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Virgin Holidays

Project: Digital signage for an airport lounge
Major challenge: Present info to vacationers in an unobtrusive way
Product: iCOMPEL Digital Signage

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The background

Virgin Holidays is a U.K.-based transatlantic tour operator, arranging flights, accommodations, and airport transfers for vacationers traveling to the U.S. and the Caribbean, as well as destinations worldwide.

Having recently opened a new “v-room” lounge at Surrey, England’s Gatwick Airport, Virgin Holidays wanted to acknowledge their guests were special and give them a comfortable place to wait for their flight to board.

This special v-room lounge, which Virgin Holidays describes as “an oasis of peace and quiet,” was set up to include a dedicated area for children, where they can play games and stay entertained, and an area set aside for adults, where they can read a paper or browse the Internet in peace. The lounge overlooks the airport runway with floor-to-ceiling views and telescopes for travelers interested in “plane-spotting” to pass the time.

What it wanted to do:

With an exciting range of amusements already available, how could Virgin Holidays improve its lounge further?

Virgin Holidays decided that it would be great opportunity to inform travelers of tourist amenities available to them in different countries, what facilities and activities the various hotels and theme parks offered—and generally build excitement about their holiday destinations immediately before people start their journey. They also needed to inform passengers when their flight was ready for boarding.
And because vacationers aren’t inclined to read traditional notice boards—static displays without eye-catching moving graphics to grab attention—Virgin Holidays had to use an alternative approach.

The execution:

It was agreed that a digital signage network was needed. The AV installers chosen for the job recommended using the integrated hardware/software appliance currently sold in the U.S. and elsewhere as the Black Box® iCOMPEL™ to compile, distribute, and manage content shown on the v-room screens.

These networked appliances were recommended, in part, because they gave Virgin Holidays the ability to show multiple video zones and scroll RSS newsfeeds directly to the displays. What’s more, the override capabilities of the appliances would enable Virgin Holidays staff to interrupt any presentation to display up-to-date information about flights ready to depart.

As with all corporate promotions, branding is important. But Virgin Holidays wanted to present its brand in an unobtrusive way to maintain the relaxed atmosphere. This was achieved through a creative layout design, which enabled corporate colors and logos to be shown without dominating the room.

In an additional effort to maintain the tranquil atmosphere, nonurgent security announcements, such as “Please don’t leave bags or children unattended” aren’t communicated by loudspeaker, as is traditionally done. They’re now simply displayed on the digital screens.

The result:

Gatwick Airport now has a hospitality lounge that would be the envy of any airport. Visitors are now able to obtain up-to-minute news, enjoy entertainment, and simply relax in the knowledge that they will be kept up-to-date with flight news and other relevant information.