Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

After a bit of a hiatus, welcome back to Extra, Extra! — Convene's online supplement to the association's ThisWeek@PCMA newsletter.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts last week unveiled its new lobby design, as part of a $40 million renovation of the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner hotel in McLean, Va. The new design fits into what's become or becoming the dominant mode in hotel-lobby functionality: the living room or "great room" format, with lounge areas, a bar/restaurant, and an open-air business center–type area.  According to the company, the design "offers a flexible layout with a living room feel that encourages a social atmosphere where guests can interact, work, and collaborate."  Here's a video intro to the new lobby:

Typically, hotel rooms don't have much in the way of reading material — that is, beyond a Gideon Bible, the phone book (which can be interesting!), and an advertorial-heavy magazine about the city in which one is staying. But Manhattan's hip boutique Standard Hotel is changing all that, giving each of its rooms one of 13 books from a list curated by world-famous novelist (and former fatwa fugitive) Salman Rushdie. What's on the list? Some great stuff: everything from classics including Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury to more modern titles such as Michael Chabon's love letter to New York City, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Earlier this month, Harris Interactive released its Travel Brands of the Year, as ranked in its "2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend." Topping the list in the airline category (for the second year running — or, rather, flying) was Southwest, with JetBlue landing at No. 2 and Hawaiian Airlines touching down at bronze. Other poll winners, reflecting a consumer preference toward "brands that offer choice and flexibility" and "are seen as delivering value," as Harris Interactive Executive Vice President of Brand Consulting Jeni Lee Chapman put it, were Hilton (full-service), Omni (luxury), Holiday Inn (mid-market), Homewood Suites (extended stay), and Red Roof Inn (economy). Non-hotel winners included Enterprise for rental cars and Disney World for amusement attractions. Congrats!

Finally, YouTube recently began gradually rolling out YouTube Live, its new, "self-service live-streaming ... platform," allowing for live-streaming of events. Event Manager Blog has a good post on the new offering, noting that "the wide majority of event professionals ignore [the fact that] YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world!" For now, though — the service is still in beta — there is no way to request live-streaming functionality; instead, an announcement on YouTube's Partner Communications Hub asks for its partners to be patient, and to "make sure that your account is in good standing and that you remain an active uploader." Event Manager Blog editor Julius Solaris writes:
This could be a great opportunity to go back to your YouTube channel (because you have one, right?) and populate it with great content from previous events or to think about interviewing your speakers/performers about what their performance will be.
Not a bad idea at all, regardless of whether or not doing so prompts YouTube to grant your group live-streaming capability during the new service's beta-testing period.

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