The Inn at Virginia Tech develops new facilities for hosting hybrid conferences
Rooms use new technology to meet ongoing business needs for virtual and in-person meetings
The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center is unveiling four redesigned conference rooms that leverage the same technology developed by Virginia Tech for use in its state-of-the-art classrooms. The more than 5,000 square feet of meeting space offers the ideal environment for both socially distanced on-site and hybrid meeting participation, where attendees can connect virtually from anywhere in the world.
“The conference industry has to adapt to accommodate virtual meeting technology that’s reimagining the event experience,” general manager Tom Cupo said. “Our university affiliation has given us a great advantage to quickly embrace this new reality to offer our clients a business continuity advantage unique to The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.”
Each meeting room features specialized conferencing equipment, including:
- Front- and rear-facing Aver CAM 530 PTZ cameras with centralized control.
- Self-adjusting ceiling microphones with 360-degree pickup that recognize and respond to changes in volume and room echo based on the person speaking.
- No-touch microphones connected to house and conferencing system sound.
- AirMedia presentation systems that enable presenters to connect to the in-room projector from any location.
- Live-stream and on-demand viewing capabilities.
Led by the inn’s team of conference planning and audiovisual experts, the Skelton Conference Center’s modern meeting rooms are designed with built-in security features, including access controls that prevent cybersecurity risks, such as harassment, eavesdropping, or data theft.
Shelly Jobst, director of Continuing and Professional Education at Virginia Tech, said the inn’s conference facilities have played a huge role in supporting her unit’s needs for years, but implementation of the new equipment will expand opportunities by engaging both presenters and participants from any location around the globe.
“Having access to this meeting technology through the inn will provide a seamless transition to delivering programs now and in a post-pandemic environment. Coupling our recent shift to virtual meetings with the new technology at the inn, we will always be able to pivot and provide solutions for convening groups and providing meaningful experiences,” Jobst said.
Quick adaptation of university technology is one of many steps the inn has taken to continue meeting client and guest needs in this evolving environment, Cupo said. “This is in addition to changes at the inn to food and beverage presentation and preparation, guest room renovations, and numerous health and safety measures in accordance with CDC guidelines for hospitality businesses.”
As the hotel industry continues to respond with health and safety precautions to maintain guest wellness, The Inn at Virginia Tech has adopted numerous new protocols, including the use of electrostatic sprayers to disinfect rooms, guest sanitizing stations, wrapped towels and linens, and a revised dining layout to accommodate social distancing guidelines in Preston’s Restaurant and Continental Divide lounge.
The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, part of Outreach and International Affairs, has 147 guest rooms and suites. Its conference facilities offer 23,000 square feet of meeting space. Benchmark Resorts & Hotels has managed the property since 2011.