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TIME Hotels unlocks harm on is es a world of its business different opportunities telephony systems with newin place into procurement one integrated solution platform with Avaya IP Office
Time Hotels harmonises its different telephony systems in place into one integrated platform with Avaya IP Office
When it came time to upgrade the company’s telephony systems, the objective for the IT team at TIME Hotels was a set of two related considerations: how to harmonise the different telephony brands and systems in place into one cohesive platform, and secondly, reduce both CAPEX and OPEX in relation to the company’s communication needs.
Joseph Fayad, corporate director, IT at TIME Hotels, and his team pondered why they had in place an enterprise telephony system while hotels’ requirements, in general, do not require more than mid-sized system at a time when telephony is shifting towards being a cost- centre.
With this in mind, it was agreed to implement a reliable, efficient and scalable midmarket communication platform standard across the Time Hotels portfolio.
Avaya IP Office was an early and popular contender for the upgrade as most in the IT team, including Fayad, were personally familiar with Avaya’s technology. Further discussions revealed the substantial improvements Avaya has carried out on the platform in the recent past.
Market studies only confirmed the prevailing viewpoint: in mid-sized properties, IP Office hybrid solutions can help reduce around 30% of CAPEX and between 25-30% of OPEX.
The capabilities of the platform then helped convince management to invest in IP Office. “When I carried out a comparison of features between IP Office and the competitor’s product we had in place, they were convinced the former delivers the next level of telephony technology,” says Fayad.
Avaya was then invited for a trial, which IP Office passed with flying colours, says Fayad.
TIME Hotels began operations in 2007, and rebranded to its current name in 2012. The company’s business model is to manage hotels on behalf of developers and owners. TIME Hotels currently operates four brands, with eight properties currently under management across the region, and seven projects expected to open in the next one year.
IT’S role is to make the business run more efficiently. An efficient communication system takes this role further by making the business dynamic enough to adapt to future technology evolution, says Fayad.
TIME Hotels deployed Avaya IP Office and IP Office Contact Centre. The
group has multiple properties running on the IP Office solution and has a centralised reservation office, which is managed with IP Office Contact Centre.
“We have so far implemented Avaya IP Office at three properties and in the process of upgrading the other properties to the same,” says Fayad.
The hotel group had already began centralising its IT and utilising shared resources by leveraging its data centre at this time. A private cloud platform had been in place for a while, enabling the company to adopt public cloud-based applications such as Office 365 and Iaas services.
Luckily, IP Office offers multiple deployment options, where the system can be deployed on Avayaprovided servers or a customer’s virtualised environment. It also supports a cloud-based deployment.
There was concern ear- ly on with reconciling IP and analogue systems, says Fayad. “Most of the systems today around work on IP. However, hybrid telephony is very important in the hotel industry, so integrating IP and analogue systems remained a concern with some vendors.”
However, IP Office supports IP, digital, analogue and wireless endpoints out of the box, designed to cater to diverse customer requirements.
TIME Hotels has in fact adopted a hybrid telephony system, including analogue phone systems used for guest rooms and IP phones for administration staff, explains Fayad.
The company also wanted to ensure mobility, both inside the hotels and for executives travelling across the region.
Avaya’s One-x, built into the IP Office, offers an app which allows users to utilise their own mobile phones as a desktop extension wherever they are. “We have 100% wireless coverage in all the facilities. So the ability to use the app inside the hotels amongst employees
Cloud helps us in our negotiations with property and ultimately materialise contracts through better ROI.”
The fact that we were able to unify discrete telephone systems to a centralised platform was very crucial for the Group.” Joseph Fayad, corporate director, IT, Time Hotels
as a mobile extension has saved us a lot of money on hardware,” says Fayad.
There was need to establish a call centre as the business grows, says Fayad. For the contact centre, the team wanted to go beyond a traditional basic set-up and deploy an advanced system with all the bells and whistles. One of the major benefits of the IP Office is that it has an integrated contact centre, unique among midscale products.
“We are now rolling out the call centre on the new Avaya platform. It has all the features you would expect in an enterprise version of a call centre but at a much lower cost. Its mobility capabilities and flexibility are an added, and much appreciated, bonus,” says Fayad.
IP Office contact centre features include call-routing capabilities to minimise hold times, delivering guest calls quicker even during
peak periods. It also supports multi-channel functionality for voice, email, fax and web chat.
The first benefit of deploying Avaya is that most of the users were already used to Avaya telephony products, with the brand ubiquitous in the market, so the team did not have to start from scratch, says Fayad.
Telephony is still considered as a cost centre, but the Avaya system has made a big difference for TIME Hotels in cost savings, first in new deployments, as well as in upgrades, says Fayad. “The new technology is so flexible in terms of the initial roll- out and especially in the way it has enhanced mobility amongst our employees.”
“For IT administration, the fact that we were able to unify discrete telephone systems to a centralised platform was very crucial in enabling better support to both our clients and employees and provide services faster,” explains Fayad.
The cloud allows the hotel significantly reduce capital expenditure, says Fayad. “Cloud helps us in presenting our business model and ultimately materialise contracts through better ROI. Cloud also gives us much flexibility in terms of IT in- tervention and support and human resource optimisation. Equally important is the high availability capabilities of the product when on the cloud,” he adds.
With Avaya IP Office, users can easily implement automated services including wake-up calls, reservation reminders, information on hotel services, local attractions, etc.
“Connectivity today is
a critical aspect of the hospitality industry. It is very essential to have proper infrastructure to provide the reliable services our guests need,” says Fayad.
The upgrade of the telephony is part of a wider technology upgrade at the hotel group. “The next step is to place the call centre onto the cloud, where it will make life even easier in terms of licensing, hardware admin intervention and availability,” says Fayad.
Part of the ongoing IT transformation at the group is a recent relaunch of the corporate website, aimed at using the latest technology to drive more online business. TIME Hotels is also working to move its property management system (PMS) onto the cloud using its data centre.
Also, in the pipeline are plans for a mobile app for guests. The company has already introduced mobile and online check-in for guests with the app a logical next step in the evolution. “We are looking to incorporate the app and using guest mobiles to communicate with the hotel when they are within the hotel premises,” explains Fayad.
TIME Hotels is at hand to add dozens of properties under management in the next few years. Avaya can grow with them: Avaya IP Office scales up to 3,000 users and 150 locations in a multi-site network with resiliency. And IP Office Contact Centre can support up to 250 agents.
The next stage is to evaluate how to leverage automation and machine learning technologies are now starting to take precedence in the industry, says Fayad.
Time Hotels is at hand to add dozens of properties under management in the next few years. Avaya can grow with them as IP Office scales up to 3,000 users and 150 locations.
Connectivity today is a critical aspect of the hospitality industry and it is very essential to have proper infrastructure to provide reliable services for guests.