Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Computers as the next in-room battlefront?

I was at first surprised to see the recent report that Fontainebleau Resorts will be including an iMac computer in each one of its 5,300 rooms at their iconic Miami property (currently being renovated) as well as at the company's under-construction Las Vegas hotel-casino.

The $15 million that Fontainebleau is spending is but a fraction of the $500 million being put into the Miami renovation alone. But I wonder if it's sort of a shot across the bow, a new battle over what customers will demand of in-room technology in the future. How near are we to the day where wireless access isn't enough? I just saw an article last week about how some business travelers are leaving their laptops at home. They're relying on a combination of smart phones and flash drives, hooking up with a computer at a business center, when need be. So this Fontainebleau move seems to make sense, playing to that trend.

Fontainebleau will have its iMacs preloaded with iTunes playlists created by celebrities, certainly a cool move. And the fact that they're focusing on Apple computers is also intriguing and exciting. (Full disclosure: although I own a PC at home, I use a new MacBook at work, and just love it.)

Is this the next fight brewing in the lodging technology wars? It will certainly be an interesting trend for us all to watch.


Peter said...

Why did you guys call it a "battle front"? The hoteliers always take the stance that things guests "want", "desire", or "request" are epxensive, a burden, or yet another capital expenditure.

Remember, if it weren't for pleasing the guests and their wishes, we wouldn't be in business to begin with.

The title of the article should be "Guests decide that Computers are the next Item of Importance they Seek in Guestroom Amenities"

It completely changes the TONE of the article.

Keep writing! I love your publication.



Paul J. Heney said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Peter.

The title was completely my doing. Unlike with the magazine, where we have whole meetings just to talk about headlines, the blog is a more personal, opinionated place. We're getting our whole editorial staff involved, and you'll be able to get to know each of us better.

I'm new to the industry, so I'm not sure you can (yet) accuse me of siding with the hoteliers, I come at things more from my own background as a business and leisure traveler.

I certainly appreciate your passion and reasoning ... and if nothing else, my headline got us started on this worthwhile discussion. Please keep reading our new blog as we grow into it, and thank you for your continued support.

Anonymous said...

I am new to this blog and also new to the industry. But as a business traveller it was nice to know that the hotel has pro-actively thought of my needs. Recently i was at Holiday-inn and was impressed to see beautiful grantie, furniture and plasma TVs. I talked to the owner and turns out his business had grown after the upgrade.