New technology might mean the end of check-in desks. It might let you pay by contactless card, check out automatically or use your iPad to summon room service. And it will almost certainly mean that your complimentary newspaper won’t go thunk on the doorstep any more.
You won’t get ink on your fingers either, if you’re in one of the hotels that use the PressReader app to provide their guests with published content. Instead you’ll be able to access publications via your tablet or smartphone.
For a start, it’s got great green credentials. No trees were harmed in the making of this product! In a world where customers are increasingly aware of environmental issues, that definitely helps.
But it does a lot more than just replace the paper copy. I spoke to Igor Smirnoff at PressReader, who told me: “It’s not just a replacement of one newspaper – it’s three thousand papers and magazines all accessible through any device.”
So Guardian readers can now get their preferred paper for free – most hotels offer a free Times or perhaps Telegraph, but you have to pay extra if that’s not the paper you want. And an American guest could get the New York Times instead of the London Times, if she wanted, while a French visitor could get Liberation or Le Monde – something that just doesn’t work with the logistics and cost of paper distribution.
Even better, content on PressReader can be translated automatically. So a Chinese guest could download London theatre listings and get them in Chinese, which the paper version obviously can’t do.
Currently, Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels have adopted PressReader, as have Fairmont Hotels, and the Nadler Kensington and Nadler Soho also offer PressReader access.
It’s all delivered through the hotel’s WiFi, Igor told me (and is yet another reason why the few hotels that do not offer this don’t deserve our custom). Hotels can also use PressReader to provide their own publications, whether that’s the menu, a hotel newsletter or room service details.
PressReader will work on any device, so the hotel doesn’t need to provide one. Guests can use whatever they’ve got, whether it’s an iPad, a smartphone or an e-reader like Kindle or Nook. And the publication stays on the device, so guests can download it for reading on the train or plane or using later in the day.
I’m sure we’ll see more London hotels rolling access to the app out soon and I’m looking forward to trying it out on my new Nexus 7.
But there’s one problem. I think doing the crossword might be a bit tricky…
Photo credits: PressReader, Nadler Soho.