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July 30, 2006

It's the little innovations that count

I stayed at a Doubletree hotel this weekend (Portland, Maine), where a tiny technology tidbit made my day.   As we were getting settled in the room, my wife asked "how can we listen to my iPod?"  I'd just got done responding, "Oops.  I brought no speakers, so we can't," when I noticed the funny-looking little clock-radio on the nightstand.  

It's truly an odd-looking device, tall, narrow, and awkward, but it had buttons on the top for AM, FM, and MP3.  MP3?  Sure enough - there was a captive cable hanging off the clock that had a 1/8" mini stereo plug that fits right into the iPod earphone jack.  

Seems like a little thing?  Well it is.  But it was the little touch that made the difference that made us go from saying "decent hotel" to saying "outstanding!"  We imagined a hypothetical corporate meeting in the past where someone on the team cleverly thought up this MP3 input idea, and another rolled his eyes and said, "you know, all they need is just a clock-radio."  It's was a nice reminder -- it's often the little, simple technology innovations that make a small but cumulative impact on the bottom line.  

Could Doubletree ever measure the ROI of putting this little MP3 dongle on their room radios?  No way.  But is it the thing that'll make me look first at their brands for my next stay?  Yup.  

Posted by larryb at 02:06 PM [permanent link]
Category: Innovative Technology
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