September 25, 2008

A Plug for Marriotts Because They Plugged Me In

Ear­lier this week, I stayed at the Mar­riott Metairie hotel in New Orleans, because I was in town to give a pre­sen­ta­tion for SOLINET. I’ve been stay­ing in Hamp­ton Inn hotels when­ever pos­si­ble lately, because they have very com­fort­able beds, offer free wifi, and pro­vide free break­fast (all at a great price), so I haven’t been in an upgraded Mar­riott lately. Let me tell you, though, that if more Mar­riotts are upgrad­ing to be like the Metairie, I may just be switch­ing, because this was the most awe­some, techno room I’ve ever stayed in.

At first, I was just thrilled to see the read­ing lights on the head­board and the easily-accessible out­lets near the bed. And of course there was a nicely-largish LCD TV. These touches are much appre­ci­ated, but what actu­ally made me gasp out loud was the A/V panel. Yes, you read that right, the A/V panel.

picture of the A/V panel

Appar­ently this is part of a ser­vice called Plug into Mar­riott, and it’s a trav­el­ing geek’s dream come true. In fact, I’d love to have one of these in every room in my house! The panel has four surge-protected out­lets, an eth­er­net port, an audio-in port, RCA jacks, an S-Video port, a com­puter video port, and even a mem­ory card reader. This means you can plug in your lap­top (to do work or watch a DVD), an MP3 player to lis­ten to music, a dig­i­tal cam­era to view pic­tures, or a cam­corder to watch videos. You can even plug in a game con­sole, and in fact they actu­ally encour­age this by includ­ing this infor­ma­tion in the doc­u­men­ta­tion. Equally impor­tant, the hotel pro­vides all of the cables, since most of us don’t carry these things around.

picture of the cables

The doc­u­men­ta­tion could use a lit­tle help (it tells you to use the TV/video but­ton to get to the dif­fer­ent options, but the old remote in my room only had a “func­tion” but­ton that I cor­rectly guessed would do the trick), and the split-screen for working/watching never kicked in, but I was able to watch TV shows on Hulu and lis­ten to music from my iPod through the tele­vi­sion set.

picture of the TV screen

This whole con­cept is a great exam­ple of say­ing “yes” and mak­ing things eas­ier for cus­tomers, as opposed to say­ing “no,” which is what most hotels do by dis­abling the ports on the back of the TV in the room. It’s a good les­son for libraries how easy it is to make the user expe­ri­ence better.

Plug into Marriott screenshot

There’s a direc­tory of “plugged-in” Mar­riotts on the site, and it looks like there are quite a few of them. I’ll def­i­nitely be look­ing at these as I travel, although real­is­ti­cally, if the rooms cost sub­stan­tially more and I then still have to pay for inter­net access on top of that price, I’m likely to stay with my Hamp­ton Inns. Still, this appeals to the geek in me, and I think it shows how dig­i­tal our media is becom­ing, as well as how expec­ta­tions around using that media con­tinue to march forward.

Be Socia­ble, Share!


  1. […] out her post for some great screen shots and […]

    Pingback by Marriott Hotels and “Yes” « Shaping Libraries — September 25, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  2. It’s an inter­est­ing business-travel phe­nom­e­non: the higher-priced hotels *charge* for the ameni­ties — inter­net access, break­fast, etc. — that more and more *moderate*-priced hotels include in their base fee.

    Comment by Alice Yucht — September 25, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

  3. Wowza! How many times I’ve wished for some­thing like this in a Hamp­ton or other Hilton fam­ily hotels. Hilton are you listening????

    Comment by pollyalida — September 25, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  4. Oh, be still my heart. Looks like it will be at Mon­terey Mar­riott too! Yippeeee!

    Comment by Susan — September 25, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

  5. we are try­ing to out­fit the rooms in our youth wing expan­sion with sim­i­lar flex­i­bil­ity at the flat screens in meet­ing rooms, tech rooms and teen rooms. hope we can make it happen.

    Comment by sylvie szafranski — September 26, 2008 @ 6:23 am

  6. That’s the reac­tion we were hop­ing for, so thanks. We’re installing these pan­els through­out our JW Mar­riott, Mar­riott and Renais­sance hotels first.

    Comment by John — September 29, 2008 @ 9:37 am

  7. This is the “plug in” device, or a least one model, that they are using:

    RJP-101M — Auto-Sensing Remote Jack Pack from LG Com­mer­cial. UPC 719192170667

    Retail price $300, expect to get a big % dis­count if you buy from the right place or in quantity.

    Comment by Edward Vielmetti — September 29, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  8. I had the same plea­sure in the Mar­riott at Wash­ing­ton — if only all hotels thought of their tech-hungry guests!

    Comment by Paul Bevan — September 30, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

  9. While you men­tioned all the devices you could plug in.….I usu­ally am shar­ing a room. So look­ing for plugs is often an adven­ture. If you have two lap­tops and two cell phones and then want to plug in any periph­er­als, you are often SOL. Last week­end for fun, I was in the French Quar­ter and one of the only out­lets I could find was behind the bed, and I wound up unplug­ging the clock to plug some­thing else in! I have made a com­ment about this on every hotel sur­vey I have received recently.…

    Thanks for a great, pos­i­tive post, Jenny!

    Comment by Michael Golrick — October 2, 2008 @ 8:45 am

  10. Mini exten­sion cord here

    I have a lit­tle blaze orange cube tap with three out­lets on it that I carry when trav­el­ing, never have a prob­lem find­ing power because you can share.

    Comment by Edward Vielmetti — October 2, 2008 @ 8:47 am

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