Monday, June 17, 2013

Myspace for the New Generation

With all the various social media sites we have to choose from, some are quickly forgotten. Myspace use has significantly declined since the introduction of Facebook, but it is now making a comeback with a focus on music. The whole website is redesigned to make it easy for users to share and connect with others who have similar music interests.

Myspace recently launched a mobile music app that will compete with other popular music streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify. It allows users to create their own radio stations or listen to ones created by popular artists, such as Justin Timberlake and Lady Antebellum. The goal is also for artists to showcase their music and build their fan following by uploading photos, videos, and promoting concerts. Will the new Myspace music app become more widely used than current popular streaming apps or will it be forgotten about again?

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Friday, June 14, 2013

New Facebook Feature: #Hashtags

Hashtags for trending topics are widely used on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. On these sites hashtags are clickable links that show what others have posted about a particular topic. However, until this week one of the most popular networking sites, Facebook, allowed users to include hashtags in posts, but they did not link to anything.

The new hashtag feature on Facebook will allow users to see a feed of posts tagged with the same hashtag. Users will also be able to use the search bar to view whatever hashtag they want in a separate hashtag feed. This will allow them to connect to the wider Facebook community instead of just their friends. It can also be used as a marketing tool for companies by including industry keywords in hashtags or to promote an event in a similar way to Twitter.

While both are popular social networking sites, Twitter’s focus is to keep users updated on relevant topics and Facebook focuses more on connecting with others. However, now that Facebook can also be used to view trending topics, do you think the use of Twitter will become obsolete?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Room with a View: Hotels around the World

The view can be a crucial part of the guest experience; many hotels have capitalized on this, especially ones next to iconic landmarks. Let’s take a look at a few hotel rooms with one-of-a-kind views…

The Park Hyatt in Sydney Australia offers rooms with private balconies that look out onto the famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Guests can also get a great view of fireworks and festivals from the hotel’s rooftop terrace.

From the Shangri-La Paris you can see the Eiffel Tower and Paris skyline. While it is a smaller hotel, a majority of the rooms allow guests to directly view the Eiffel Tower. The property is also within walking distance of the Guimet Museum, home to one of the largest collections of Asian art.

The Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel right next to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Guests also have exclusive access before crowds of tourists visit, allowing them to take in breathtaking views of the ruins, mountains, and jungle.

Trends come and go, but people will always want a hotel with an amazing view – at least we think so!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hotel Lost & Found for the 21st Century

Ever stay at a hotel and realize you forgot something once you’re already back at home? Sometimes it may seem easier to just replace the item instead of going through the trouble of contacting the hotel and trying to locate it.

A new company, Chargerback, has created an online service that allows hotels to post descriptions of lost items. Guests can go to the website to search for lost items and are able to enter the description of their items and Chargerback will send a notification if there is a match. This service is of no cost to hotels and customers only have to pay for shipping fees. This eliminates hotel employees having to manually log in lost items.

One of many travelers’ biggest fears is losing something of value – this new service allows them to utilize the internet to easily get their items back. Sounds like a win/win to us! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Pod Hotels: The Newest Destination for Millennials

Today’s 20-somethings have been raised on technology and it is an integral part of their lives. Pod hotels, which have less space, but state of the art features, cater to this group.

Pod 39 offers unique and affordable accommodations in New York City. These rooms appeal to groups since they offer bunk beds. The bathrooms feature an electronic display that notifies you if someone is in it. Pod 39 also offers an indoor/outdoor garden cafĂ© and a rooftop deck so guests can socialize. 

Minute Suites is conveniently located in the Atlanta International Airport so you can catch up on sleep while you’re waiting for your flight. Each suite offers a daybed sofa, pillows, and blankets and is designed to neutralize noise. If you don’t necessarily want to take a nap, but want a quiet space to work, the suites also offer a desk and office chair.

NiteNite Hotel is located in Birmingham, England nearby popular museums, restaurants, and stores. Just because the rooms are small, doesn't mean guests have to sacrifice technology. All rooms have plasma TVs and free Wi-Fi with access to computers being offered in the lobby.

By combining the latest technology with a lower price point, pod hotels may have created an irresistible travel destination for millennials. Do you think these unique hotels can compete with traditional hotels?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Creating Tomorrow, Today

Marriott Hotels has created a 10,000 square foot Innovation Lab underneath its headquarters in Bethesda, ML. Anyone from Marriott employees to guests can experiment and create new ideas to transform the traditional guest experience.

Paul Cahil, the senior vice president of management of Marriott hotels describes it as “tapping into the best technology to create an ever-changing lab for innovation, experiencing ideas, exploring concepts, and receiving instant feedback from guests.” Because feedback is instantaneous, Marriott can try out new ideas and get instant reactions from their guests before implementing them at its various properties. Parts of the Innovation Lab are mobile allowing for the placement of beds and couches to be experimented with to find the best positioning for guests.

When guests walk into the Innovation Lab, they can see a gallery with high tech LED images projected on walls; setting the scene for Marriott's newest designs. Moving past the gallery, there is a “Contribution Wall” where guests can impact future innovations by sharing their own ideas, or simply by saying what they do and don’t like when they stay in hotels.

By allowing guests to be directly involved with the design process, Marriott has created a whole new way to improve guests’ hotel experiences.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Digital Check-In

Having to check-in at a hotel’s front desk is becoming a thing of the past. Recent trends show that hotels are allowing guests to quickly check-in to their rooms with minimal effort or before they even arrive at the hotel.

InterContinental Hotels Group offers digital check-in kiosks at its Crown Plaza Hotels. Guests receive a bar code in a confirmation email the day before their stay that they can then scan upon their arrival. This code can also be scanned at the kiosk from guests’ smart phones. Not enough time-saving power? How about the fact that these kiosks also immediately print out room keys regardless of the number you need! This type of check-in seems to be especially appealing to millennials who tend to always have their smart phones with them.

Another hotel group to move towards this technology trend is Hilton Worldwide. An online check-in option is now offered at various Homewood Suites properties. Guests can select their room online by viewing a virtual floor plan. Once guests arrive all you need is an ID to pick up your room keys.

With hotels increasingly using new technological advancements on their properties, it only seems fit that checking-in can also be done digitally. So what’s next?