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Summary:

A few recent experiences on the road left me feeling like I was doing my 21st century job in very 20th century hotel rooms. It got me thinking about what my wish list would be for the web worker hotel room of the future. Power The […]

A few recent experiences on the road left me feeling like I was doing my 21st century job in very 20th century hotel rooms. It got me thinking about what my wish list would be for the web worker hotel room of the future.

Power

The typical hotel room is currently vastly lacking in power. Usually there are two desk-level outlets, a pair of vanity outlets, and a couple of inaccessible outlets behind the nightstand. Typically, none of them have transformer-friendly positions or spacing.

Hotel-Room

Here’s where I would put power in the business traveler’s hotel room of the future:

  • Desk. I’d put four outlets, spaced to accommodate transformers.
  • Nightstand. I’d embed transformer-friendly outlets in the top for overnight charging of cellphones and similar devices.
  • Wall. Outlets would be placed near any seating area or surface that could hold charging items.

Many business hotels have beautiful common areas such as atriums that would be wonderful alternatives to being trapped in your room, working all evening if only they had power points. Many of these areas currently advertise they are Wi-Fi equipped. How about wiring these areas for power as well?

Hotel-Lobby

Internet

Just as important as power is Internet connectivity. “More, better, faster” is my mantra for the business traveler’s hotel room of the future, because most current hotel Internet access is designed to handle only basic tasks such as checking email or surfing the web. Current hotel systems usually quickly choke on bandwidth-heavy tasks such as video or graphic file transfers, or VoIP calls.

The hotel of the future should have Internet access that is:

  • WiFi
  • Secure
  • Truly high speed
  • Smartphone-accessible

And Internet access should be included in the base room rate. Hotels don’t treat water and power as optional add-ons. Internet should be treated as a basic utility as well.

Gadgets

Now I want to get a little fancier than just basic services. I want some gadgets!

  • Monitor. I get tired of squinting at my portable but sometimes too small 13” MacBook screen all day when I’m on the road. A monitor on the room’s desk that I could plug into would be a nice amenity.
  • Notebook Safe. I do sometimes leave my hotel room without my laptop, such as for an evening’s entertainment. Leaving it unsecured in a hotel room makes me nervous, though. A notebook-sized safe (currently, a rare room amenity) would make me feel more secure.
  • Accessible TV Inputs. A few forward-thinking hotels have installed flat-panel TVs that have front-facing jack panels for easier guest access. This is great for viewing media from an iPod or practicing presentations, and should be a standard business hotel feature.
  • iPod-compatible clock radios. A few higher-end hotels are installing units such as the iHome for their guests. It’s both a nice home-like touch and a practical way to charge your unit.
  • Surge Protectors. Quality surge protectors from a generally trusted company would be a great amenity in a room, just like hairdryers and irons are frequently offered.
  • Equipment Rental. The tradional business center is rapidly losing its usefulness. How about renting equipment to travelers like MiFi units, portable scanners and Flip cameras instead?

What would make your web worker life on the road easier? What is your hotel of the future wish list?

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  1. I’d suggest the notebook safe be placed right on the desk or nightstand… wherever a guest likes to use it.

    And don’t forget an espresso maker in every room. :)

    Or, should each hotel room to have a high-power, super-convenient, browser-based computer already installed? Actually, it should have a few so that each guest could use one.

  2. I’m a geek and the weirdest things I found in today’s hotels is that even if you pay 150+ euro for a room for 1 night (pullman hotel for example), you have to pay 10 more euro to have just an internet access (wifi)! What a shame when you know that they offer me a bottle of wine (I don’t like wine).

  3. Great article for a Friday. We recently stayed at a Sleep Inn and were disappointed by no jacks in the television for the kids to plug in their Xbox. However, they were kind enough to let the kids play in the lobby on the big flat screen.

  4. Absolutely agree!! there should be hotels like this that focuses on web workers or freelancers that are traveling everywhere, I have an idea I will fund an hotel like this :D just after my Technology Institute and let you all know hehe

  5. Better chairs (Aerons) in the rooms would be nice. Bluetooth mice and keyboards could be handy, too.

  6. Wyndham does have the Aerons, or did last I stayed in one (Baltimore).

    1. Nice! I will bear that in mind, thanks Brad. Actually, I think the last Hilton I stayed in had an Aeron, but it was broken.

  7. Have you noticed that the fancier the hotel, the more they charge you for the internet? And they dare to call it “High-Speed”…really a joke.
    And I agree completely about the power outlets. I’m staying this week in a Conrad Hotel in Singapore, and I had to unplug the coffeemaker so I can charge my mobile phone. There is one outlet behind the desk for the laptop, none other in the room. So if I had any other gadgets with me, I would be SOL.

    1. Yes, it’s crazy that cheaper hotels often have free internet, while “business class” hotels (4-star) charge for it. I think (hope!) we’ll see that change soon. For example, at Omni hotels if you join the loyalty program (free) you get free wifi.

  8. Can Brad Pitt Save an Independent Studio? : Floriday Properties Monday, August 24, 2009

    [...] hotel room of the future. Web Worker Daily takes gripes about hotels one step further and imagines the ideal hotel room for the 21st century worker. Instead of a couple of outlets behind the nightstand, Nancy Nally suggests four outlets, spaced to [...]

  9. Leonid Mamchenkov Monday, September 7, 2009

    While there a few good “wishlist” points in this post, I don’t think it quite qualifies for “future”. There are many hotels around Europe which already offer all of these features. Typically, you’ll find a broadband Internet connection, which is often free of charge. WiFi coverage is trickier due to some buildings being rather large and complex in structure, but public areas are often covered. Plenty of power around the hotel – rooms, lobbies, etc. There is almost always a business centre in the hotel, with Internet access, power outlets, and computers available. Safe boxes in most hotels I’ve stayed at have no troubles fitting my 15″ laptop. And so on and so forth.

    Heck, there are even hotels (albeit much less accessible at $1,000+ USD / niht) like Burg Al Arab in Dubai, which have every room equipped with laptops.

    All that is here now. Maybe not in every hotel, but in plenty of them. There is nothing futuristic about it.

  10. Room access using my own credit card rather than hotel keycard would also be near top of my list.

    1. Yes, that would be great, although could there then be security concerns (skimmer devices hidden in the hotel door readers?)

    2. I like the keys they use now and don’t see any significant benefit for using my credit card to access the hotel and rooms.

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