By Mark Chesnut
With new gadgets and more in-room movies and game options than ever before, hotels in the 21st century are making it easy to stay entertained without leaving your room.
Technology is playing an ever-greater in hoteliers’ quest to keep guests happy–and plugged in. In July, LodgeNet Interactive Corporation, a provider of interactive media and connectivity services for the hospitality industry, launched a new Mobile Interactive Program Guide feature for its LodgeNet Mobile Application (available free on iTunes).
The new guide provides property-specific television programming information via mobile devices, making it easier to access programming information–and it also allows you to control the TV in your hotel room using your smart phone or iPad. LodgeNet Mobile is operable in more than 600,000 hotel rooms around the United States and Canada so far–so whether you’re relaxing in Las Vegas hotels, Hawaii hotels or Florida hotels, you won’t miss your favorite show.
Roomlinx Inc., another provider of interactive TV applications for the hospitality industry, in June debuted its new iTV system at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center. The new system provides access to thousands of movies and TV programs through Hulu, Netflix, HBO GO and other online sites.
Individual properties, meanwhile, are introducing their own entertainment options as well. At Forty 1 North, in Newport, Rhode Island, guests can enjoy the use of iTouch and docking station, which allows for seamless viewing of movies downloaded from iTunes on the room’s LED 40-inch flat-screen television. Both the iTouch and the in-room iPads — which contain in-room documents like the hotel directory and room service menu — may be taken to the lobby or restaurant, so that travelers can read the paper, surf the Web and perhaps check into Facebook while they’re dining with colleagues.
In New York City, the The Kimberly Hotel offers multiple options for pleasant distraction, including flat-screen TVs with the requisite satellite channels, movies on demand and video games. In addition, rooms have the Electronic in-room concierge (ICE) system, which allows travelers to organize some of their off-site entertainment as well, thanks to the system’s New York City destination guides, Google Map access and spa reservation service. If your eyes grow weary of staring at screens, not to worry: The Kimberly also provides free delivery of the New York Times from Monday through Saturday–in its good, old-fashioned print form.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He loves watching TV in bed.