InterContinental Hotels Group has implemented a comprehensive virtual concierge service, "eHost," for its Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts brand.

The move, which is the first by a major hotel chain, is part of the Holiday Inn brand's commitment to developing consumer-enabling technology for the ever-growing community of guests who seek products and services online. "eHost" goes live this week in 14 U.S. Holiday Inn properties as part of the system's beta release.

Accessed via hotels' free high-speed internet access systems, eHost gives Holiday Inn guests 24-hour access to the information normally provided by a traditional concierge, including area dining options, attractions, movies, shopping, transportation, and events in the immediate vicinity of the Holiday Inn where they are staying.

eHost also provides weather and airline information, hotel-specific information and Holiday Inn brand history, as well as email access to the hotel's general manager or staff to provide immediate feedback via an online survey tool. Guests can play games and send ePostcards home to friends and family through eHost. Hotel staff can also access eHost on behalf of their guests.

While traditional concierge services are optional for the Holiday Inn brand, more than 200 U.S. Holiday Inn properties currently offer them, mostly in large metropolitan areas and tourist destinations. Full-scale system implementation of eHost, anticipated by late 2006, will complement rather than replace traditional concierge services at those properties and will allow all Holiday Inn properties to offer concierge services.

Future evolutions of eHost already underway will offer multiple languages (Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, German, French and English) and an online menu and room service module, although several hotels are already offering the menu and room service features ahead of schedule.