Wingate Inns Sets Industry Standard by Introducing Latest Technologicalenity -- High-Speed Internet Access

01:02 p.m Oct 29, 1998 Eastern

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--October 29, 1998--

Becomes First National Hotel Chain to Offer High-Speed Internet Access in Every Wingate Inn(R) Hotel Guestroom

As travelers' demand for email and Internet services within hotels accelerates at astronomical speeds, so do their expectations. Today, more than the need for connectivity, is the want for high-speed connectivity. Recognizing this trend, Wingate Inns announced today that it is installing high-speed connections in all of its guestrooms, which will allow users to access the Internet at speeds up to 50 times faster than conventional data ports. The chain plans to have every Wingate Inn hotel room furnished with high-speed connectivity by March 1999.

Wingate Inns International, Inc. is unveiling the amenity tonight at the grand opening of its 50th Wingate Inn hotel in Maryland Heights, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis). It selected ATCOM/INFO to provide the IPORT(tm) Internet Access System at the hotel. IPORT is a complete, turnkey solution to the business traveler's need for convenient high-speed access to email, the Internet and corporate networks. It allows Wingate Inn hotel guests to connect to the Internet, through ports installed in the guestrooms, from any personal laptop computer that is equipped with a standard 10BaseT Ethernet card and cable.

To start a high-speed Internet session at the St. Louis property, Wingate Inn hotel guests will simply insert their computer Ethernet cable plug into an IPORT jack and double-click their web browser. Instantly, they're connected to the Internet over a T1 line that circumvents the hotel's PBX system. IPORT will allow guests to connect to the Internet without the need to reconfigure their laptop or install any client software.

"Providing high speed Internet access for our hotels guests is just the next step in keeping Wingate Inn hotels ahead of the competition in terms of advanced technological amenities," explains John Paul Nichols, president and CEO of Wingate Inns International, Inc. "When business or leisure travelers check into hotels today, they expect the same advanced technology that's available to them at home or in the office. These travelers expect to have the ability to quickly access their email or favorite website directly from their guestroom, and IPORT enables guests to connect to the Internet at speeds up to 50 times faster than conventional data ports, which we also offer in every guestroom."

Nichols continues, "Adding this amenity also provides intangible benefits to our franchisees. In addition to providing a high value service to guests, high-speed Internet access offers a competitive advantage over other hotels. This amenity allows Wingate Inn general managers to market their properties as the best for business travelers, as well as business meetings, since the high-speed Internet access will also be available in their boardroom and meeting rooms. Once a guest gets a sample of this amenity, we hope to see them choose only a Wingate Inn hotel in all their future business or leisure trips."

Tom Caldwell, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at ATCOM/INFO, adds, "We're very excited about the Wingate Inn hotel in Maryland Heights utilizing IPORT to launch the brand's high speed Internet access amenity. Wingate Inns continues to provide guests with the advanced technological amenities that they've come to expect in everyday life. With the IPORT system, guests at the Wingate Inn hotel in Maryland Heights will not only receive high-speed Internet access, but also a rich set of Internet services and functionality that go beyond mere dial-up capabilities."

At the heart of the IPORT system is a Microsoft Windows NT(R)-based local area network (LAN) installed at each Wingate Inn hotel. The SQL Server-based LAN is linked to a local internet service provider by a high-speed T1 phone line. IPORT was developed jointly by Microsoft Consulting Services and ATCOM/INFO.

Based in San Diego, ATCOM/INFO is a leading provider of public high-speed Internet systems for the 21st century. ATCOM/INFO's mission is to provide superior software products and services for information delivery to users in public places. This includes pay-per-use public Internet ports, kiosk management software, and custom software solutions designed to meet specific customer needs. The company's Internet systems are targeted for use in public facilities and the hospitality market segment throughout the United States and the world, including airports, hotels, convention centers and other public areas. For more information on ATCOM/INFO, please call 619-699-4003, fax at 619-699-4040, or visit their Web site at

Wingate Inns International, Inc. is an all-new-construction hotel chain that was launched in April 1995. Its focused service, upper mid-market hotels feature sophisticated, consumer-based technology and comfortable, oversized rooms that were created in response to business travelers' needs. The chain is presently averaging one new hotel opening per week and should have 63 open before year-end and 130 open in 1999. There are presently 50 Wingate Inn hotels open throughout the nation and reservations can be made by calling Wingate Inns' toll-free reservation center at 1.800.228.1000. For more information on Wingate Inn hotels, visit the company's website at Wingate Inns International, Inc. is a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE: CD).

Copyright 1998, Business Wire

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