Revenues for the North American teleconferencing industry broke the $4 billion dollar mark in 1995, according to the International Teleconferencing Association (ITCA), and were expected to reach $4.9 billion in 1996. ITCA says videoconferencing revenues topped all other forms of teleconferencing for the third consecutive year, producing $2.3 billion in 1995, a nearly 50 percent increase over the 1994 total. There are currently an estimated 100,000 two-way interactive videoconferencing rooms in North America.

Responding to the trend, major hotel chains have made significant investments in videoconference technology. Hilton Hotels has created the Hilton Videoconferencing Network in conjunction with Affinity VideoNet, AT&T Global Business Video Services, and Colortone. There are currently eight properties in the system. The rate, including room rental for up to 12 persons, starts at $175 per hour with a one-hour minimum and half-hour increments thereafter. There is a scheduling fee of $50. Call the Hilton Videoconferencing Network at (800) 899-4151.

ITT Sheraton recently joined up with VueCom to launch GlobalVue, a global videoconferencing network available in nine Sheraton hotels and planned for more than 100 hotels worldwide by year-end. Fees for access to the videoconferencing network will vary. Call GlobalVue at (888) 4-VUECOM.

And Marriott Hotels, Resorts & Suites and the Marriott Meetings Network, a group of 41 select Marriott meeting hotels, has announced the world's largest dedicated satellite broadcast videoconferencing network (for public and private use). Permanent satellite videoconferencing is now available at more than 120 Marriott properties in 84 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Call Marriott Videoconferencing at (847) 318-1234.