Marriott rolls out digital entertainment

Marriott Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts will become the first lodging brands to offer high-definition, LCD televisions with a digital connectivity panel in all its guest rooms in the U.S. and Canada. Using the new plug-in panel, guests can connect a host of digital devices to view on the flat panel, high-definition screen, including laptops, camcorders, digital cameras, video games and more. The standard 32 inch televisions are also equipped with a 25-watt stereo speaker system so guests can listen to the tunes on their MP3 players and iPods; no headphones required.

“Today’s hotel guests typically travel with many digital devices, not just a laptop, so providing more than high-speed Internet access and WiFi is a must,” said Bob McCarthy, president, North American lodging operations and global brand management, Marriott International. “When we test marketed the HDTV and connectivity panel among guests, the response was overwhelming. This type of in-room technology was critical to them.”

The new HDTV and connectivity panel can multi-task so business travelers can be more productive on the road. For example, the screen can be split so guests can watch TV while checking e-mail or researching on the Internet. Or, they can relieve stress playing a video game while listening to an iPod at the same time. With the new HDTV, the number of television channels is also increasing from the current base of 28 to as many as 64 stations in the U.S. and Canada. These include the popular NFL Network and the Science Channel, as well as great family choices, such as Disney, HBO Kids and the Cartoon Network.

By the end of 2007, Marriott International, expects to have the new technology installed in 25 percent of its JW Marriott, Marriott and Renaissance guest rooms in the U.S. and Canada, totaling nearly 40,000 rooms. The rollout should be completed by the end of 2009.