More than two years ago executives from Sheraton identified the need to keep its business guests from leaving the hotel to have small meetings at local restaurants or coffee shops.
During the 2018 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, Marriott featured a 4,200-square-foot lobby space to showcase a new dynamic and versatile environment, designed to attract and serve its business guests.
After all, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., states that the hotels, “makes it easy for guests to explore, relax and enjoy the possibilities of travel” at nearly 450 hotels in over 70 countries and territories around the world.
In an interview with Business Traveller, Matthew Boettcher, Global Lead for Brand Operations, Guest Experience Design and Development for Marriott International, explains, as they were watching guests leave the hotel, “We’d ask them where they were going and they’d say, ‘I have to meet a client,’ and if we asked them why they were meeting them somewhere else, they wouldn’t want to say.”
With the goal of transforming Sheraton into a gathering place with a sense of community, the lobbies of 12 hotels around the world are slated for redesign as test pilots to roll out more.
Integrated for Business
The 1,000-room Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, is among the first to reimagine its lobby spaces. Due to be unveiled in November 2020, the schedule has been delayed due to the global pandemic.
Four integrated spaces are defined in the lobby to facilitate, inspire and connect gatherings and meetings for hotel guests as well as to attract local customers in search of a meeting place. Wireless charging and ample power outlets are throughout, and a community manager is available to help book a space or answer questions.
Elevated Bar and Coffee Experience offer impromptu, casual meeting environments.
Community Tables are designed with productivity in mind and have programmable locking drawers to store valuables while working.
Lobby Booths, similar to a phone booth offer guests a sound-proofed, private space to conduct a call.
Studios, as they are called, are designed for more intense teamwork and collaboration. Enclosed with frosted glass, these private, tech-enabled meeting spaces seat up to eight people. To help ensure meeting participants are kept engaged, mobile food ordering is available.
According to an integrator familiar with the project, Samsung Flip digital whiteboards and Barco ClickShares are used in the Studio spaces for wireless presentation and conferencing.
“The CX-20 demo unit has worked flawlessly for us. I’ve spent the last three weeks with it working from home, holding calls and video conferences with the Logitech MeetUp connected to ClickShare Conference,” Neil Smith, director, IT Business Partnership & Planning – Digital Guest Experience for Marriott International, said. “It has been so convenient and easy to use. Can’t wait to get this into our hotel spaces and see our guests take to it!”
Keep it Secure
With potentially hundreds of people connecting personal devices and conducting meetings in a hotel lobby per day, guest confidentiality and security become critical in the hospitality industry.
No-doubt that Barco has become a de facto vendor in hospitality because its ClickShare technology is easy-to-use and shares content. But an even more important reason is that Barco has designed a high level of security into its ClickShare product.
No matter what system is used, content has to be securely managed. Even though ClickShare is a physical device, Barco has put all relevant security controls in place to protect the firmware on the device preventing anyone without permission from accessing shared content.
Barco uses the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard, which covers the full product life cycle. It is in place during the design, implementation, and testing process—defining secure-by-design. The standard specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system within the context of the organization.
For hotels deploying ClickShare in meeting spaces, they can be assured that Barco can ensure that content is secure.
BYOM and the Hybrid Workforce
Most agree that post-pandemic, the workplace will be hybrid, split between an office and a remote location with some continuing to work remote full-time. For those workers seeking a change of scenery or needing to meet with co-workers, a small table in a noisy location isn’t going to cut it anymore. Technology-enabled hotel lobbies could become the new “coffee shop with free WiFi” on steroids.
The new hybrid workforce brings their own meeting wherever they go. This includes their choice of mobile device and video conferencing platform. They need to be able to quickly connect and not have to carry a suitcase of dongles. With confidential content being shared outside the office, corporate managers need to be ensured that content is secure during a meeting. Barco ClickShare checks off all these boxes.
Sheraton: The Studios
This article is sponsored by Barco.