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QHotels has a collection of 26 4* luxury hotels throughout the UK. With over 300 meeting spaces within the portfolio, the hotel regularly receives recognition and awards for its conferencing and event facilities and has recently been awarded the top industry accolade in the 2017 M&IT Awards, scooping the coveted gold award for Best Venue Group Meeting Product.
Recognising that the needs of meeting and event hosts are continually evolving, QHotels has teamed up with events production company Universal Live, and Universal Live AV, to equip its conference rooms with the very latest ‘touch of a button’ audio visual technology.
All audio visual equipment in its meeting rooms were to be operated at the touch of a button. No longer were people happy to scramble around under desks to connect wires or amend resolutions on projectors. They wanted to book a room, turn up and turn on their machines, hold an effective meeting, turn off and leave.
Universal Live already provided the QHotels group with full technical production to events and meetings taking place within the hotels. For fixed installation however they turned to their sister, Universal AV.
Project teams were assembled and an exact brief created. The rooms and technology had to be innovative yet intuitive to use. The concepts would need to be stressed tested for ease of use and reliability, and the solution provided would need to be aesthetically pleasing to some of the older more ornate conference rooms.
Universal AV worked with QHotels and several leading manufacturers to produce suitable concepts. The concepts were all slightly different and tested at the same time, under the same circumstance with users to see which model was the easiest to use and most reliable.
With each room varying in scale, a one solution fits all was not deemed appropriate. The smaller rooms would have fixed screens installed and the larger rooms would house projectors.
The solutions consisted of:
• 4-6 Seater meeting rooms with a 55” LCD Panasonic screen
• 8-12 Seater meeting rooms with 65” LCD Screens
• 12-16 Seater meeting rooms with 75/80” LCD Screens
• Projection screens where LCD not appropriate and the room length is too long for the screen to be seen comfortably.
All rooms would host Barco Click share. This was tested by QHotels on many occasions and tested against competitor technology and was deemed to be most easy to use and reliable. The technology allows clients to come into the room and wirelessly connect their laptop, tablet or device to the main screen at the touch of just one button to carry out their meeting. This provides delegates with the ability to flick from screen to screen in the most efficient way. True hassel free meetings, no wires, no clambering under desks or needing a technician to help connect to the screen.
Planning and Installation:
The hotel group is extremely busy with events and functions therefore the installation schedule was planned around a working room. The installations would take place over a period of months across the group’s hotels with resident Universal technicians.
• January 2017 – The Queens, Leeds
• February 2017 – Nottingham Belfry
• February 2017 – Chesford Grange
• March 2017 – The Oxford Belfry
• March 2017 – Norton Park
• April 2017 – The Midland, Manchester
• May 2017 – Crewe Hall.
Overall there will be 30 meeting room spaces with installed audio visual solutions.
The additional challenge for Universal was tailoring solutions in the grand/listed hotels to ensure they were aesthetically pleasing. An example of this is at The Midland Hotel in Manchester, in an ornate room where a screen on a wall would look out of place. Universal AV disguised the screen in a gilded mirror frame, befitting of the room and ensuring the glass on the screen was mirrored when switched off. To the untrained eye, this would just look like a mirror. Cables housed in trunking were also disguised by recreating the paper/paint colour of the room on a vinyl wrap.
Nick Fitzpatrick, Managing Director at Universal AV, commented:
“We are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the supply of integrated meeting room solutions. We have worked tirelessly with Universal Live and a number of prestigious manufacturers to demonstrate a range of solutions that could be implemented throughout the luxury hotel group.
It was imperative the solution was intuitive to use as meeting residents were to be able to come into a room and, at the touch of a button connect to the installed screens. The solution implemented allows for this, whilst at the same time is still aesthetically pleasing to QHotels’ diverse property range.”
“Comment: “We are always looking at ways to improve our audio visual offering and Universal Live and Universal AV work very closely with us to ensure we stay ahead of the market. Whilst we are introducing ClickShare across our entire portfolio, we are also looking at what is likely to follow. As technology is constantly evolving, so are our customers’ requirements.””