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Good Old Hospitality: Hotel Integration Market Making a Comeback

After being crushed by the recession, the hotel market is growing again, providing digital signage, AV and automation opportunities for integrators.

Tom LeBlanc

There are a lot of things to do in hotels, and we’re not just talking about guests enjoying the gym before hitting the pool and settling in at the bar. From guest room technology to lobby signage solutions to AV for those gyms, bars and restaurants, hotels offer a lot of integration opportunities.

For a few years, however, those opportunities slipped away as the hotel market was decimated by the recession. Hotel integration opportunities are back. After dipping to a $4 billion pro AV market in 2012, the hospitality market is predicted to grow to $6.5 billion in 2016 representing a 14-percent-per-year-growth clip, according to InfoComm and Acclaro Growth Partners.

Hotels’ diverse environments allow for different types of integrators to excel. Guest rooms resemble homes and therefore repre-sent opportunities for residential integrators to diversify into a commercial market. Pro AV-centric firms can jump on opportunities to provide impactful audio-video for hotel sports bars and poolside environments.

Enterprise-focused firms can provide energy-saving automation and lighting control for large hotels. Digital signage integrators, meanwhile, are in perhaps the best position to succeed since hotels are increasingly focused on improving customer service with better signage, including interactive kiosks.

Opportunities aren’t even limited to the inside of hotels since some have taken to nighttime projection art and mapping on the sides of buildings.

In last month’s Integration Awards coverage, for example, our Best Hotel Project winner featured an incredible Raylight 4D mapping system used by integrator PointCloud Media to project an array of images onto the Sheraton Waikiki pool. Large-venue Barco projectors with premium lenses were employed to beam images onto five zones of what amounted to a 129 x 120-foot pool surface, with content developed to produce two nightly 3D light shows.

Market Chatter

Commercial Integrator talked with Christina Katrinak, HRIS-account supervisor, Lutron, during InfoComm 2015 to see the latest on the lighting and shade control manufacturer’s myRoom solution for the hospitality space.

What are some attractive features of myRoom for hotel owners and guests?

Lutron’s always been really good when we go into a hotel space at getting the restaurants, the spas, the meeting rooms, the ballrooms, and now we finally feel we have the ideal solution [Lutron’s myRoom] for managing the guest room from the perspective of a really nice design aesthetic for the high-end hotel, also providing the energy savings that they’re looking for.

It’s a processor-based system and it can talk to the building management system and also property management systems, so you can start getting information like sold/unsold, occupied/unoccupied, and we use a combination of sensors and door lock information to figure whether or not there’s somebody in the space.

It’s all done via programming — anybody that’s familiar with our systems knows you can do pretty much anything with a lighting system once you go to a processor-based system that’s software driven, which this is. The sequence of operations on this one is really complex, a lot of “if/thens” — it’s amazing all the different things you can do with it.

How do hotel guests and employees interact with this system?

We now have glass keypads that are back-lit from behind as well as traditional Lutron colors. Palladiom is a new QS keypad in general, so even though we’re showing it [at InfoComm] with the hotel system, it can be used with any other Lutron QS system. Now we have one that can notify the hotel staff. We have a privacy button inside the room that illuminates a button outside of the hotel room [the device is called Corridor Pico] so that way they know, ‘Do not make up my room, I’m sleeping.’

Then we have a doorbell here [on the Corridor Pico], when that button’s hit the doorbell won’t ring. And then we have a service [button], which lights up for room makeup and could be programmed to send a signal down to housekeeping.

The key thing is it needed to do a lot of complex things but the interface had to be completely intuitive for the customer; HomeWorks [Lutron residential lighting system] is very complex as well, but that’s OK because it’s in a home and that person’s learning how to use it, but for a hotel someone does not want to walk in the room and not be able to figure out how to change the temperature or turn on the lights, so it needed to be simple and easy to use.

While not approaching pre-recession heights yet, the hospitality market has been steadily climbing back and is expected to continue moving upward.

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