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Wake up to New Alarm Clock Styles

First-generation MP3 players already are out of date. Here’s what to purchase next.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Scott Kauffman
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First it was the Apple iPhone. Now, it’s the iPad that seems to be the new technological toy of choice.

For Hotel Technologies and many hoteliers, that means it’s time to upgrade those MP3 player/alarm clocks. Yes, just five years after MP3 player/alarm clocks became the industry norm at many upper-tier hotels, the device has already become passé.

At least that’s the opinion of Chris Gowdy, vice president of sales for Rahway, NJ-based Hotel Technologies.

After Hotel Technologies created an innovative “simple-to-use, hotel-specific clock radio” for Hampton Inns eight years ago, and later improved the product with an MP3 player port, this “Hampton Model” became so popular it was eventually added to more than 250,000 Hilton-branded hotels. Now, Hotel Technologies is busy marketing the next generation MP3 player/alarm clock.

Call this the Son of Hampton, a clock radio that integrates iPad connectivity. Hotel Technologies, whose parent company, SDI Technologies, is one of the world’s leading designers, marketers and manufacturers of consumer electronics, was the first to develop iPod/iPhone-docking clock radios branded as iHome.

Now, after a couple years of recessionary budget constraints, Gowdy says more hotels are starting to invest once again in their room packages and increasingly looking at these next-generation MP3 player/alarms clocks.

“There’s so much emphasis now on the iPad,” says Gowdy, whose company supplies customized clock radios to Disney Hotels, Hyatt hotels throughout North America and other leading hotel brands such as Waldorf Astoria and Ritz-Carlton. “Everyone’s thinking iPad. So we’re trying to incorporate the iPad App into our products because it’s something that will be more universal. “

Gowdy says iPods and iPhones use the same connectors as iPads, but one nuance is power. For example, the requisite iPad Power App is more than double the traditional power required for iPhones or iPods (2.1-2.3 vs. 1 App, according to Gowdy).

While Hotel Technologies acknowledges Apple has a major stake in the handheld device business, Gowdy says other MP3 players and products still have a place in their high-profile clock radios. Yet, adding the iPad port might be a wise move, according to Gowdy, especially when the alarm clock is such a widely used hotel item.

“Just open your eyes, look in your lobbies and watch the guests coming in with these products and listen to what they’re using,” adds Gowdy, whose newer alarm clocks are roughly $150 per item, an estimated $50 premium. “These phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants). … Most of them are Apple products. But again there are others.

“Sure, you’re adding costs as you add features. But we’re talking about consumer/hotel electronics that guests are actually going to use. So percentage-wise, [the price increase] might be a big leap, but it’s a very small cost for the type of benefit you’re getting. So many of these upgraded things (in rooms) don’t get touched, but more and more guests are coming in with their iPhones, iPads and iPods. Now they’re able to charge them up and feel at home with their own music when they’re relaxing, getting ready for dinner or waking up in the morning.”
Scott Kauffman
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Scott Kauffman is a leading journalist on golf course development and luxury resort and real estate development worldwide. Kauffman has 25 years of journalism experience, including full-time writing and editing positions with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, USA Today and Orlando Sentinel newspapers, and Golfweek Group magazines. Over the last 12 years, the award-winning writer has specialized in golf course real estate and resort development and been published by more than 30 regional ...
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