Business travellers staying at any of three Quebec-area hotels can now develop their skills sets by using e-learning tools covering subjects like communication, human resources and writing.

Pursuant to the terms of a three-way partnership involving real estate organization Tidan Group of Companies, learning technology firm JED New Media and wireless Internet solutions provider i-Hotel International, guests at the Hôtel Maritime Plaza and Le Nouvel Hôtel, both in Montreal, and the Hôtel Mont Gabriel in Sainte-Adèle will have access to over 150 JEDlet online tutorials.

According to Silvio Sicoli, Tidan Group’s director of operations for hotels, the addition of the online courses comes on the heels of his Montreal-based firm’s implementation of i-Hotel’s wireless solution at the three aforementioned properties.

“If we look at the wave of the future, everything is going wireless,” said Sicoli, stressing that he wanted to take advantage of the Wi-Fi trend. But, he added, incorporating the e-learning tools was more about anticipating future demand and less about meeting current demand. “I, as a hotelier, believe that if my clients are not asking for it today, they will be asking for it tomorrow.”

By mid-November 2004, the wireless solution and e-learning tools will also be rolled out at Tidan’s Hôtel La Saguenéenne in Chicoutimi, Que.

JED, which serves corporations, associations and educational institutions, has over the last two-and-a-half years developed a library of business courses oriented toward business people, said Joanne Duchastel, president of JED New Media in Montreal.

“We found that after 9/11 a lot of customers were asking many people to wear many hats,” said Duchastel, explaining that her company’s JEDlet e-tutorials are important in an era of outsourcing, downsizing and rightsizing. “Everybody was telling us they don’t have the time to go to seminars or to sit in classes all day. And our market advisors have noticed that people need more skills and competencies as the world changes.”

The tutorials will be available in the English, French and Spanish languages, and users will be able to access the materials around the clock. Guests who want to use the tutorials, however, will have to pay a three-, six- or 12-month subscription fee. So, long after they’ve checked out of their hotel rooms, they’ll have access to the e-tutorials they had subscribed to.

Supplying the framework that has made the tutorial offerings viable is i-Hotel, which provides solutions enabling clients to offer secured wireless high-speed Internet access from anywhere in their hotels. Patrons at hotels equipped with i-Hotel software can connect to the Internet without having to change their computers’ network configurations.

“Our company is involved from a behind the scenes perspective,” said Sylvain Boudreau, vice president of business development for i-Hotel International in Montreal. His firm’s solutions are currently running in 97 hotels–translating into just under 10,000 rooms–in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. “We’ve provided the software that makes available wireless Internet access onsite. We’re the transport mechanism to support their solution.”


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