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The premier facility of its type in Melbourne and recognized as one of the largest and most diverse in the southern hemisphere, Crown Entertainment Complex sought creative ways to differentiate its rooms in a AU$65 million upgrade to Crown Towers.
When planning a major refuburbishment to Crown Towers in 2009, hotel management sought creative ways to differentiate its rooms. Crown wanted to extend its vision beyond remodeled bathrooms and high-end finishes to the actual guest experience. "In-room technology has become a major differentiator in top hotels," says Ric Lamb, Executive General Manager for Management Information Systems, Crown Melbourne. "Crown decided to equip the rooms with the very latest communications technology to create an even more impressive experience and ‘wow’ factor."
When originally built, each hotel had its own private branch exchange (PBX) system. Crown wanted to replace the PBX systems with a centralised Unified Communications system that shared the same Cisco IP network the hotel uses for business applications. Combining voice and data on the same network would enable hotel guests to use in-room IP phones to view information such as weather, restaurant options, flight information, and more. Crown also wanted to offer a high-quality contact centre experience to people who called its reservations center or requested services such as housekeeping or room service.
After evaluating Unified Communications solutions from three leading vendors, Crown chose Cisco Unified Communications. "Many of our guests are businesspeople, and they are already comfortable with Cisco Unified IP phones because they use them at work," says Mr. Lamb. "The hospitality applications that Crown wanted to provide to guests are available on Cisco Unified IP phones. Crown’s experienced IT staff have the skills to manage Cisco equipment. And we like the idea of having a single point of contact for our network and communications system."
Logicalis Australia, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner, deployed the solution and integrated it with hospitality applications from FCS Computer Systems, a member of the Cisco Developer Technology Program.
Each suite has at least two phones, a Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975 with a colour touch screen on the desk, and a Cisco Unified IP Phone 7906 in the bedroom. The largest suites have up to 21 IP phones. "Guests can just touch the screen to request room service, call housekeeping, view local weather or weather in their hometown, check flight schedules, view restaurant and retail store information, and more," says Mr. Lamb. Guests can personalize the phone by saving speed-dial numbers and tagging webpages for quick access. The Crown marketing department worked with Logicalis Australia to create attractive menus with a look and feel that reinforces the Crown brand. Phone menus appear in the guest’s preferred language, including Chinese.
Logicalis Australia also deployed Cisco Unified Contact Center Express for Crown’s guest services and reservations contact centers. When agents receive a call, they can see the guest’s name and the requested service, such as housekeeping, on their PCs. The same screen displays a staff directory so that agents can just click to transfer the call if needed.
Guests have responded positively to the Cisco Unified IP phones, and are especially enthusiastic about the touch screen menus that provide convenient information about hotel restaurants, retail stores, and other attractions and amenities. "Crown continues to strive to be the best entertainment complex in Australia, and giving our valued hotel guests the benefit of the latest communications technology right in their rooms helps us achieve that goal," says Ann Peacock, General Manager of Public Relations, Crown Melbourne.
Other benefits achieved by Crown include:
Crown also anticipates reduced operational costs because the hotel no longer needs to use phone technicians to perform telephone extension moves, adds, and changes. Now anyone can move a Cisco Unified IP phone by disconnecting from the old location and connecting it in the new location. This capability is expected to save significant time during set up for conventions.
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Find out more about Cisco Unified Communications at: www.cisco.com/go/unifiedcommunications
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Find out more about Crown Melbourne Limited at: http://www.crowncasino.com/