“We’re a full-service hotel trying to do the right thing in a down economy to keep people coming in the doors,” says Jim Landrio, VP/General Manager of the Holiday Inn in Johnstown, N.Y. “Our guests are looking for perfection and being careful with how they spend their money these days. We’re trying to provide the right amenities and make the right improvements, such as upgrading our Wi-Fi service, to meet or exceed guest expectations. Our long-time partnership with Frontier Communications helps us achieve this goal.”
Landrio has worked at this Holiday Inn for 41 years and is well acquainted with the people at Frontier. He notes, “In all the years I’ve been here, we’ve always done business with Frontier or one of their predecessors. Many current Frontier employees came from these previous local providers and they have a great deal of experience. It’s the people of Frontier that make the difference; they’re dedicated to providing a high level of customer service. In fact, the biggest part of our relationship with Frontier hinges on service. Frontier is deeply concerned about the customer and will go beyond the call of duty. For example, I can call Frontier late in the day on a Friday about a service issue, and they’ll be here in 15 minutes. That builds loyalty with us. Some companies would just say, ‘We’ll come out on Monday.’”
Located in a suburban neighborhood, the Holiday Inn in Johnstown is the only full-service hotel in the area and features 100 guest rooms. The property was renovated in 2011 and offers a business center, health and fitness center, outdoor pool, restaurant, lounge and three meeting rooms. In addition to Wi-Fi, Frontier provides the hotel its local phone and data services. Says Landrio, “We wouldn’t consider using anybody else but Frontier. We know they’ll give us great service and be fair to us. My partners and I are very comfortable with Frontier and we’ve built a strong relationship with them over many years.”
WI-FI NETWORK GETS A BANDWIDTH BOOST
The hotel offers free high-speed Internet access throughout the property. In the guest rooms and business offices, both wireless and wired Internet options are available. In the commercial areas (including the lobby, meeting rooms, restaurant and lounge), there is wireless Internet only.
A change in how hotel guests were using the Internet led to the decision to upgrade the Wi-Fi network. Explains Landrio, “I was finding that our clientele was demanding more bandwidth. Many guests are now traveling with smartphones plus another device or two. People working in secure fields such as government may travel with a company laptop plus a personal laptop or other device. This use of multiple devices as well as the increased bandwidth needed for today’s applications was straining our hotel’s bandwidth and creating demand for higher speeds. Guests were noticing and saying, ‘I’m not getting the connection I used to get.’ We wanted to respond quickly to these customer requests so we talked with Frontier about getting a Wi-Fi upgrade.”
Grant Preston, Major Account Executive at Frontier, is part of the team that works with the Holiday Inn in Johnstown. Says Preston, “We first installed Wi-Fi service at the hotel in 2008. Jim Landrio recently recognized the need to provide his guests with more bandwidth after seeing the multiple devices his guests were bringing on their stays. Frontier upgraded the comprehensive Wi-Fi solution in December 2013 to allow his users the best possible Internet experience. The solution is served by both a Metro Ethernet and DSL service.”
When a guest checks in, he or she is given a password to sign on to the Wi-Fi network in their guest rooms. Passwords are required under the Holiday Inn franchise agreement, in part to enhance security.
“We’ve had positive feedback from hotel guests since the Wi-Fi upgrade. The difference is like night and day. It was a major change,” Landrio says
NEW PHONE SYSTEM ENHANCES CALLER EXPERIENCE
The hotel also recently updated their phone switch to a Mitel SX-200 IP Communications Platform and installed new office phones. The system was designed with the hospitality market in mind and features the latest in Voice over IP communications and traditional telephony services.
“Our previous phone system was over 25 years old,” recalls Landrio. “The equipment was obsolete and it was becoming hard to get parts for it; only reconditioned parts were available. Frontier did a tremendous job of keeping that old phone system going for many years. But we knew it was time to replace it. Phone problems could disrupt our operations and inconvenience our guests and we didn’t want to have to worry about that.”
The new phones provide a Caller ID display, which the old phones did not. Notes Landrio, “The addition of Caller ID has been huge for us. When people call the hotel, we know whom we’re speaking to and can address them by name. Some of our customers will ask, ‘How did you know it was me calling? Did you recognize my voice?’ They’re impressed to be called by name and it makes them feel valued. We get positive feedback on this and it’s a nice customer service touch.”