Technology from PSAV Transforms 1917 Detroit Hotel

  • PSAV® Presentation Services
  • 03.24.09
For inspiration regarding the ability of technology to transform a legacy product, America’s automakers need look no further than their own backyard, where PSAV® Presentation Services has installed multiple 21st century audiovisual systems in a 1917 hotel.

The Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby/Detroit Downtown hotel, which first opened its doors here as the Hotel Fort Shelby 91 years ago when Ford Model T autos challenged trolley cars for dominance of city streets, now features state-of-the-art audiovisual systems in 16 of its 20 meeting rooms.

The meeting facilities, totaling 21,000 square feet of flexible function space, were outfitted with the latest display and sound systems in conjunction with a $90 million, multiyear renovation completed last month that both preserved the hotel’s historical architecture and transformed its infrastructure into a showpiece of 21st century technology.

PSAV, a national supplier of audiovisual and event technology that serves as the hotel’s in-house audiovisual supplier, served as project designer and manager for the meeting room technology, according to Bob Cohen, PSAV vice president of sales.

Minimum specifications for each meeting room include an LCD video monitor, ranging in size from 52 to 65 inches; a Crestron® Electronics Quick Media Controller; DMX® digital satellite music; iPod® in-wall dock; satellite television feed; high-speed Internet service; and wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted speaker systems.  The ballrooms and larger multipurpose rooms additionally feature wireless microphones.

The wall-mounted Crestron units control each room’s audio, computer connections, television and video feeds and lighting equipment through interfaces with the video display, TV receiver and other devices. PSAV completed the installation in time for the hotel’s recent soft opening.

“We installed the type of audiovisual equipment needed on a day-to-day basis in each room,” said Cohen. “To ensure consistency and ease of use, the controls in each meeting room function similarly.  Any user can walk in and easily operate the equipment.”

PSAV’s nearly five decades of providing in-house hotel audiovisual services uniquely qualified it for this project, according to Cohen.  “We have a unique understanding of the meeting clients’ as well as the business needs of the facility,” he said.  “We also make sure our systems are future-proof, meaning they can be upgraded easily to accommodate evolving technology and innovations.”

Shannon Dunavent, hotel general manager, said the property’s owner, MCP Development LLC, invested in the audiovisual systems because it is committed to offering a high-end educational center.  The hotel’s meeting facilities currently are undergoing review for certification by the International Association of Convention Centers.

“We want to be the industry leader for meetings in this market,” she said, adding that if approved, the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby/Detroit Downtown would become the first IACC-certified hotel in the city.

Dunavent noted that client expectations for audiovisual support have increased concurrently with technological advances.  “Needs certainly have changed since the days of overhead projectors and screens,” she said.  “Our equipment makes even simple PowerPoint presentations look great.”

The 203-suite Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby/Detroit Downtown hotel is managed by Hilton Hotels Corp., which franchises the Doubletree brand.

PSAV Presentation Services of Long Beach, Calif., is a leading supplier of audiovisual and event technology to hotels, associations, producers and meeting planners worldwide.  The company manages presentation services for more than 800 luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers worldwide.

“PSAV is totally committed to making every live event an unforgettable experience,” said Digby Davies, PSAV chief executive officer.  “Our goal is to turn ordinary meetings into memorable experiences so the message lasts.”

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