Hotels Try New Features With Test Rooms

Posted on May 14, 2008 

Hotels Try New Features With Test Rooms

Set up last November at the Courtyard by Marriott in partnership with the University of Delaware in Newark, it is a test guest room. It is equipped with everything from waterproof mattresses to the experimental technology of wireless electricity (no plugs) to a specially designed Nintendo Wii game console for travelers. There is also a digital door display that lets guests see who is in the corridor.

Nor is Marriott the only chain with what the lodging industry calls test rooms or room labs. From a hotelier’s perspective, a test room helps demonstrate what is working and what is not, before huge amounts of money are spent on the latest technology or new light bulbs are acquired.

Mike Jannini, executive vice president for brand management at Marriott, agreed that research had gained much more prominence in the business. Hotels, he said, are moving away from segmenting travelers by price point and are instead grouping people by attitude and lifestyle.

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