Peter den Burger, Marketing Communications Manager for PADS4, sat down with Coen Poelmans, general manager of the new Van der Valk Hotel Utrecht, to discuss the project, its goals, and the technology that brought the system at Van der Valk to life.
Peter den Burger: “Van der Valk is located at the center of Utrecht, making it ideal for business clients, often from out of town and out of country. How did that affect the planning and structure of the hotel?”
Coen Poelmans: “Bringing people together is the primary function of our hotel. For example, we offer modern conference rooms in combination with luxury hotel rooms. Our business clientele can come and go, enjoy good food and drinks, and navigate to their appointments in our hotel or in the surrounding area. This naturally necessitates a strong communication system, because information is an inseparable element of our business concept.”
Peter Den Burger: “InfoScreens created a digital signage network in the Van der Valk Hotel Utrecht, with 12 large flat screens throughout the hotel for infotainment and wayfinding, plus touch screens spread through 5 conference rooms. These function to welcome guests, offer in-room branding and information, plus reservations. For example, you can create summaries of meetings, use dynamic wayfinding with arrows, display customized layouts, and much more. The whole system uses the EasyInfo InfoScreens’ content management system, which is seamlessly linked to PADS4 and Hotel Van der Valk systems. Do you want to explain why you went with this setup?”
Coen Poelmans: “We chose to work with InfoScreens, a company which already provides similar services in Van der Valk hotels Vianen and Houten. We’ve had an excellent experience with PADS4 connected to our reservation system and InfoScreens’ EasyInfo in our other hotels, so it made sense to use the same system in our new hotel.”
Peter den Burger: “There are differences between the system in Utrecht and the ones at Vianen and Houten. For example, InfoScreens had to find a way to seamlessly display the correct meeting on the right screen, and to show single presentations across screens in multiple rooms. In other hotels, the meeting room could be matched to a room code using the room number. In Utrecht, this was a challenge because the conference halls are modular. A single client can rent multiple conference halls to use as one larger room. When this happens, the screens from each of those rooms need to link together to show the same data. Utrecht features 22 conference rooms, 5 of which can be linked together in any order. So, the screens in the modular conference rooms need to update for up to 9 different room layouts.
Here, PADS4 provided a solution with our recently introduced Viewer Variables. The new Viewer Variables feature ensures that displays ‘know’ what data is changeable, so staff only need to define the variable once. This ultimately means they only need to design one presentation, which they can then schedule for the an entire group. Using the variables, staff can assign a single presentation out to any room or configuration in the system, to automatically update across all screens in that configuration. As a result, the team can display the correct information in all 22 conference rooms with just one presentation. Hotel staff can then easily assign rooms and update background images and displays using the PADS4 Agent. The system is simple to use and stable, but also very efficient and capable of reducing the total cost of the signage. Do you want to talk about how you use it?”
Coen Poelmans: “Signage plays a crucial role in our hotel. Currently we use PADS4 as part of our reservation system, with our meeting room software (IDPMS – Amadeus Property Management), and for wayfinding. We use signage to support events, meetings, conferences, and to guide guests to their destinations in the hotel. It’s an important part of what we do. We are very pleased with the result.”
The Van der Valk Hotel in Utrecht opened in April, 2017, and is now a thriving business hub. The hotel is pleased with their signage solution, which offers simplicity of use, system stability, and creative design applications to meet their custom needs.