Ads pop in on hotel guests

Tourist dollars can be pretty lucrative for many businesses. And what better place to reach them than in their hotel rooms when they're deciding what to do?

Tourist dollars can be pretty lucrative for many businesses. And what better place to reach them than in their hotel rooms when they’re deciding what to do?

A new product called Notify, from Annapolis, MD.-based tech company eTelemetry, lets advertisers micro-target hotel guests via banner and pop-up ads. So a business traveller checking emails on a laptop could potentially receive a special offer for a local theatre production, or a message from the hotel itself about its restaurant’s daily specials.

‘Notify sits at the gateway where the hotel connects to the Internet, so it can control the bandwidth going to each room,’ explains Ermis Sfakiyanudis, CEO at eTelemetry. The hotel could provide complimentary small-bandwidth surfing sessions, but charge extra if the guest wanted to hog more bandwidth to view videos or stream online radio. Since Notify intercepts the hotel’s Internet connection, it can penetrate Wi-Fi hook-ups as well as stations in the business centre.

Notify launched last month and is currently beta-testing with North American hotel chains that couldn’t be named at press time. The company is still working out pricing; Sfakiyanudis says they will likely employ a subscription fee/ad revenue-sharing model with the hotels, and that ad rates for third parties will vary depending on each hotel’s location and clientele. www.etelemetry.com/product_notify.htm.