[The New York Times](http://www.nytimes.com) is going to soon be offering a free version of its [digital-replica edition](http://homedelivery.nytimes.com/HDS/Transition.do?mode=EE&ExternalMediaCode=N22AA) to patrons of [Wayport](http://www.wayport.net/), a provider of hotel and travel Wi-Fi hotspots. (via [Poynter](http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=31&aid=56243))
What does this have to do with [USA Today](http://www.usatoday.com/)? The Times is going to be getting its (digital) foot in the (hotel room) door.
USA Today’s strength, I think, has always been its distribution (NOT its content). Go to any hotel and there will be a “free” copy of USA Today waiting for you. I say “free” because obviously the hotel is paying for a copy and passing the cost on to you.
It’s a “if you leave it in front of their door, they will come” thing.
Every time I spend a night in a hotel and I have to dig up change to buy a local paper from the rack (if the hotel even has one), I think papers are missing this boat.
I’m glad to see the Times making strides toward competing with USA Today’s distribution – albeit with their digital-replica edition.
Local papers should keep their eyes on this market (esp. cities with a lot of tourism and/or conventions — yes, I’m looking at you Atlanta).