Focus on Hospitality: Cutting-edge AV in Luxury Hotels
Feb 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt
The recent Golden Globe Awards did more than recognize Hollywood's glitterati and their creative performances. For Arlington Heights, Ill.-based integrator Hospitality Partners and its AVT Event Technologies division, the live televised event — and the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles that hosts it — also showcased the cutting edge of AV technology in the hospitality industry, particularly where digital signage is concerned. The Beverly Hilton, like the Hyatt Regency hotels in Chicago and San Francisco that are also AVT clients, exemplifies key trends in the hospitality industry. These trends include:
- Built-in state-of-the-art AV capabilities for conventions, shows, conferences, and other events
- Proliferation of digital signage, with each sign having a precise location and role to play
- Extremely dynamic digital content, interactivity, and wayfinding — including use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to trigger targeted signage content in the Chicago Hyatt
- Content that's tightly integrated with hotel branding, marketing, and sales
- Technology that's highly integrated across AV and signage networks, as well as with hotel IT systems
- Fully outsourced, ongoing AV services and support, combining full-time onsite presence and centralized, off-site capabilities.
Consider the setting for the Golden Globes event: the Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom, which seats up to 1,100 people. Since AVT won the hotel's business as the hotel's onsite AV installer/integrator a little more than two years ago, the company has given the 18,000-square-foot venue a dramatic AV upgrade. Among the improvements: the permanent addition of Christie HD series projectors and Meyer Sound Ultra and M series loudspeaker arrays, combined with a Yamaha PM5D digital mixing console. With a full-time lighting plot, a High End Systems Hog iPC console with Wholehog 3 provides control of lighting systems in the facility — including Martin Professional Mac 2000 series intelligent light fixtures.
AVT even figured out a way for AV technology to minimize the crush of celebrities as they exit the ballroom: 42in. and 50in. NEC plasma reader boards, featuring attention-grabbing animated graphics powered by Omnivex digital-signage software, are used to strategically point guests toward their choice of four or five different after-show parties on the hotel property.
The Beverly Hilton
The Golden Globes is just one of more than 70 televised events — seven of which are live-to-air — held at the Beverly Hilton each year. Over the past two years, AVT has labored to create an AV technology nirvana for the Beverly Hilton event sales staff and its customers.
“We've got everything up in the air and installed, so as soon as they walk in, they've got a ballroom ready to rock,” says Darren Phalen, western regional director for AVT Event Technologies. “We've created our own version of the giant red easy button [from the Staples commercials] — we give the hotel sales managers an RFID card. When they walk into the ballroom, the automated setup comes to life, a video shows on the screen, the sound system comes on, lights roll around the room. It makes the sales manager's life so easy — it takes the nerdiness of an AV salesman out of the equation.”
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