May 9, 2018 by Kirsten Nelson

I distinctly remember the first time I walked into a W Hotel. It felt like a place that I was lucky to enter. Like it was so uniquely special, I must have been pretty uniquely special myself to walk into the lobby. The details of the space were emblazoned into my mind, as music played and people crowded the public areas. This was a place people wanted to be, even if (or probably especially because) there wasn’t any free continental breakfast.

I didn’t feel anything like that again until I walked into a W Hotel in another city. And then another city. Each time, the experience was permanently stored in my memory. Ask me to recall the reception at the W Hotel in Minneapolis in the old Foshay Tower, and I will be accurate. Ask me to describe the lobby of any other beige-marble-walled lobby of the innumerable hotels I’ve checked into throughout my decades of business travel, and I’ll just shrug.

St Vincent in Sound Suite a W Hotel
St Vincent in the Sound Suite at the W Hotel

Why was this hotel so memorable? Yes, it was gorgeous, with exuberant design flourishes that were far ahead of their time when the W first came into existence in 1998. But also, more importantly for our industry, it was notable because of the music. The sounds of live DJs or super specialized, carefully curated background music complemented the high-design aesthetic, creating an atmosphere that made guests feel remarkable.

Since the W Hotel opened, there has been a wide adoption of cool lobbies and a general hipifying of more traditional hotel chains. But maybe more exciting is the fact that right now, as hotels compete with a little phenomenon called Airbnb, there’s a growing resurgence of live music and DJs happening in hospitality venues.

Pablo Henderson
Pablo Henderson, Senior Global Director, Brand Marketing for W Hotels

With this trend, and my particular affinity for a certain hotel chain, I’m more than a bit giddy to announce that the Senior Global Director, Brand Marketing for W Hotels, Pablo Henderson, is coming to talk about “How Hotels Create New Demand with Live Music and Entertainment” at Center Stage on Friday, June 8 during InfoComm.

Henderson is a particularly qualified speaker on this subject. As music is such a huge part of the W Hotels brand, a big part of his job is music related. He helps to ensure that the W always has the newest sounds that are relevant on a local level, and also consistent with the hotel’s global image.

Even more thrilling, on stage with Henderson will be one very dynamic collaborator who helps W Hotels push music forward. In addition to bringing new talent and music-related events to the roster at various locations, he created the W’s Sound Suites, fully functioning recording studios offered to talented guests who want to capture new sounds while on tour.

Paul Blair
Paul Blair, writer and music producer known as DJ White Shadow

This particular speaker is quite qualified to speak on the topic of live music, as he happens to be Paul Blair, the music writer and producer professionally known as DJ White Shadow. He works with many notables, maybe most notably, Lady Gaga, with whom he co-wrote and produced much of the Grammy-nominated material on her Born This Way and Artpop albums.

These are speakers you will not want to miss. So start your last day of InfoComm 2018 right, and come party with the people who know that live music and good sound is what makes hotels more luxurious.

“How Hotels Create New Demand with Live Music and Entertainment,” with Pablo Henderson, Senior Global Director, Brand Marketing for W Hotels, and Paul Blair, the writer and music producer professionally known as DJ White Shadow, will open Center Stage (Booth N1646) at 10.30am on Friday, June 8 during InfoComm 2018 in Las Vegas. Center Stage sessions are free and open to all InfoComm attendees, but seats fill up quickly, so arrive early.

About Kirsten Nelson

Kirsten Nelson has written about audio, video and experience design in all its permutations for more than 20 years. As a writer and content developer for AVIXA, Kirsten connects stories, people and technology through a variety of media. She also directs program content for the TIDE Conference and Technology Innovation Stage at InfoComm. For three years, she also created conversations around emerging media and experiential design at InfoComm's Center Stage. Prior to that, Kirsten was the editor of SCN magazine for 17 years.