Tuesday, April 29, 2008

X Marks the Test Room

It is known simply as the X-room.

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.

“In the last five years there’s been more research on what the consumer wants than at any time during my 40 years in the industry,” said Joseph McInerney, chief executive and president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Read the entire article in the New York Times.

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