The Sofitel Paris Baltimore is a 19th century townhouse hotel located in a lovely traditional neighborhood, not far from the Eiffel Tower. During a recent renovation, management decided to retain the historic charm of the building, but introduce a spectacular new welcome: a 100-square-foot interactive digital wall in the entrance hallway. This Welcome Wall is entertaining, informative and intuitively interactive. “
“Because they were renovating the hotel, the owners wanted to create something new and exciting that would make a statement every time a guest returns, and I think the digital Welcome Wall really achieves that goal,” says Alexandre Simionescu, Managing Partner and Creative Director of Float4, designers of the Welcome Wall. “It creates a great contrast with the very classic aspect of the hotel — this place that has been around for over a hundred years.
“The Welcome Wall is not something that’s subtle. It’s meant really to attract your attention and initiate interaction in a way that is not invasive. It’s very playful and fun. Once engaged, guests inevitably take the next step. They actually touch the wall once they notice that it’s interactive. The Welcome Wall is there to break the ice.”
“The owners wanted to create something new and exciting that would make a statement every time a guest returns, and I think the digital Welcome Wall really achieves that goal”. Alexandre Simionescu, Managing Partner and Creative Director of Float4
Included on the wall are playful artworks that attract your attention and respond to your movements, a photo booth, and a virtual concierge, where you can explore Paris. The knowledgeable staff can log on to the content management system and help you create a path through Paris that lasts two hours, based on your interests — and you can download the path to your phone and take it with you.
The size of the wall wows guests, and the interactivity keeps them involved. Simionescu thinks this is the beginning of a trend.
I’ve seen touchscreens in hotels that are usually kiosks,” he says. “To date, I haven’t seen anything with this size and with this level of refinement in terms of the content and interactivity. Of course, we have some of those typical elements that you would expect to find, like the news. We want to make some of these elements relatable, because that’s part of the user experience, to get them easily comfortable with the technology. So, there are some elements that are more familiar. We want to use that as a starting point, and add features they don’t expect to find on their end. Creating those tours is a perfect example. Customized information can be compiled for each traveler. It’s a wonderfully creative way to blend information entertainment into a unique brand-building experience.”
Float4 has created large, interactive walls for a variety of clients, but hospitality seems like a perfect fit. They’ve recently completed another Welcome Wall for the Mere Hotel in Winnipeg.