U.S. West CityKey, as the service is called, uses interactive CD technology that lets viewers steer through a choice of menus on the television set by remote control. By selecting cuisine, price range and location, for instance, CityKey will list restaurants that fit the specific criteria. Another button will access ads featuring the restaurant's offerings.
A number of hotels feature tourist information on TV screens, but unlike those programs, CityKey is interactive. 'It makes it easier for people to access the information you want them to get,' said Al Falchi, owner of the Waterfront Restaurant and a CityKey advertiser.
More than 1,000 rooms at the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, The Ramada Hotel at Fisherman's Wharf and the Hotel Nikko will serve as test sites during the next six months. If successful, CityKey representatives say they will expand the service to the nation's 20 most widely-traveled cities, as well as select foreign destinations. Presently the system features listings of about 4,000 Bay Area businesses and ads highlighting over 50 businesses.
So far though, all of those businesses are getting a free ride. The company is awaiting the test results before it sets ad rates.
'People want results. They want to see the proof,' said Shannon Saviers, project director for CityKey. 'That's the challenge in the next couple of months. We need to prove this is an effective way to reach the target they want.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)