2011 Innovators: Vivek Shaiva, Executive VP and CIO, La Quinta Inns & Suites

To get a step ahead of its competition, La Quinta Inns & Suites looked into the future and saw the solution in crisp, clear high-definition. In March, the company announced that it would make a $40 million-plus investment to install more than 50,000 Samsung flat-screen HD TVs in 383 of its corporate-owned properties. Now that the first phase of the project is finished, all remaining hotels across the chain are targeted for completion by December 2012.

While many hotels are deploying newer flat-screen televisions in guestrooms, significantly fewer have made the additional investment in infrastructure required to deliver HD programming, says Vivek Shaiva, La Quinta’s chief information officer. “Even many high-end luxury resorts have followed the same old approach—upgrade the televisions but continue to deliver poor quality, standard definition programming,” he says.

La Quinta’s solution offers 37 channels, of which 30 are in HD, including three premium movie channels. Content is provided via a set-top box, which allows the brand to offer features like an interactive program guide, mood themes, and plug-and-play capabilities. The entire solution is centrally managed and controlled, allowing La Quinta to deliver a consistent branding experience and marketing message across the chain and more easily deploy upgrades and new features remotely.

Now that guests more frequently carry their own content, whether on laptops, tablets, smartphones, or in the cloud, Shaiva says they often want a device that will enable them to enjoy a larger format viewing experience while traveling. Guests are less dependent on content that hotels can deliver, he says, which has led to the gradual demise of pay-per-view in hotels. “We have retired that model and replaced it with a solution that instead of preventing guests from plugging their own devices to the TVs in hotels encourages them to do so,” he says.
La Quinta requires all TVs to have easily accessible side ports for HDMI and composite ports.


“We absolutely believe that having set-top boxes will enable us to be even more innovative,” Shaiva says, “as we can deploy new solutions without the need to replace the TVs.”

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