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Not Just for Meeting Rooms Anymore, Event Technologies Move Beyond
Four Walls to Make Guestrooms, Public Spaces 'Rock'

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Presentation services teams can manage networks throughout the property -
from HSIA in guestrooms and lobbies to high-definition TVs and digital
signage in restaurants - to keep customer satisfaction on a 'Roll'

By Digby Davies, September 2008

When Def Leppard released its hit song: "When the Walls Come Tumbling Down" in the early 1980s, I'm certain the rock band never thought that its lyrical title could be used to paint a picture of the hotel network or meetings environment in 2008 and beyond. Nonetheless, it's the perfect depiction of what is metaphorically happening at hotels thanks to property-wide integration of network services. 

Meeting planners today require many more services than just basic audiovisual equipment. Running a successful event now takes an array of technologies that are orchestrated before the show, impact the audience during the show, and help the planners' message last long after the show. Requests for screens and overhead projectors are a thing of the past. Instead "experience-enhancement technologies" are in demand.

The Changing Face of 'Show' Business

For standard events, meeting planners expect that digital reader boards and digital signage networks (such as lobby displays, meeting room signs and guestroom TV information channels) be visible to help attendees find their way to the venue. Likewise client-network services, such as cyber cafes or Internet kiosks, are expected in the meeting area and throughout the hotel to facilitate Web surfing and the checking of emails. Many meeting planners have even come to expect that customized desktop screen savers with sponsor logos will be featured on the monitors.

Larger events at resorts or conference facilities oftentimes call for sophisticated lighting, sound and projection/digital image displays to enhance the mood, keep the audience energized and add drama to meeting. Staging tools, rigging equipment, concert sound, digital broadcasts and intelligent lighting also can be used to aide in design and theme setting for large concerts and sporting events. 

Small event or large, digital capture and web-casting services also can be provided ensure that the event experience doesn't fade a way. It's important to partner with a presentation-services company that can provide highly efficient, cost effective solutions that help a hotel's customers repurpose their key meeting content for future review. A top-of-mind event with attendees will keep the hotel or conference center top-of-mind with meeting planners.

Any event experience, good or bad, is tied to the overall guest-stay experience, and today's tech-savvy travelers also expect receiving seamless guest-service throughout the hotel. Therefore, a robust property-wide network featuring increased bandwidth intensity is growing in demand.  A presentation-services group that can provide wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN) support throughout the hotel - and actually becoming an extension of a hotel's IT staff - is critical to convention-services success.  

In fact, advances in digital meeting technology are enabling guests to attend multiple meetings simultaneously, or view a recorded session they missed on their guestroom television. New communications technologies, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and IP-based video conferencing also are growing in demand.

Orchestrating these events and supporting on-demand services could be a nightmare if the hotel did not have the proper event technology partner in place. To eliminate guest frustration, a single source is advised to manage and install everything from the hotel's wired or wireless HSIA backbone . . . to business center solutions . . . to property-wide digital signage in lobbies and public areas . . . to high-definition TVs in the hotel's restaurants and lounges . . . to a variety of services in meeting rooms and large convention halls.

Hotels that Rock 'n Roll

The Palms Casino Resort, heralded as one of Las Vegas' hippest destination venues, is using its event technology partner to provide technology services in multiple areas. The company will provide high-speed client-network services throughout the property's more than 60,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and audiovisual / event technology services for corporate, social and association events. The company also is in the process of transitioning the Palms' business center to an event-technology center - a new concept that blends private meeting rooms, high-tech workstations and a technology concierge with soft seating in a more public setting, such as an Internet café. 

Likewise, to help keep conventioneers and meeting attendees onsite for food-and-beverage, the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Ill, consulted with its event-technology partner to identify ways in which multi-media technologies could be used to attract new patrons to its Red Bar lobby lounge and O'H American Grill restaurant. A state-of-the-art sound system, 22 high-definition plasma TVs, eight two-sided translucent screens with projectors, and a $15,000 high-tech remote system controller were installed. Red Bar can designate any one of its TVs or screens to showcase a multitude of multi-media promotions, from food-and-beverage promotions to renovation progress presentations via DVD, and meetings' coverage to televised sports events. 

One for All

These hotels are just a few which have come to learn and appreciate the value of having a single-source event-technology partner. Not only can the service-provider help meeting planner choose the best services for a meeting or event, but it also can consult with hotel management on ways to bring networking technologies to other touch-points throughout the property.

The ability to control the hotel's network beyond the meeting space goes a long way in supporting a hotel's guest-service initiative. It would be awkward for an on-site AV person to tell a meeting guest or the meeting planner having trouble with the network in his or her guestroom, for example, "It's not my responsibility" and refer the guest elsewhere for servicing.  Having a dedicated partner goes a long way to making the most of a guests' technology experience.

As presentation and network technologies continue to converge, and as more presentations require real-time network connectivity for online training, teleconferencing and other event services, using one company to manage and deliver digital content will directly impact customer satisfaction.  In addition, it makes the ability to offered bundled services that much easier.

Just as Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) works towards building next-generation, customer-centric technologies to better meet the needs of the global hotel community, a true presentation-services partner will work with a hotel towards building and identifying next-generation event technologies to better meet the needs of guests - whether they are at the hotel to attend an event or not. 

"When the walls come tumbling down," figuratively speaking, those hotels that have worked to better network their event technologies - from meeting rooms to guestrooms - will be that much further ahead than their competition, and will own a bigger share of the market. Is your hotel structured to host a meeting of the future, today?


Digby Davies is CEO of PSAV Presentation Services, a leading supplier of audiovisual and event technology to hotels, associations, producers and meeting planners worldwide.  With more than 800 luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers worldwide, PSAV is totally committed to making every live event an unforgettable experience.  PSAV's goal is to turn ordinary meetings into memorable experiences so the message lasts. www.psav.com.

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Contact:

For PSAV:
Barb Worcester
President/Principal
PRPro
Tel: (440) 930-5770
barbw@prproconsulting.com
 

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Also See: PSAV Portfolio Climbs in Rockies with Regional Acquisition; Transaction expands PSAVís portfolio to Vail, Colorado / June 2008
PSAV Asks HITEC '08 Attendees to Think Beyond Your Meeting Space For Event Technology Integration / June 2008
PSAV Offers Event Technology Tips to Add BIG Impact to Meetings with Little Cost; New advances in audiovisual technologies, such as circular screens, LED video walls, and soft sets such as drapery and stretch fabrics, maximize impressions with meeting attendees and dress the facility / March 2008
PSAV's LED Lighting 'Wows' Meeting Goers, Dresses Hotels, and Reduces Energy Costs; LED lights use up to 80 percent less energy than incandescent light; Hotels hail LEDs for versatility, design effect, and customer satisfaction / February 2008
Palms Las Vegas Partners with PSAV to Orchestrate Event Technologies and more; National leading audiovisual and event-technology company is selected as sole provider for high-speed Internet access, wired and wireless client/guest networks and business center solutions for the destination resort / February 2008
PSAV Relocates Its Event Technology Warehouse in Dallas; With a new 87,000 square-foot warehouse PSAV® Presentation Services is better equipped to showcase and store its state-of-the-art event equipment while supporting its growing customer base in Texas / November 2007
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