Red Roof Inn Discovers Electrical Outlets Are the Most Popular Hotel Room Amenity

Flat-screen TVs? Meh

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It’s no easy thing for a budget hotel chain to refashion itself as a cool place to crash—especially not when the oldest properties date back to 1972. But while it was busy spending many millions of dollars on its current “NextGen” redecorating package, Red Roof Inn’s management discovered something interesting: While travelers appreciate expensive doodads like flat-screen TVs and the personal coffee brewer, the one amenity they really dig is … a few extra electrical outlets.

Red Roof’s upgraded locations (so far about 150 of its 350 locations) feature a cluster of four electrical outlets built right into the front of the nightstands, right at waist level. And while the extra wiring was a pretty small upgrade compared to the more high-profile amenities like the mini fridges and porcelain vessel sinks, “the plugs have been the most commented on” by guests, CMO Marina MacDonald told Adweek. That's right, plugs rule. “Sometimes the smallest things get the biggest results," MacDonald added.

There's a perfectly plausible explanation for this. Hotel renovations are costly, and there’s a good chance the next hotel room you’ll be staying in was built before the tidal wave of digital devices hit our lives. (Remember, the iPad’s only been around since 2010.) These days, over 90 percent of us carry mobile phones, but we travel in a world of hotels built before 1995 when mobile-phone saturation began.

Red Roof’s revamp also tossed in a fifth electrical outlet in the lamp just above the nightstand on the wall-mounted lamp—enough to let even a whole family of techies recharge together. And while they’re waiting, there’s even an extra pillow on the bed.

@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.