It’s quite common for nicer hotels ($99+ per night) to offer amenities like free wi-fi, computer labs, and LCD TV’s to attract the average business traveler and make he or she feel right at home. In fact, many travelers are infuriated by hotels that only offer wireless internet in their lobby and/or charge for it in the rooms. Worse yet, some hotels don’t have wi-fi at all. Furthermore, the hotels that have made many of the current technologies available to their guests treat such features as depreciable long-term assets and will not replace them for another 15 years.
As we all know many of these business people continue to upgrade the technology they use in their homes much more frequently than once every 15 years. This is creating a widening chasm between what business travelers have in their homes and what hotels offer them on the road thus making their overnight stay feel less homely. Often times a separation between what consumers want and what the market has to offer creates an opportunity for small businesses to step in and capture a significant part of the market. Although there really aren’t any national hotel chains that are committed to offering the latest and greatest technologies to their customers, there are a few hotels around the country that do provide quite an impressive array of gadgets for their guests.
The Citizen Hotel of Sacramento, CA has made significant strides to reach out to the technophile/business traveler by offering Joie Connect, a system composed of a Mac Mini, LCD TV, and other electronics. The system allows patrons to be as productive or entertained as they are in their own homes. The system was so impressive that it earned the Citizen Hotel recognition in HotelChatter’s The Best Geek Hotels in the World in 2010 list.
The Fontainebleau of Miami Beach likewise offers some impressive gadgets in each of their rooms including iMacs, advanced sound systems, and LCD TV’s to make their guests feel more at home. The Aria, Vdara, and Mandarin Oriental hotels in Las Vegas offer an interesting gadget in their rooms called Control4. This system allows guests to turn off the lights and television, close the curtains, and activate a do-not-disturb sign on their door with a push of a button. It even allows them to adjust the temperature and music volume in the room! Needless to say, each of these hotels are working hard to help their techie guests feel a little more at home.
It will be interesting to see how large hotel chains with coast-to-coast operations respond to the rapidly-developing and ever-evolving home technology industry. Whether or not they choose to embrace a path of regularly updating the technologies they offer in their hotels is still unclear. However it is very certain that there are a few hotels out there that are making a killing at suppling innovative products to business travelers.
For more information visit Wired.com for their article on high-tech hotels called “Your Computer: Hotel Says Do Leave Home Without It.” by Olivia Koski