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There's More To This Picture (Frame) Than You Might Think

December 20, 2012 at 9:01 AM | by | Comment (1)

You know those lazy afternoons in hotels when you're sitting in your room wondering, 'What the heck am I gonna do for the next three hours until dinner?' Well, there's a nifty little device that's been popping up in places like The Hermitage in Monte Carlo and Kempinski Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Produced by a Dubai-based company called Sweetbeam, the bedside devices look like regular old picture frames. Except the images change. And upon closer inspection, you see that this isn't just background art—these are customized ads, subtly (or not) promoting different amenities that the hotel offers.

Forgot to bring your bathing suit? Turns out there's a boutique in the lobby—and bathing suits are on sale! Wondering what time happy hour starts? Five minutes ago! Didn't know there was a spa? Well, surprise—it's one floor above your room!

(Well, the ads don't use quite so many exclamation points as we do, but you get the idea...)

Above are just a few of the suggestions that Sweetbeam devices make to guests. Guests who, we should add, are often completely unaware that they're the targets of carefully implemented, custom programmed advertising.

But then again, in large, overwhelming places like The Hermitage, Kempinski Palm Jumeirah, and Shangri-La Dubai (which all utilize the Sweetbeam devices), it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what your options are. Staying in grand resort hotels can be nice, but you're often left wondering: "What exactly is there to do here?"

So far, Sweetbeam has only made it to hotels in Paris, Dubai and Monte Carlo, though the company is rapidly expanding. No surprise there, as hotels are quick to catch onto the idea that the more guests know about their hotel surroundings—whether that's restaurants, bars, golf courses, sailing, kids' clubs, local holidays, spas, laundry—the more they spend.

[Photo: SweetBeam]

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How to turn it off

@SallyShalam on Twitter brought up a good point, about how to turn them off. It turns out the devices are light-sensitive, so at night when you're sleeping, they interrupt their broadcast. Or, during the day, if the screen is really bothering you, you can always throw a blanket over it.

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