Westin Launches New Business Center Concept, Caters to Small Meetings

Most hotels have a business center: a small, dated room with old, dated equipment — a PC, perhaps, a printer and a fax machine — that travelers frequent only when their laptop's on the fritz. Westin Hotels & Resorts intends to change that with "Project Hive," a new interconnected workspace concept designed to support contemporary business travelers — including those that need space for small, impromptu meetings.

"While the majority of today's companies have moved towards office space that is more open, functional and technology driven, hotel business centers and small meeting facilities have remained low-tech, hidden and often unused," Westin explained in a statement. "Westin's concept turns the traditional offering on its head and offers guests a modern, fully-equipped and technology savvy space designed to promote productivity."

Introduced this week, Project Hive workspaces are currently available at The Westin Boston Waterfront in Boston and The Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Va., with plans to roll out globally through 2013. Tailored to the needs of mobile and global business travelers, each "hive" totals 260 square feet or less and features a "co-working" environment with "flexible, temporary, collaborative" workspaces.

Key features include a media:scape by Steelcase system that integrates technology and office furniture; video conferencing at a four-person seated workspace; floor-to-ceiling whiteboards; Samsung televisions; printers; sound systems; and an Xbox 360 for games or DVDs.

What's more, each space is listed online at LiquidSpace.com, which means it can be booked by the hour — "at a moment's notice," according to Westin — for small, impromptu meetings for groups of up to four.

"The one-size-fits-all small meeting spaces and traditional business centers no longer support the way today's mobile traveler works," said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader for Westin Hotels. "More than 70 percent of business travelers told us that an environment that better supports their work objectives would significantly improve their business travel experience and 48 percent said having facilities available whenever they wanted to use them would positively impact the quality of their hotel stay. While a hotel room or lobby is a place where you can do work, this workspace was specifically designed as a smart room that promotes productivity and reflects today's social and work trends."