Business trips are often solo adventures filled with tables for one and little conversation outside the boardroom. However a social networking app is changing the hotel dynamic for lonely travelers, making it possible for hotel guests to send messages, meet up and share travel tips and experiences.
LobbyFriend is finding itself in more and more hotel lobbies after launching in February of 2012. The social networking app pegs itself as a temporary social network, inviting hotel guests to message one another all while learning about local events around the hotel and hotel specials.
Guests can remain anonymous on the app, create a profile or sign in with Facebook. Once a person is logged into the app using the hotel’s Wi-Fi, they can see messages from other guests on their smartphones and laptops. In addition, hotels can also utilize a display board in their lobby with messages to guests. The whole idea is to get travelers socializing, sharing experiences and even tips as they travel.
LobbyFriend has built in protections for guests, making it possible to block messages and users. Hotels can also control the messages that make their way on to the lobby display boards. Those lobby relationships are fleeting as the app erases correspondence as soon as you check out.
Around 40 hotels are using LobbyFriend according to USA Today including the Tryp Times Square South in Manhattan and the New Orleans Hotel Collection. Hotels pay around $100 each month to facilitate communicate between guests looking for travel tips or even a new friend through the app.
Currently there are very few apps of its kind used in a hotel setting. LobbyFriend opens up the potential to exchange a meal with another guest, share a cab or merely find out more about the hotel’s events, on-goings and specials.