Bored with training videos? Try a videogame

Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:28am EDT
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By John Gaudiosi

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) - Forget boring company training films. A leading hotel chain has teamed with a videogame developer to create a new game to improve their employees' job performance.

Many businesses use serious videogames designed for the PC but Hilton Garden Inn (HGI) has taken the virtual training concept portable for the first time with "Ultimate Team Play".

Working with North Carolina-based game developer Virtual Heroes, HGI has created a videogame for Sony's PSP (PlayStation Portable) that allows employees to practice their jobs before they have to interact with customers.

"Ultimate Team Play" offers timed scenarios focusing on departments like housekeeping, food and beverage, engineering, maintenance and front desk. The hotel chain has sent out 500 PSPs loaded with the game to all of its locations.

"By playing the game and not watching a video or reading a book we have the opportunity to repeat the same message a few times without 'losing' the participants," said David Kervella, senior manager of brand education at Hilton Hotels Corporation.

"Players are learning by doing without making mistakes with real guests," he added.

Kervella said that Virtual Heroes created the game to allow for easy customization to fit any of the 11 Hilton brands. If the HGI test is successful, PSPs will be added to additional hotel brands in the future.

"We've designed the game, which will take five hours to complete, to focus on interactions with guests and every action will impact the guest's mood as well as the hotel's Satisfaction and Loyalty (SALT) scores," said Jerry Heneghan, CEO of Virtual Heroes.   Continued...

<p>Trainees interact with guests virtually in "Ultimate Team Play" on PSP, in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout</p>