Amwaj Rotana Upgrades to High-Speed Hotel-Wide Wi-Fi for Guests with Latest Wireless Solutions from Aruba
Rabih Merhy knew that reliable, high-performance Wi-Fi was now perceived by hotel guests as a basic utility, rather than a luxury. An internal study conducted by the hotel had found that each guest now expected to connect via more than one mobile device which promoted the need for an enhancement of the hotel’s wireless infrastructure.
“To cope with this increased need for connectivity, we needed to upgrade the guest internet service to more than double its previous speed,” said Rabih, Director of I.T., Amwaj Rotana.
Enlisting the aid of the Hospitality Specialist
Having utilized Aruba’s 801.11n technologies since 2012, to meet basic connectivity requirements, Amwaj Rotana was aware of the performance, rich-feature sets and cost-effectiveness of Aruba’s solutions.
A challenge, unique to this project, were the solid concrete walls between the hotel rooms and the IT team knew they would need a reliable solution from a market expert to overcome this.
The thorough six week evaluation and testing phase led to the selection of Aruba’s 801.11ac solutions. Rabih noted, “Primarily, Aruba’s technology was the most suited to our needs. They were a natural choice based on the fruitful relationship we had already established.”
This relationship had also enabled Rabih and his team to experience firsthand the unmatched level of commitment and support delivered by Aruba’s regional team.
Supporting the Exponential Increase in Guest Devices
Aruba’s solution is the robust platform upon which we can innovate to continuously enhance guest services and satisfaction.
Rabih Merhy, Director of I.T., Amwaj Rotana
An internal study of guest’s internet usage characteristics uncovered that in recent years, over 71% of guests utilized more than two mobile devices requiring an internet connection in a typical double occupied room.
To support this influx of devices, and get up to date with the considerable developments made in the wireless domain since its last upgrade, Amwaj Rotana decided to utilize a combination of the latest 802.11ac indoor and outdoor Access Points (APs).
Simplified Wireless Infrastructure Management, a Top Concern
The size of the property, and the fact that physically accessing APs for troubleshooting would pose an inconvenience to guests, meant that simplified management and troubleshooting of the entire wireless network was essential.
“Aruba’s Mobility Controller, which addressed these requirements through a streamlined and easy to use interface, was therefore a cornerstone of this implementation,” stated Rabih.
Professional Support and an Expertly Qualified Partner
The IT and engineering teams of Amwaj Rotana worked together with Aruba’s partner, Precedence to roll out the implementation across all the guest rooms and the public areas. Special considerations had to be made in order to avoid inconveniencing guests.
“Our high occupancy rates meant we had a small window of opportunity to install the APs in rooms. Here the ease of installation of the Aruba solutions, and the high level of technical expertise demonstrated by Precedence helped us rise to the challenge,” Rabih said.
The whole implementation took just under two months. The end result was an increase in Wi-Fi coverage across the hotel from 75% to 91% – with the remaining 9% representing areas such as stairways and service areas where network coverage wasn’t required.
Hands-On Training Ensures Smooth Hand-Off
“We strongly believe that comprehensive training is vital in ensuring that the team is well equipped with the right knowledge and skills to handle troubleshooting. In a service-oriented industry such as ours, every minute counts and delays in dealing with any mishaps that inconvenience guests have a significant impact,” commented Rabih.
To this end, Aruba’s local team engaged regularly with Rabih and his team to deliver the necessary trainings and hands-on tutorials. Because of the simplicity and power of Aruba’s management interfaces, the team was quick to master administration of the new infrastructure.
Aruba’s Solutions Pass With Flying Colours
With a clear understanding of the new solution, Rabih and his team were eager to test its real-world performance. He said, “Besides the benefits to us as the IT team managing the solution, we knew that the project’s success ultimately hinged on how guests reacted to the new service.”
To their relief, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. “Their feedback after the testing phase really said it all. Once we found that our guests were happy with the solution, it was the biggest box ticked off,” said Rabih.
IT Staff Equally Impressed by the New Solution
The ability to remotely configure, monitor and troubleshoot each AP drastically reduced the management effort for Amwaj Rotana’s IT team. Updates are now automatically pushed to the APs and by eliminating the need for repeated manual intervention, the Aruba solution has also mitigated the inconvenience to guests.
Rabih noted that since completion of the upgrade, his team has seen a significant reduction in the number of help desk calls relating to connectivity issues. “And the majority of calls we receive now are easily resolved since they aren’t really related to technical issues,” he stated.
Solution Success Backed by Quantifiable Benefits
Rabih sees the Aruba implementation as having a three-fold benefit. “From a business perspective, we now have better coverage and far superior performance. The 11ac technology with its advanced backend features meets our present and future technology requirements. And most importantly from a user perspective, they can now enjoy fast and uninterrupted Wi-Fi,” he said.
Just a month after project completion, guest satisfaction with the new internet service improved by 15%, according to the automated survey sent to all hotel guests.
Robust Wi-Fi Infrastructure now a Platform for Innovation
Having more than met its primary purpose of providing guests with world-class connectivity, the Wi-Fi solution is now being leveraged to enhance the guest experience in new and innovative ways.
The hotel intends to upgrade its television systems in the coming year and Aruba’s high-speed internet network has allowed the team to explore the possibility of adopting the latest smart TVs.
Nothing Succeeds Like Success
Amwaj Rotana has already identified its future plans for the network. “We now have solid figures confirming the benefits of 11ac technology. The next phase would be to change all our older APs to the new 11an technology and buy a second controller for redundancy,” stated Rabih.
He believes that in Aruba, he has found a partner for long-term success. “We don’t only need a great product, but also reliable after-sales service and solid relationships with our partners. We are proud to say that we have struck a successful partnership with Aruba on all counts,” he concluded.
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