Comfort Inn, Hamilton, New Zealand
Home comforts, leading edge technology and cost savings drive change for Comfort Inn
Part of the Choice Hotel’s family, Comfort Inn Southern Cross Hamilton in New Zealand is an independently owned, low-cost, forward thinking and innovative hotel. With hotel competition increasing across New Zealand, Comfort Inn knew it had to strengthen its position within the local market instantly but with a firm plan for the future too.
With a keen eye on both the development and the changing face of the customer experience, Comfort Inn looked to the digital media world to provide a pathway for the future and chose Tripleplay as its solution of choice.
“We had to consider our customer experience and were inspired to look deeper following a seminar held by Choice Hotels Group,” commented Ray Mudford, Managing Director at Comfort Inn.
“There was a need to ensure we were providing the best possible guest experience but without limiting ourselves. We could not afford to have a ‘closed box’ solution, it had to have an evolution in mind; the solution needed to be fluid and forward thinking.”
Having approached Digital Signage Solutions Ltd in New Zealand, Tripleplay’s digital signage, IPTV, video on demand and TV user portal were chosen to create the solution with the wow factor Comfort Inn wanted its guests to have.
Ray continued; “We not only wanted to use our new facility to impress new customers, we also wanted to show our existing returning guests that we were investing in the rooms to improve their experience too. The Tripleplay solution was cost effective, highly impressive and simple to use. It opened up a world of opportunity.”
In all, Tripleplay IPTV and Video on Demand solutions were provided to all 33 guest and staff rooms within the hotel, whilst digital signage and IPTV was supplied to on site bars, restaurants, foyers and reception areas.
Ensuring value from the investment
Not only did the solution provide a great in-room entertainment experience but it would also save money for the hotel moving forward.
Ray added; “The cost of our existing solution, based on a cost-per-room model, was inhibitive. We only provided two scheduled sport and one movie channel to our guests, with the Tripleplay solution we now provide 120 on-demand movies at any given time as well as full access to an array of live TV channels. However, the capital cost of a Tripleplay solution is almost equal to the cost of two years subscription fees for what we were providing. So, while there are ongoing support and licensing costs, we can foresee that the solution will eventually pay for itself.”
Guests are also provided with ad-hoc live TV ‘red button’ recording; a home from home comfort and another key differentiator for guests staying for several nights or more.
Comfort Inn has also found a way to monetise its investment by creating partnerships with local restaurants and bars and selling advertising space on its digital signage solution. Whilst revenues are not huge, it has opened up a new channel by which to bring money into the hotel.
Empowering the Guest
Ray wanted a flexible solution that would empower the guests to have control of their in-room entertainment experience; with the ability to charge for premium services should a customer require them; “How can i provide a solution that gives each customer exactly what he or she wants? We needed a solution that would unleash all of the possibilities available.Utilising the Tripleplay solution we can.
“We know we cannot provide all of the same toys that people have at home, but we can certainly facilitate their use, and give each guest a set of options that make their visit unique to them.”
A journey of faith
Whilst Tripleplay’s solutions are tried and tested, there are very few hotels in New Zealand currently investing in technology of this nature. Tripleplay have developed solutions for use on SmartTVs and for BYOD use; Comfort Inn were happy to invest in the burgeoning technology, initially trialling SmartTV integration in several of its premiere suites.
Ray Mudford is happy to lead the way; “New Zealand is an entrepreneurial country, and owing to its size once things start moving they move fast. With Digital Signage Solutions and Tripleplay we are happy to walk at the bleeding edge of technology with our eyes wide open. It means that we are in greater control of our own future and have developed a great two way relationship with our partners.
“I always saw this as a journey of faith, and expect that there are risks in some of what we are doing. But Tripleplay and Digital Signage Solutions have managed our expectations along the way keeping us fully aware of everything that is going on in the background; we are always kept in the picture.”
In the future
Comfort Inn are happy that their solution will grow at the same pace as they do, enabling large scale signage to be implemented outside the hotel in the future, whilst also being able to cope with TV screen developments and their bi-annual screen refresh programme.
Ray concluded; “We have been impressed with the Tripleplay solution and are delighted to be leading the way in New Zealand. I don’t believe we could have chosen a better partner to provide our in-room entertainment solution.”
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