Friday, January 4, 2013

4 Questions with Kay Lang and Joseph Ferrugio

We often associate vacations with the cutting off of all forms of communication and technology. Imagine a hotel that turns the tables around, using the digital realm as a basis for immersion and escape. Find out more from Kay Lang and Joseph Ferrugio from Kay Lang + Associates, runner-up of Radical Innovation 2011...

I love how you and Joseph have so cleverly intertwined the digital world into the guest experience. Did any personal experience spark the inspiration for the pair of you to create such a world?   

Thank you, it was our goal to unify emerging technologies of the digital world with the guest experience so the guest can create a customized co-producer relationship within the context of a branded hotel.  We have always been fascinated with virtual reality and the experiential aspects of being wherever you want to be at any moment in time.  Our curiosity and passion for this sparked the idea of a “virtual reality” type hotel which we feel is happening now in reality shows, movies and other forms of visual and sound communication.  We decided to bring this to the hospitality world and incorporate it into a guestroom which would allow the guest to totally “immerse themselves” into their own vision, providing a unique experience based on their personal “likes” and preferences. 

Since we’re so intricately connected to social media in everyday life, how does Immersion hotel provide the sense of escapism for the guest using digital technology? 

The hotel is segregated into three zones to accommodate different aspects of modern life -  Communal zone, Semi-private zone, and Private zone. The Communal zone allows the guest to interact in Public spaces using social media and digital technology.  The Semi-private zone, like guestroom corridors, are areas where the art and mood lighting would be enhanced by the users' “likes” and saved preferences merged with the hotel’s brand standards.  When the guest wants to “escape” to their private guestroom, the guest can customize the room with their own preferences.  Some of these preferences are non-technology driven, like aromatherapy to soothe the soul, special bedding requests.  For a “total immersed experience” the guest can choose their virtual experience through their smart device or through the integrated custom furnishings control panel to relax within their chosen environment. 

How will Immersion keep up with the pace or stay ahead of technological advancements to stay relevant?  

Good planning and smart investments in the beginning will keep it relevant.   The infrastructure of the technology is a long-term investment and can be easily modified by software updates.  Visuals and user preferences can be updated seasonally by the hotel brand.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the integration of great photography and current media, coupled with sound effects, can also help maintain consistent relevancy. 

How did Radical Innovation help your ideas take flight? What does your Radical Innovation win mean to your team?  

The competition allowed us to think outside the box and helped us answer the questions: What is our version of the hotel of the future? How do we want to feel, smell, see and experience a guestroom? That was our basic starting point.  Secondly, technology was the vehicle that allowed us to design this prototype Immersion Brand. Winning this competition meant so much to our team, and hopefully we will see a prototype soon in a hotel near you!

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