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.
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.
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?
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:
- Truly high speed
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.
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 (s aapl) 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?