Hospitality is first and foremost about providing an experience that delights and pampers the customer. So when the up-market Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel set up shop in 2010 near Sagres, Portugal, it knew it needed to get its network infrastructure right.
This meant a flexible IP-based network that included IP telephony and allowed room to grow.
“There are always new demands from guests,” said the resort’s IT manager, Luis Silva, in a case study about the resort’s IT rollout. “A few years ago, maybe 20 percent of guests arrived with a laptop, now everyone has a smartphone and the requirement to connect to the internet is simply expected.”
Martinhal partnered with Alcatel-Lucent and NextiraOne (News - Alert) on the network infrastructure, and the results have helped the resort give its customers the high-end hospitality experience they expect.
The partnership decided to go with a data center and optical fiber network to connect the 45 villas, 23 townhouses, 132 village houses and 38-room hotel on the resort’s 14-acre property. It went with Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise to provide a full IP solution for up to 250 users, OmniSwitch 9700 series and Wireless LAN (WiFi (News - Alert)) for guest rooms and public areas, security from Fortinet and OmniVista 2500/OmniVista 4760 that allowed centralized management for both voice and data.
For video, it chose a global IPTV/Video on Demand (VoD) solution for 170 locations, including antennas, streamer, VoD server and Set Top Box (News - Alert), with WiFi internet access and Nonius Software.
“The great thing with an IP infrastructure is that you can enhance it with new features and applications that are relevant to the business,” noted Silva. “There will always be ad hoc requirements not on the original specification.”
While the guests don’t see the network infrastructure, they certainly notice the fruit it bears.
In addition to reliable and fast internet and WiFi available throughout the resort, guests are welcomed with a personalized message in their own language on the TV in their room. Daily weather reports and flight times are also sent, along with a video on demand system that stores personal choices.
Because the infrastructure is flexible, the resort also currently is developing a range of room-service features such as booking tennis courts or windsurfing lessons through the TV, the case study noted.
More experimental features also are in the works. Currently the resort is considering the possibility of providing tablets to guests that they can use to look up local information or book resort services. The resort also might allow guests to control their room functions and resort services using their own devices.
A controversial potential service the resort currently is mulling over is the option of in-room video cameras that parents can leverage to monitor their kids while outside of the room engaged in other activities at the resort. This still is being considered, however.
On the operations side, the resort also is benefiting from the network infrastructure thoughtfully laid out for future growth.
Silva has a clear view of all IT operations at the resort, and can monitor and trace all usage or limit bandwidth use—a necessity given that the resort is ultimately responsible for all internet connect it pulls onto its network. It also is experimenting with having blinds shutter and lights switch off when rooms are locked, cutting expenses.
Overall, both Martinhal and its guests are pleased with the results.
“Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) and NextiraOne did a great job in making the case for all the technology, providing a solution that will support the future demands of our guests, for increased mobility and access to multimedia information,” noted Silva.
Edited by Peter Bernstein