September 25, 2008

A Plug for Marriotts Because They Plugged Me In

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — tsladmin @ 8:21 am

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.


  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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