Grand Hyatt NY Updates Its Digital Signage

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

The prestigious Grand Hyatt Hotel of New York is running its sophisticated new digital signage system on Omnivex software from Concord, Ont.-based Omnivex Corp. in Canada.

Approximately 12%-to-15% of Omnivex’ business in the hospitality industry, including, among other sites, the Hyatt Regency in Chicago and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The Grand Hyatt NY, located in midtown Manhattan and adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, is only steps from the city’s top attractions – including Times Square, Broadway theaters, Central Park and Fifthhyatt2 Avenue. With its 55,000 square feet of renovated meeting space, it has a complex floor plan and hosts many conferences and meetings. Hence, the hotel wanted to help enhance the guest experience and help its visitors navigate the large facility more easily.

The hotel selected Omnivex software to manage the network for its ability to automatically update screens throughout the hotel by interfacing with the hotel’s existing scheduling system, called Daylight. The Grand Hyatt has numerous different players running, some of which may be tied to only a few screens, while one is tied to an in-house channel to every guest room. The channel features content with the details of upcoming meetings and events taking place at the hotel, so guests have access to the information directly from their room.

However, what the guests see is only part of the system. Screens also help management with staff scheduling, logistics and other information.

On the newly redesigned Conference Level, four 40” LCD displays are suspended in mid-air in front of the glass that overlooks the main floor. The content directs guests to their meetings, illustrates the floor plan, and informs guests of on-site restaurants and upgrades such as Hyatt Gold Passport. Outside each meeting room, approximately 20 LCD panels, each 15” wide, provide automatically updated schedules to show what is taking place in each room.

There are also about 15 larger displays (primarily NEC 40″ in portrait orientation) through the rest of the facility showing way-finding, scheduling, conference details, promotions, news and weather.

There is no outside advertising unrelated to the Hyatt and its services. The hotel promotes in-house restaurants and attractions, and also advertises the Hyatt Gold Passport membership program.

“Luxury hotels find third-party advertising intrusive when guests are there for a vacation or conventions,” says Jeff Collard, Omnivex president.

Almost all of the screens are in custom enclosures, and are built to fit the architecture.

“The screens become part of the environment, so it’s important that, as the light changes, for example, they remain attractive and easy to read,” says Collard.

“The guest experience is our top priority and the digital signage system puts Grand Hyatt NY a notch above competing luxury hotels,” says Thomas Beatty, senior director of convention services for Hyatt’s eastern region. “This technology helps our facilities stand out as exceptional.”

hyatt1Displays on the Executive Suite Level provide dynamic listings of events, directions, and the correct elevator and level needed to get there. Custom monoliths encasing large-screen LCDs stand vertically in high-traffic areas facing elevator banks and present welcome messages, schedules, navigation, real-time news and weather, and branding of guest companies’ hosting events at the hotel. These displays cycle through floor plans of the conference area, through each event, and point guests left or right so they leave the elevator heading the right way.

“The point of digital signage should be to help people make decisions,” says Collard. “Our intelligent software can measure conditions and the message will change automatically, as required.

“The next step is to extend the digital signage network to the Ballroom Level, which is currently under renovation,” says David Alter, director of engineering and project management for AVT Communiqué, which oversees the system. “Omnivex gives us the capability to stretch functionality in new ways and provide great value to guests at the hotel.”

Digital signage in hotels is a specialty of AVT, which manages the Grand Hyatt system remotelyhyatt4 from its Chicago office, while administrative staff at the Grand Hyatt NY can also post messages and make changes to the content as needed. However, most of the ‘work’ is automated by interfacing Omnivex with other systems the hotel has, such as its scheduling system.

“While the Grand Hyatt is starting off with enhancing the guest experience, digital signage software will eventually be used by hotels and other hospitality sectors to help others make decisions, not only staff, but also suppliers,” forecasts Collard. “Suppliers could automatically be informed if 50 new sheets have to be ordered, or when fresh fruits and vegetables need to be delivered. Intelligent content is catching on with people and helping link information with live data and business rules to drive content. “

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