Mapping the inside of hotel rooms

14Jul10

Like many travelers, I have often lamented the lack of easily-accessible power outlets in airports and hotel rooms. So, it was a pleasant surprise to check into a hotel earlier this month, and find several power outlets in plain sight. The room designers were thoughtful enough to put outlets above each of the bedside tables, making it easy to plug in phone chargers, iPods and other gadgets.

However, one aspect of this baffled me. No matter how thoroughly I looked, I couldn’t find a power outlet near the large work desk. I checked the floor and the wall — nothing. After what seemed like ten minutes of searching, I solved the puzzle: you had to push down on a silver panel on the top of the desk itself. After doing so, the panel opened up to reveal three power outlets. Of course, this panel wasn’t marked with any text or icons to show you what it does. I had a similar problem locating the coffeemaker, which was stashed completely out of sight, in a sliding drawer below the television. And don’t even get me started on the reading lamp, with its expertly-hidden light switch that took extraordinary determination to locate.

As hotels try to cram more and more conveniences into rooms that certainly aren’t getting any bigger, it’s going to be harder and harder for guests to find exactly what they need. But there’s an easy way to bridge this gap. Just put a map or floor plan on the wall of each room, in a location that guests can’t miss. On the room map, highlight the location of the power outlets, light switches (including what they control), and other features. Granted, putting this info on the wall might seem unnecessary. But if a room map helps even 10% of guests feel more comfortable and less stressed out after checking in, it should be well worth the small amount of wall space that it takes up.



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