First came video conferencing, which did wonders for saving time, energy and the environment. Now, “telepresencing” has brought the technology to a new level, giving virtual face-to-face meetings a new dimension of intimacy and clarity. And among the quickest to adopt it have been the hospitality providers, who not only believe it enhances guest satisfaction, but is a good new income stream.

Below are the brands, which have taken the step and made hefty investments in telepresencing:

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
The Mumbai-based group pionered the technology, which it has rolled out successively at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Mumbai, Taj West End Bangalore, 51 Buckingham Gate UK and Taj Boston – while helping other hospitality brands set up their own services. Charges differ across the various Taj properties with the maximum being US$500. Guests can also purchase pre-paid credit in advance, which can be used at any of the TelePresence suites across the network.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts:
In June this year, Starwood first introduced telepresence meeting suites in disparate parts of the globe: W Chicago City Centre and Sheraton on the Park in Sydney. The hotel chain plans to introduce more throughout its global portfolio.

Rendezvous Hotel Singapore
This regional hotel brand was the first to introduce the telepresence product to Singapore in June this year. Its facility can accommodate 18 people – six on either side of the connection. It is available at US$392 per hour.

JW Marriott
“Virtual Meetings by Marriott” is offered at the JW Marriott Hong Kong and JW Marriott Shanghai. In Hongkong, the suite, measuring 65sqm, is located on the 30th floor, while in Shanghai it is on the fifth floor. At both properties, the service is available on a 24-hour basis and room rental is US$500 an hour.

Crowne Plaza St James London
Available from £250 (US$389) per hour, the telepresence suite at this four-star property is the second of its kind in London after 51 Buckingham Gate of Taj Hotels.

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Alisha Haridasani