Meeting days far exceed the battery life of phones, laptops and other electronics. Attendees race to claim a limited amount of power outlets on the perimeter of the ballroom, and hope no one trips on the cord or steps on their phone. Charging stations have partially solved the problem, but then your phone is out of reach for a period of time. What to do?
Drumroll, please. Phil Aldax, director of event management at Anaheim Marriott in California, filled this market void by purchasing Ramler International’s revolutionary Connect Chair. Each seat contains a high-capacity USB port powered by a rechargeable battery located underneath a removeable side tray. Charging docks can charge up to 20 batteries at once overnight.
Event designers have the option of using the side tray or removeable arm rests. The tray is also a great platform for attendees to place beverages, bags and notebooks. They then no longer have to worry about kicking over a glass or mug on the ground by their feet. A handle on the back of the seat acts as a coat hook.
The chair actually made its big debut nearly two years ago at HX: The Hotel Experience in New York City in November 2016, but Anaheim Marriott is the first to put them to use in the United States. The hotel has 169,662 sq. ft. of meeting space. These seats have already been used in Canada and Asia.
“This is a totally new way of looking at function seating. It’s a banquet chair anyone would be pleased to have in their home, with strong residential inspirations and a wide range of fabric and frame options,” says Garry Ramler, managing director of the furniture company. “It has all the comfort and practical features hoteliers expect from a high-use environment plus it adds conveniences that meeting delegates will enjoy—especially when sitting through a lengthy presentation.”
It won Best New Product and Best in Show in the hotel products categories at the aforementioned trade show. “People are telling us that our removable side tray with USB port is ‘genius,’” Ramler says. “Not only does it grant the No. 1 wish of today’s mobile-dependent meeting goers—namely, being able to charge their devices without leaving their seats—but it also offers up an added convenience to hold personal items and beverages.”
It really was only a matter of time before someone thought to extend the luxury of wattage to banquet chairs. Depending on aircraft and air carrier, some planes provide in-seat power outlets, so you can charge up at an altitude of 30,000 feet. A growing number of airport terminals have installed seats with outlets in the lobby to charge as you wait at the gate. Additionally, some coach and livery buses also offer places to plug in at each seat or on the wall.