Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Welcome to this week's edition of Extra, Extra!.

Plans for the Phuket (Thailand) International Convention and Exhibition Center (ICEC) are being reviewed as a result of concerns over whether the center could survive a hit from a tsunami — like the one that struck the country, to devastating effect, on Dec. 26, 2004.  According to the Phuket Gazette (now there's a snappily named newspaper), the project already is under a great deal of time pressure, which will be exacerbated by the review process.  Originally scheduled to open in May 2014, the Thai government gave funding to the ICEC on the condition that the center open even earlier, in Nov. 2013.  However, "The design and construction of the center’s main building and adjoining facilities should be ‘tsunami safe’ because tsunamis can strike at any time," said a local public-works government official.

The next time you're flying to Phuket for a meeting or convention, you may be able — if you're on American Airlines, that is — to stream a movie or TV show directly to your iPad, according to Wired magazine's Gadget Lab blog.  In-flight entertainment will stream via Wi-Fi to Apple's tablet computer, allowing passengers to choose the screen on which they veg out.  However, as Gadget Lab points out, it's precisely those passengers who have iPads who are most likely to already have their own content to view while en route; and, as the full Internet will be available over the Wi-Fi connection — well, maybe you'd rather catch up on your Hulu TV shows than watch American's grab bag of sitcoms.

When you get to your destination, what's the amenity you most want to see in your hotel room?  There probably are as many answers as there are business travelers — but according to feedback from readers of HotelChatter.com, as reported in the New York Times, the No. 1 amenity that guests want to see is pretty simple: enough power strips and outlets with which to plug in one's myriad tech devices.  HotelChatter.com founder Mark Johnson commented, "Guests are bringing more and more hardware to the hotel room, and they're looking to juice it up."  Another interesting in-demand amenity that this particular traveler would appreciate is from Westin Hotels & Resorts, which has teamed up with New Balance to loan its guests workout clothes and shoes (don't be grossed out — they come with new socks and disposable insoles).  This would be well appreciated, as I've often found it difficult to find room in my luggage for running shoes, alongside one or more pairs of business and/or casual kicks.

Do you feel like you waste too much time playing Animal Farm on Facebook? Well, now you can do something a bit more productive on the ubiquitous social-networking site: According to USA Today's Hotel Check-in blog, Omni Hotels has launched a way for travelers to book rooms right within the hospitality company's Facebook page. Sure enough, right under the Omni "profile picture" on the top left of the page, with Facebook's standard-issue "Wall," "Info," and "Photos" links, is a link to "Book a Room," complete with fields for corporate or promotion codes.  Could this possibly be a way, in the future, for meeting planners to have attendees book rooms within their block, right inside Facebook?

Here's a screen grab of Omni's Facebook hotel-booking page.  Looks good!

1 comment:

Cathy Walker said...

English Tuition- This is in some ways a fantastic idea. The current offering of a crappy screen with even crappier audio pales next to the experience of watching video on your own device, especially if it’s something airline-seat friendly like an iPad or a netbook. Why not let passengers choose to use their own screen?