Wyndham International found its way into the IT spotlight three times last year, ranking among the Information Week 500 (ranking innovative users of technology) and CIO magazine's CIO100 (for innovative business practices), and earning IT, Operator of the Year from Hospitality Technology. What's all the buzz about? With its online Wyndham ByRequest guest recognition program and wired and wireless high-speed Internet access in guest rooms and meeting rooms, the Dallas-based hotelier is getting noticed for its commitment to technology and its bid to become a leader among high-tech hotels.

ByRequest is a profiling system that enables Wyndham to personalize service at each of its 130 properties. Guests become a ByRequest member by completing a personal profile online (www.wyndhambyrequest.com) or by calling a toll-free number. Their rewards include getting the best available room at check-in, with customized in-room preferences — from choice of snacks and beverages to extra pillows, blankets, and towels.

Wyndham plans to expand this profiling to meeting planner clients with Meetings ByRequest. “It's an initiative we're looking at this year,” says David Riley, vice president, catering and meeting services. “The dream would be to have meeting planners' floor plans, room temperatures, where they like boxes delivered — little things like that — to help them have a positive experience.”

Wyndham's technology initiatives also help planners and guests stay connected while they are on the road. Thanks to a T1 line and a Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) wireless Ethernet network installed at every property, any guest with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop or Ethernet interface card can get in-room high-speed Internet access. Wireless access is available throughout meeting rooms, lobbies, restaurants, and bars. On-site data transfer rates range from a wireless 11 Mbps to a wired Ethernet rate of up to 100 Mbps. Off-property transfer via the Internet is limited to the T1 maximum of 1.5 Mbps.

For meeting planners, Internet-ready meeting space eliminates the cost and lead times required to install temporary lines. Using Wayport Meeting Services, Wyndham properties offer wide area networking as well as optional virtual local area networking between meeting rooms.

Wyndham has also beta-tested wireless reservation and curbside wireless check-in using personal digital assistants. Guests will be able to access ByRequest member profiles and check hotel reservation status using WAP-enabled phones and Palm OS, Palm VII, Windows CE, BlackBerry, and IPAQ devices. With curbside check-in, bellhops will register guests using handheld devices, helping to eliminate long lines at check-in. These applications are under development with no announced rollout date, according to Riley.