It was only a decade ago that business travellers embarking on extended trips abroad were forcibly required to pack everything but the kitchen sink - portable typewriter, tape recorder and endless files, brochures and product samples. With the rapid development of high technology, many of these cumbersome, weighty pieces of luggage were left at company headquarters, the business traveller confident in the knowledge that hotels provided business centres complete with phones, facsimiles and computers. These days were short-lived, however, with the launching of satellites and increasing demand for portable phones and laptops and the provision of instant international communications. Catering to ever-increasing demand, international hotel chains have now designed rooms that are marketed as 'intelligent' and 'smart', providing every required business amenity at guests' fingertips. The Peninsula Group has launched Hi-Tech Hospitality at The Kowloon Hotel through Telcentre - a 14-inch multi- system television linked to a central computer to provide a wide range of information, including up-to-the-minute flight details, incoming messages and hotel bill update. This technology incorporates additional services such as video games, an external audio and video facilities and an outlet for individual headsets to enable guests to watch TV or listen to music without disturbing their partner. Voice- mail, with a facility for calling in to collect messages, is also part of the upgrade. Additionally, on check-in, each guest is now allocated a dedicated e-mail address and private fax number for use in direct and private communications through the in-room telecentre. 'The computerisation programme for The Kowloon Hotel's guest rooms and suites was fully completed in 1995,' said general manager Tim Marsden. 'These new streamlined business centres were installed without sacrificing the aesthetics of the guest rooms. We have also introduced a sophisticated computer package called Fidelio, which pools guest files into one central system with cross- indexing for information. 'For the guest, this means instant replies to almost any kind of inquiry as well as knowledge of each guest's needs in any department from reservations to accounting. 'We have a high rate of return visits from our corporate guests and Fidelio enables us to make sure that their individual needs are fulfilled each time they return.' ITT Sheraton has launched the Sheraton Smart Room, described as a 'Home away from home, an office away from work'. Combining five-star luxury accommodation with a fully functioning office, the 'Smart Room' features tailor- made facilities for the busy executive. The state-of-the-art room facilities are in turn supported by a 24-hour business centre and guaranteed immediate delivery of messages. Currently installed in 42 ITT Sheraton properties throughout Europe and 28 hotels in the US and Canada, ITT Sheraton's 'Smart Room' emphasises a flexible, comfortable work space with the added assistance of the HP Officejet, a combination fax-copier and printer. As business travellers' demands increase, more hotel chains are recognising that the discerning executive will select accommodation based on availability of in-room hi-tech and office facilities - not on the contents of the mini-bar.