Starwood Hotels & Resorts is launching its new Aloft Hotel in the virtual land of Second Life in September, months before the chain of hotels opens in real life. The brick-and-mortar version of the hotel, which caters to active, urban 30- to 50-year-olds, is set to roll out the red carpet sometime in 2008. The folks at Starwood are hoping the hotel attracts a lively bunch of avatars who like to mingle in the lobby and give feedback about the hotel. In this way, Second Life will help guide the earthbound hotel's operations.
The Electric Sheep Company
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Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.