Internet revenue rivals voice in hotel industry

Von Siobhan McBride

High-speed Internet access has become a hotel essential like beds, the telephone and television, according to independent hospitality IT consultant Ted Horner.

In hotels around Australia, Internet revenue now rivals voice and is pushing the development of more broadband offerings for guests.

"For business customers, the need for the best technology to facilitate conferences and business meetings is paramount - a seamless experience to match that of the corporate office," Horner said.

The problem is the local hotel industry hasn"t been able to keep pace with the strong customer demand for broadband, particularly in comparison to the U.S. and Europe.

"The industry needs to act now to protect its revenues," Horner said.

Recognizing the need to provide broadband to clients, the Saville Hotel Group has just implemented a combination of fixed and wireless solutions across all 10 of its properties in mainland Australia.

Saville"s IT manager Steve Knight said overseas visitors simply expected broadband and most businesses specified Internet access for their personnel.

The solution, provided by Integ, included long-range Ethernet into more than 1,400 guest rooms, connectivity to the property management system for billing purposes and wireless access points to lobby, common areas and executive floors.

"Our first hotel went live in November last year, which was our Chatswood (New South Wales) property; there"s a large corporate mix there," Knight said.

"Two properties have gone live since then and we"re hoping all properties should be finished by December this year."

Using a revenue-share model with Integ, the project will not cost Saville a cent, with all technology provided by the vendor.

"The guests are using it, and we can now tender for corporate business; we find that people actually do dial-in to the office or use it in our conference rooms for presentations," Knight said.