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New Social Network Connects Hotel Guests

A new social-networking app could make your next hotel stay a little less lonely. According to USA Today, LobbyFriend, an innovative app that connects guests staying at the same hotel, is now available at TRYP by Wyndham in New York. Think of it as an exclusive Facebook page—that is, a Facebook page just for travelers staying at a particular hotel.

Here’s how it works: First, download the app on your smartphone (iPhone or Android) or computer and sign up for the network in your hotel. (Use your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account to log in.) Once you have the program up and running, you’ll see a news feed where hotel guests and staff can post information about, well, pretty much anything, from networking activities to group meals to (I predict) complaints about noisy neighbors and broken toilets.

LobbyFriend is a temporary network that only present hotel guests and staff have access to. The password for the network at TRYP New York must be obtained at the front desk. Once you check out, you’ll no longer be able to connect. This provides a welcome measure of security for those travelers who might be shy about releasing hotel details and other itinerary specifics into the depths of cyberspace.

We spoke with Jason Ayoub, cofounder of LobbyFriend, who highlighted the ephemeral nature of this “temporary social network.” Said Ayoub, “Basically, you are ‘checked in’ to the network from the day you check in to the hotel to the day you check out. Upon checkout, you are automatically removed from the ‘lobby’ and the guest list, and all your related activities get deleted (i.e., the platform removes all traces of you even being there!).”

For those traveling alone and looking for a dinner buddy or for business travelers seeking networking opportunities, this app could prove useful. But a word of warning: LobbyFriend is less anonymous than other social networks, simply because you probably will end up face to face with fellow users. After all, you’re highly likely to run into other LobbyFriend people in, say, the lobby.

At present, LobbyFriend is only offered at TRYP by Wyndham in New York. But the company has big plans for hotel-industry domination. Ayoub told us they have more launches on the way (he was mum about where and when), so stay tuned.

Would you use LobbyFriend? Are you interested in meeting fellow guests at your hotel?

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(Photo: Shutterstock/Diego Cervo)

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