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As the global tourism market grows, competition in the hotel industry is heating up. Smart hoteliers are responding with services and designs that enable socialization, productivity, and personalization. The latest trends feature collaborative venues, technology-enabled designs, and reimagined public spaces that offer unique and unforgettable travel experiences.

That’s exactly what W Hotels Worldwide’s Pablo Henderson, Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing, wants for his guests—a feeling they’ve walked into a place they’ll never forget. Now Henderson is going beyond using the exuberant designs that W has become known for and turning his attention to enhancing the guest experience through music.

W Hotels has used music as a touchpoint since its inception. In fact, it was the first hotel brand to appoint a global music director in 2009. And although the sounds of live DJs and specialized, curated background music have always complemented W Hotels’ design aesthetic, Henderson is taking the experience to an even higher level with the introduction of the W Sound Suites.

“We began talking about how hotels are engaging live music differently today, and more closely examining this notion of creating physical spaces,” Henderson says of the genesis of the Sound Suite concept. He spoke recently with W Hotels’ Music Director, Paul Blair (a.k.a. DJ White Shadow), on the Center Stage of AVIXA’s annual InfoComm audiovisual trade show. Blair also happens to be a songwriter and producer, and is currently working with Lady Gaga on the soundtrack to her new movie, A Star is Born. It occurred to him that W Hotels could turn public areas, such as business centers, into creative spaces where touring musicians could record while traveling.

“We love music; music’s part of our brand; music is something that drives us as an entity,” Blair says. “So we’re going to take this space in our hotel that we could easily turn into a coffee shop, and instead create something unique for musicians and creatives—this incredible community that we care so much about, to have a space that they can use.”

The W Sound Suite is a private music studio, writer’s room and lounge that offers a retreat for musicians and producers. Hotel guests can also get in on the fun by booking the studio to live out their rockstar dreams. And knowing the music business like he does, Blair is making sure each Sound Suite varies in its features and capabilities from city to city.

The idea was quickly green-lighted and, as Henderson explains, W Hotels’ first stylish, comfortable, sound-proof space, featuring the latest in recording studio technology, was opened at the W Bali, in Seminyak, Indonesia. W Hotels has since opened Sound Suites in Seattle (pictured), West Hollywood and Barcelona.

Traveler demands are constantly changing, and efforts to make hotel stays more memorable are getting far more innovative and immersive. Today’s visitors are expecting new experiences, and designing innovative audiovisual solutions, such as the W Sound Suites, can have a profound impact.

Photo: W Sound Suite Seattle

AVIXA™ is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, Innovation Sponsor of BDNY 2018, November 11-12. AVIXA and its members aim to help hotel brands create a more successful future through the integration of compelling audiovisual experiences. AVIXA represents the $178 billion global commercial AV industry and produces InfoComm tradeshows around the world.
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