Service. Two Audi A8 sedans, driven by uniformed chauffeurs, will meet VIPs at Heathrow, drive them to meetings, shopping, or the theater. The trip from the airport in a car stocked with coffee, juice, and soft drinks costs about $60.
* Car trouble in Dresden, Germany? If you're staying at the Dresden Hilton, you can relax. The mechanics in the hotel's working garage will not only fix your car-they'll clean it for you.
* The Inter-Continental Sao Paulo, Brazil knows that business travelers can't carry everything with them. So the hotel has introduced its "Business Room Service." Within 15 minutes, a guest can have delivered to his or her room a cell phone, printer, color printer, computer, CD-ROM drive, copier, fax machine, or paper shredder.
* Another Presidente Inter-Continental, this one in Mexico City, is also increasing its service to the business traveler, with personal help at the business center. Not computer literate? A staffer will take notes in longhand, type into a computer, and print it out then or later, at no charge.