Hotels as technology shops

Information week reports on Zoom Systems’ plans to roll out 10,000 gizmo-vending machines in airports and hotels across America. Ipods and digicams will join Coke & Chips in the battle for loose change in your pocket (the humble vending machine will, in all likelihood, need a makeover to house the $300+ electronic candies!)

Interactive retail kiosks are on the upward trend because America’s culture of convenience has historically warmed up to ideas that save time or money or both. Zoom’s Ipod formula might just work because it’s an idea in tune with the times. An E-marketer report on consumer electronics puts MP3 players on top of the list of the fastest-growing product categories. However, as Summit Research’s Francie Mendelsohn rightly cautions, machines that dispense gadgets without content may not work from a business standpoint. The ipod feeds on itunes and tags along an army of accessories.

Are MP3 players, digital cameras & multi-tasking cell phones impulse purchases of the future – fuelled by Gen Y’s spending habits? The zoom idea is not without steam. An onsite “digital fun” vending machine would be a novel and cool amenity (free WiFi service and an e-catalog of content vendors are a given).

Spa-products, designer bags, fitness gear – next on tap?

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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