Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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6/25/2007
05:49 PM
Michael Singer
Michael Singer
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Book A Meeting, Get A Free iPhone

It's easy. Grab 10 or more of your closest friends and reserve some time at a little place on the waterfront outside of Los Angeles airport.

It's easy. Grab 10 or more of your closest friends and reserve some time at a little place on the waterfront outside of Los Angeles airport.As editors, we get offers in the mail all the time. Every once in a while, you pick up one that really catches your eye. So when a postcard advertising a free Apple iPhone as part of the deal crossed the desk, let's just say it was an offer we couldn't refuse.

It seems the good people at the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, California have secured a stash of iPhones and are offering free ones to customers who book either rooms or meeting space at the group rate for a minimum of $10,000.

"So pick up your current phone and call right now...," exclaims the circular. "Soon enough, you'll have some very happy attendees, and a new iPhone to receive all of their thank-you calls, e-mails, text messages, songs and videos from the great event."

According to their sales representative Tracy Brown, there are several ways to qualify for the free iPhone. For example, 10 people could book a room for two or three nights for $6,000 and then have breakfast, lunch or dinner served as part of a daylong meeting for $4,000 and qualify. Sadly, you only get one phone with a completed offer, but Ms. Brown said the iPhone is mailed out after the event so you don't have to fight over it with your staff at the end of the meeting.

When asked how the hotel was able to purchase iPhones for itself prior to the official June 29 launch, Ms. Brown noted that the iPhones would be distributed in the traditional manner, meaning that there are no iPhones at the hotel and either Apple or AT&T will be handling the shipping.

The offer runs is valid if the reservations are booked before December 31. The hotel has 161 rooms, with lots of waterfront views. Individual room prices start just below $400 per night, group rates are better. So it wouldn't take much to rack up that tab to $10,000. The hotel is about 7 miles away from LAX airport, making it pretty accessible.

It seems inevitable that companies are latching on to the hype surrounding Apple's iPhone. The industry has been luring in customers with iPods for several years now. Based on the iPhone's success, it's almost a slam dunk that we'll see more of these kinds of offers in the mail or at conventions and events.

Hopefully, my bosses will let us schedule our next division meeting down in Redondo Beach.

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