SAN FRANCISCO—Got juice? A new charging hub enables travelers to power up their devices without having to rearrange the guestroom furniture.
While in business for more than 15 years, GreatUsefulStuff is a new entrant into the hospitality industry. Its multi-port charging device, the PowerHub, was born from the personal travel experience of Jeff Block, CEO of GreatUsefulStuff.com.
“As a tech-savvy entrepreneur, the more I traveled, the more frustrated I became at the lack of adequate outlet capacity to fully charge all of my personal electronics in hotel rooms and lobbies. Invariably, I found myself plugging my gear into any available outlet in a hotel room, which generally required getting on my hands and knees to find the outlets, and then moving furniture and unplugging lamps to gain access to them, while my wife would take over all the bathroom outlets for charging her tech devices,” said Block. “Inevitably, we would both leave behind charging cords and devices we couldn’t see that were hidden on the floor or behind furniture. I was especially bothered by the lack of A/C power needed to charge laptops.”
Block saw the need for an innovative solution to the increasing need for in-room charging. He asked himself, “If hotels invest in creating a decor that enhances their brand, why ruin it with ugly power strips?”
According to Block’s research, he discovered that a built-in solution wouldn’t be ideal because “it requires installation, cutting into existing furniture, and service issues. If a unit goes down, the room is out of inventory until maintenance can repair it. Changing technology could make these furnishings obsolete quickly,” he said.
“In addition, most travelers now carry an average of four to six electronic devices with them, and that number will increase as technology develops. The need for extra in-room outlets is going to continue to grow, and our PowerHub is an easy, low-cost solution to meet this need,” he said.
The company is currently working with a few Hilton and Kimpton properties, Soho Grand Hotel, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, and a large number of independent hotel brands.
“The biggest standout feature of our PowerHub is our selection of different finishes that coordinate with most hotel room decors. We offer a spa look with bamboo, a traditional look with high gloss cherry wood, a contemporary look with black leatherette, a modern look with white leatherette materials,” he said. “One of our finishes will coordinate with most properties’ existing decor. We even offer custom finishes at fairly low minimums.”
For hoteliers seeking to realize their return on investment, Block noted that the PowerHub is priced significantly lower than built–in solutions.
“From a qualitative perspective, our solution is much more attractive than the basic plastic versions found in the market. We have also found it to be a great bridge solution for properties planning a major remodel in the next few years. They may be planning a total reconfiguration of the power in their rooms down the road, but need an immediate, affordable bridge solution that the PowerHub provides,” he said. “Additionally, our attractive PowerHubs make great charging solutions for the common areas in hotels like lobbies, bars and conference rooms.”
Right now, GreatUsefulStuff is looking to make its mark on the hospitality industry through products like the PowerHub.
“Our focus is on providing quality products and delivering top-notch customer service,” he said. “We are small enough to provide very personal service, but our consumer business allows us to leverage our manufacturing procurement to come to the market with competitively priced product that is unique and speaks to what the guest really needs.”