Room With a View
by Larry Mundy
November 2006

Technology on the March


 
Chances are, a good portion of your capital expenditures over the past few years have gone to buy microchips and software and ten million feet of cable tucked behind every baseboard and desk, so that your guests and employees can stay in constant communication with their loved ones in Antarctica, or some online casino in the Caymans, at all times.  Your guests can probably do their bidding on eBay wirelessly, from the lobby restrooms.  And your front-desk employees can probably greet a guest by name, room-service preference, and identifying warts or moles.  Hopefully you are training them not to say “yes, Mr. Smith, this must be your other wife?”  We are living in the prosperous future of 100% connectivity, 24-7, and soon every person on the planet will be at the beck and call of every other person on the planet, for any reason whatsoever.

And that’s when the revolt will start, because there have to be other people out there like me.  Curmudgeons who sometimes simply don’t want to be in contact with anyone who happens upon their phone number, IP address, or free personalized website.  Sometimes when I’m lazing in a hotel in another city, I want the busy, humdrum part of my life to simply fade away, like a radio station an hour outside ElPaso.

It used to be that in order to bother me in my hotel room, a caller had to know I was there, find the hotel number, call the front desk and request to be connected to my room.  Now all they have to do is call my cell phone, which will even respond when I am wandering parched and dazed through the Gobi Desert.  That removes all of what hotel developers call “barriers to entry,” and encourages people to call me anywhere on the globe to inform me the warranty on my washing machine expires in only three months.

Gone are the days when your boss had to send you the revised spreadsheet by overnight courier, to be delivered to your hotel by a nice, civilized 10:30 AM – by which time you’ve had breakfast, scanned the newspaper, and watched a classic episode of “I Love Lucy” on some UHF channel.  Today that urgent spreadsheet hits my laptop’s inbox with an instantaneous thud late at night, moments before I had intended to stretch out to a movie and room-service cheeseburger.  With today’s hand-held devices, that spreadsheet can even chase me into the restaurant, exercise room, or the bar with the busload of stranded Miss America contestants.

When I complain about this, one of the lovely contestants always remarks, “oh, but you can always switch it off.”  How naïve.  For one thing, it’s been proven that 97% of Americans have genetic DNA coding that renders them incapable of ignoring a ringing phone or flashing screen.  And who wants to tell their boss, spouse, or parole officer “well, I knew you might try to contact me, so I just turned the darn thing off”?  Caller ID used to be a promising defensive weapon, until people selling magazine subscriptions or complaining about your unpaid Visa bill learned to name themselves “Mom, Who You Never Call,” or “Iowa State Lottery.”

If you want to anticipate my future needs and wants as a guest, consider some inexpensive amenities that will help me attain peace and quiet.  I believe special rooms lined with metallic foil will make my cell phone cut out and sputter.  The caller will know I’m there and sincerely trying to communicate, but the connection will be so bad they’ll give up and call some other time.  Take an unused TV-audio channel and play a continuous recording of cars zooming by on a busy highway, so my flat-tire story will sound credible.  Give me an option to have your high-speed internet connection send the message “Sorry, receiving system is experiencing technical difficulties until after 10:30 tomorrow.  Please use overnight courier.”  I will become your faithful guest for life.



Larry Mundy works for a hotel company in Dallas.  His views are his own, and may differ considerably from those of a sane person."
 
Contact:

Larry Mundy
LJM2804@yahoo.com

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Also See: Help! My Hotel Room Is Bugged! / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / October 2006
The Straight Poop on Pet-Friendly Hotels  / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / October  2006
Hotel Energy Management Systems 101/ Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / September 2006
Fuscia Floors and Lime-Green Tubs; Not Everyone Wants a “Home-like” Atmosphere in a Hotel / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / September 2006
Your Hotel Laundry Room / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / September 2006
Your Hotel Parking Lot / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / August 2006
Room Service / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / August 2006
Redecorate Your Elevator Cabs, Every Fall / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / August 2006
The Basic Hotel Shower-Tub Combination, a Relic? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / August 2006
Different Views of Customer Service - The Airline “Passenger Experience” vs the Hotel Guest Experience/ Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / August 2006
The Hotel Guest With Half a Brain / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
The Latest Thing - Fractional Ownership Of Things or FOOT Financing for Hotels / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
Hotel Floor Surfaces - Hard or Soft? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
Hotel Bathroom Origami - That Tiny Detail of Carefully Triangulated Toilet Paper / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
A Chain, a System, a Franchise, a Collection, a Group, a Brand... / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
The Forensic Hotel Housekeeper / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
The Exercise Room in Your Hotel - Sweating the Details / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Remembering the old-time Hotel Engineering Department / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Curse of the Hotel Lobby-Dwellers / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
What Do You Do With an Old Hotel? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Hotel Smokers: A Dying Breed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May  2006
The New Food & Beverage – Food “Just Like Home”  / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Guest Privacy – It’s Not Just a Door Tag Anymore / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
The Future of Hotel Reservations / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Soon Every Town in America Will Have an Unused Convention Center / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Hotel Pool Safety 101 / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Where Not To Build a Hotel / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
“Exterior Corridors” – Disappearing, Because They Never Existed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy
My Top Ten Worst Hotel Inventions / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006
Bed Tech / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006
A Sense of Arrival / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006



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