MILWAUKEE--It was roughly five years ago when Adam Butlein built what resembles a giant LiteBrite for his kids in the basement of his house and after watching the unintended product penetrate a number of different industries he’s now hoping hoteliers will see the light.
LiteZilla, LLC, was formed in 2014 and the product by the same name has primarily gotten placement within children’s museums and pediatric medical space, according to Butlein, the company’s founder and chief illumination officer. However, he pointed out the number of venues continues to expand and now includes everything from churches and summer camps to corporate offices and, most recently, hotels.
Butlein commented on the broad appeal of the product. “Anywhere that people wait is a good place for LiteZilla. If you want to make people’s experience waiting more fun, more relaxing and better there’s a place for it,” he said.
Butlein noted the company’s foray into the lodging space more than a year ago when the Wynn Las Vegas contacted him to rent one for an exclusive event hosted by Steve Wynn. “The response from the hotel was really positive and the response from guests was really positive,” he said.
As a result, the company rented it again for a New Year’s celebration and word began to spread. Butlein was subsequently contacted by hospitality companies, such as Auro Hotels and Pacifica Hotels, for permanent displays.
“The leads started coming to us. We determined that this is something we should look into and follow up on and see how much we want to pursue,” he said.
In the case of Pacifica Hotels, the company will be bringing LiteZilla into a boutique hotel in development. Butlein sees the boutique segment as an ideal destination for the product as he noted the light bulb went off, so to speak, “this is where we should be.”
He further touted the product for those properties catering to a younger clientele. “This is going to be the kind of thing that’s going to excite them; it’s going to differentiate them. That was sort of how we got a foothold into the space,” he said.
However, Butlein emphasized that the product--which the company describes as a hand-crafted, glowing interactive canvas—appeals to all ages.
“It’s designed to be interactive and it’s designed to be inviting. It’s designed to support all ages. It brings the nostalgia out in adults and excites kids. Everybody is invited to play so it’s really universal. It doesn’t matter what your background is. You don’t have to be an artist, there’s nothing intimidating about walking up to it,” he said.
LiteZilla, which is manufactured here, comes in as many a seven standard sizes ranging from 4-feet wide by 5-feet tall to 16-feet wide by 6-feet tall. However, Butlein stressed “we do a ton of custom work,” including different configurations and finishes.
He added the product is designed to be hung on the wall permanently, but the company also offers a portable solution, which would enable it to be used in different parts of the property.
In terms of energy usage, Butlein said that LiteZilla uses low energy, high-efficiency LED light bulbs that have a lifespan of 70,000 hours. He added they do not draw a lot of power and that all of the components within the unit are UL listed.
In addition to improving the overall guest experience, Butlein highlighted the opportunity from a social media perspective.
“The very first thing everybody does, whether they’re three years old or 83 years old, is they walk up to it and they take a selfie in front of it. Then they create a design and they take another selfie. What’s interesting is that you get this organic traffic that happens. For folks who have a lot of followers and are influencers all of a sudden they post it and tag the hotel,” he said, adding the company offers three different signage options for hotels to brand their properties.
Butlein maintained “there’s more than meets the eye” when it comes to LiteZilla and underscored why it makes sense for hotels. “There’s a whole span of reasons why this can not necessarily just grow the business, but also really improve the experience for the guests and hopefully generate a little bit more revenue for the space,” he said.