Forget about old-fashioned remote controls; LodgeNet, the biggest provider of hotel room television entertainment, announced the LodgeNet Mobile App — a free app that turns your smartphone into a remote control.
LodgeNet, which is based in about 500,000 hotel rooms across the US, said the app was created to allow guests to "customize their hotel and travel experience." Once downloaded, the app works as a travel concierge and control travelers at hotel rooms.
The app will stir up local dining and entertainment options, information about the hotel and local events, but the main feature is the app's remote control ability. Instead of using TV remote controls, your phone becomes the dictating device allowing you to change channels, set timers and even control your guestroom TV from outside the hotel .
Once downloaded, the app can be used to make TV channel selections, order pay-per-view movies, control the volume on the TV and serve as a guide to finding shows and movies. The one thing it won't do: list "adult movies" (if you're into it, you'll have to use the standard remote control to order your x-rated flick). So far, about 2,000 hotels in the LodgeNet network have been updated to accept the app's controls.
So, will LodgeNet's new app be the next big thing in hotel technology?
Admittedly, I haven't had the opportunity to download the app and use it in a room, yet. But, as a tech-fanatic who is never far from her computer, iPhone or tablet, having the ability to control my hotel's TV from one of my devices instead of a standard remote control gives me a twinge of excitement.
For starters, I don't know where the hotel's remote control has been, and I don't need another device to carry around with me. If a piece of technology I currently carry and have on me at all times can control what's going on in my hotel room, I'll use it.
What I find most interesting about this app is that it will also create a profile for you, including your credit card information, so that if you choose to rent an on-demand movie for example, your charges will be billed directly to a credit card instead of appearing on your hotel bill.
Talk about hotel's integrating technology... grab your smartphone to take ultimate control in your hotel room.Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com