The Future of Hotel Technology | Part VIII: Private Workspaces

By Dan Lulich, Chief Technology Officer, Eleven Wireless

Lobby Computers Aren’t Always Enough

The needs of today’s business travelers are changing. In our increasingly mobile world, it’s easier than ever to take your work on the road. Walk into any hotel lobby these days and you will likely see “road warriors” everywhere. The digital lobby is a great place for them to answer emails, work on a presentation, or surf the web in between meetings. But, what if they need to discuss sensitive information on a conference call, or meet with fellow colleagues on the road? Sure, they could head up to their room – but guest rooms are not always set up in ways that are conducive to their needs. Not to mention, they are isolated and removed from the bustling lobby atmosphere where a lot of on-the-road networking happens. The solution – small conference rooms that serve as private workspaces.

Real-World Example: Westin’s Project Hive

Photo Credit: Hotel Chatter

Hoteliers are realizing this shift in consumer demand, and are adapting quickly to give guests what they need. Many brands are exploring the idea of taking larger conference rooms that are not used frequently, and building them into smaller, private workspaces. The Westin recently announced a pilot program they are calling “Project Hive.” The Hive will be contemporary meeting rooms that offer some privacy for business travelers to work and collaborate, rentable by the hour. With features such as custom built closet doors that double as whiteboards, The Hive will provide everything the guest needs, from pens to light refreshments. Additionally, rooms will have modern, modular furniture, and top-notch technology, closer to what a guest likely experiences in their home office.

Earn Incremental Revenue with Rentable Rooms

For hotels looking to generate more revenue these meeting spaces are a great opportunity. Bjorn Hanson, the divisional dean of New York University’s hospitality school said, “although small meeting rooms may not generate the food and beverage revenue like the traditional, all-day meetings, there still can be more total revenue.” For more information on generating revenue in meeting spaces, check out Eleven VP, Andrew Yorra’s blog post Generating Revenue with Free WiFi – Charging in Meeting Rooms. To learn more about Westin’s Project Hive, read Barbara DeLollis’ article Hotels Test Offering Meeting Rooms that can Serve as Offices.

What do you think about this new ‘private workspace’ concept? Would it work well in your property?