HONG Kong's hotel industry can provide its guests with a more pleasant stay if they tap into technology. But how can technology enhance the hospitality business? An Australia-based company, Movielink, which specialises in interactive hotel information and entertainment, has set up a joint venture with Adsale Group here to market its product in the territory. The goal of this venture is to provide software and hardware needed to run the systems and a support team that is home grown. Bill Li, general manager Movielink (Hong Kong) said: 'What is unique about Movielink HK compared to the other providers in the market, is that it is locally produced software and hardware. 'The expertise it gets from its head office in Australia.' It is a company that knows the conditions, manufactures its hardware and software locally to cater for the needs of hotels in Hong Kong, and the product it puts out is not an imported form or converted substitute. It also has the ability to provide services to the hotels as it has a full complement of executives and computer engineers locally deployed. The company not only operates, but also installs, designs and produces tailor-made interactive hotel information and entertainment systems that suit the specific requirement of each individual hotel. The New World Harbour View Hotel has already signed a contract and is in the process of installation. A hotel spokesman said: 'The hotel has already signed a contract with Movielink to upgrade its existing service. The system will be up and running in mid November.' She said that after studying other providers, the hotel decided to go with Movielink because of its good service and its reputation as a reliable business partner. The new service would enhance the in-house movie and other services, and benefit the hotel and its customers. Sino Guzardi, executive chairman at Movielink Corporation had praise for the territory's technology industry, saying it was on a par with the rest of the world. He said: 'When we look into this region, we think of Hong Kong as a market leader in the development of technology. 'The race for technology in Asia is becoming very intense. 'I feel that the hardware and software technology coming out of this region is equal or better than that coming out of North America and Japan. 'What the big players are focusing on is home delivery, and what they are to do now and for the future is to cater to a certain market like the hotel industry. 'With a company like Movielink, which was established 20 years ago, the system was developed in a cumbersome way within Australian configurations. 'But as the company has become more involved with the other countries in the region, Movielink has looked at ways in which it can gain the best advantage and the best work. 'What is important for the future for Movielink Australia and Hong Kong is to have home-grown products, rather than purchasing products from a third party. So, what Movielink has done is create the local conditions and adopt them into those conditions,' Mr Guzardi said. 'The acceptance rate for the locally developed products is very high, as the ability to interface is much easier than dealing with an outside base product. 'The Hong Kong hotel industry is shy because in the past they bought outside-grown products and adopted to them locally. But this is changing, as they do the opposite,' he said. 'So, with this local approach if there is a general manager or front office manager who has a problem with the product or he has a unique approach in what he wants for his guests, then he can talk to the engineer and the software people, and request a product which is tailor-made to his requirements.' The guest, from his in-room television set, can use the service to help make his stay much more pleasant. Companies like Movielink are catering to the needs of the hotel and staying abreast of technology development. The concept of video-on-demand and interactive TV has been accepted as a viable and useful service. Mr Li said the Movielink system used a computer-based set-top-box for each room and a small receiver, with a hand-held control which was easy to operate. It was built in such a way that even a child could follow the instructions that appeared on the screen and operate the service without difficulty. The on-screen presentation depended on the hotel's management and what it required. The presentation could be done in a digitised or moving picture format, but all instructions on the visible pages would be clearly presented in the format best suited to each individual hotel or group. On the main menu the kind of information that could be found would vary from hotel to hotel. Some of the services provided by the system were guest messaging and group-conference messages, bill review, express checkout, hotel information, business information, shopping guide, movie channels, local and satellite TV and a range of other services. The set-top 'smart box' was more than a control unit, he said. It was a future-proof design which housed two dedicated computer systems with enough memory to store more than 50 pages of guest messages and bill information for instant retrieval.