By Jillian Ruffino
Published in the September 2007 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
What is your position? How many years have you been in this profession?
Iam the senior director of engineering at Hyatt Regency Chicago and havebeen in the facility management profession for 26 years.
Please give a brief description of the facility involved in this project.
HyattRegency Chicago is the largest hotel in the city and the largest Hyatthotel in the world. Between two towers, we offer 2,019 guest rooms,seven restaurants/lounges, and 228,000 square feet of meeting space(including four ballrooms and a 70,000 square foot exhibit hall).
Ourhotel is located along Chicago’s Riverwalk and near Museum Campus, theMagnificent Mile, Grant and Millennium Parks, the Loop, the theaterdistrict, Navy Pier, and other cultural attractions.
Why was the decision made to pursue this project?
Weneeded to find a way to enhance the hotel’s BIG Bar. We wanted toincrease revenue from this outlet and provide an enhanced experiencefor our guests.
Please describe the decision making and research process for this project.
Wedo everything big at Hyatt Regency Chicago. When the idea was proposedby Panasonic to install two 103″ flat panel televisions in the lobby,atrium, and BIG Bar area of the hotel, it seemed like a perfect fit.
Workingwith structural engineers and Peerless Industries, a mountmanufacturer, it was determined that this impressive installation couldbe accomplished successfully. Once we knew it could work, we did notneed any further convincing.
The decision was made to showcasetwo of the world’s largest plasma displays. We would suspend them fromthe ceiling’s I-Beams. The challenge began.
What was the vendor selection process like? Did you feel limited?
Panasonicis the provider of the largest plasma screen available, and when HyattRegency Chicago does something, it does it big. It just made sense togo with Panasonic when they approached us.
Finding amounting solution for the installation was very easy as well. We knewthis would be the first 103″ flat panel television suspended twostories in the air. We selected Peerless because of its engineering andmanufacturing expertise, reputation for professional grade and qualityproducts, reliable delivery, and proven expertise in developingmounting solutions.
What other factors led you to choose this particular solution?
Westarted working with Peerless from the inception of this idea. Forthose who are interested in a similar installation, I recommendbringing in the mount company at the beginning. Because Peerless wasinvolved from the start, the company knew exactly what we wanted.
Basedon the information Peerless gathered, we were presented with a custommount that fit the application, our rigorous safety requirements, andaesthetic needs.
What benefits have you reaped as a result of this project?
We have seen an increase in traffic at BIG Bar, resulting in higher food and beverage sales and greater revenue.
Theinstallation of these plasma displays has also enhanced our guests’experience by providing an opportunity to catch the big game or musicvideos up close and personal on two 103″ flat panels.
Did you encounter any unexpected highlights or challenges while implementing this project?
Everythingis unexpected when you are the first to take on a task. Our challengesincluded the development of a custom mounting solution to carry theweight of the 500 pound plasma televisions; ensuring a clean wireraceway from the ceiling I-Beams to the televisions; and rigging theunits in the lobby 30′ above the floor.
How did this project require you to change your operations and maintenance practices?
Thisproject required very few operational and maintenance changes. Thealmost maintenance free installation requires routine cleaning that isdone by our in-house event technology company.
What has been the reaction to the project from upper management and elsewhere in your organization?
People are quite taken aback when they see such large plasmas. We have received great compliments from executives within Hyatt.
How have your customers responded to this project?
The response has been very positive. Both locals and out of town guests who visit BIG Bar have been excited about the plasmas.
What was the most professionally rewarding aspect of this project?
Ithas been gratifying to watch our guests enjoy the plasmas and know itwas worth taking on such a custom installation to enhance theirexperience