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Dect phones link hotel staff to reservation system to provide fast-response capability

Arif Mohamed
The Lancaster Landmark Hotel Company, which owns London hotels K West, the Royal Lancaster and The Landmark, has rolled out radio-based Dect (digitally enhanced cordless telecommunication) phones to most of its staff, right down to the car park attendants.

The move has reduced its communications costs and enabled staff to respond rapidly to customer inquiries.

The group integrated a Philips Dect system into a new fast local area network (Lan), which it had overhauled in preparation for the communications rollout.

The Lancaster group began its migration last October when it replaced its Mitel SX2000 telephony systems with Philips PBXs, and a Philips Sopho 2000 telephony system to maximise the use of available bandwidth and send voice and data traffic across the Wan. It also replaced its slower 10 base-T Ethernet network with 100Mbit/sec and Gigabit Ethernet switches from Cisco.

"The hotel group has gone through a huge change. When it upgraded the network and PBXs, it went through two leaps of technology in one single bound," said Tim Wye, managing director of Telemanage, the independent IT consultancy that managed the network project for the group.

At the same time, the Lancaster group upgraded its Microsoft Exchange Server environment, and file and print servers, and in March it installed new Hewlett-Packard servers with backup devices, to run its Micros-Fidelio's Opera central reservations front office system.

The group went live with the new Dect system in January, with Telemanage installing 28 external aerials, the final one added last week to cover the car parking attendants, who previously used mobile phones. "We enhanced the coverage and it is now 100%, including the lift shafts," said Wye.

Alastair Brown, systems manager at The Landmark London, said, "The adoption of the Dect handsets has delivered significant time and cost savings, providing efficiencies for all of our staff. With excellent coverage across the entire building, staff who were sometimes difficult to contact previously are now available at all times."

A software upgrade towards the end of the year will also allow engineers to receive SMS alerts, to act on requests more quickly.

At K West, by integrating the telephony system with the Tiger front-of-house software, housekeeping staff can enter a code into the Dect handset when a room is ready, which updates information at reception, speeding up room turnaround time.

The technology costs 8,000 a year for a seven-year lease covering the Dect handsets, the telephone exchange and a caller counting system. It said its previous SX2000 telephony system, which used traditional phones, was high maintenance and costly.

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