London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed network and professional services, today announced the completion of a 21CN project to upgrade the wide area network (WAN) of luxury hotel group, QHotels. The project, which forms part of a £1.7 million investment in IT services, will also see SAS provide monitoring and support services across the company’s 21-site network estate.
Whilst still a relatively young company (founded in 2003), QHotels has already made a significant mark in the UK leisure industry, growing from two to 21 hotels in the last eight years alone. In a fiercely competitive market, meetings and conferences make a big contribution to the success of most hotel groups today and during 2010, the QHotels invested £1.1 million on enhancements to its conference and events facilities.
However as IT director David Kelly knows, staying ahead of the competition is also about staying ahead with technology.
“We were seeing a great demand to run video conferencing and support a large number of users in a room,” said David. “Most hotels offer around 8mb of bandwidth to conference users and this is shared with the rest of the hotel and its guests so we knew we needed to improve on this if we wanted to really establish our position in this space – the question was ‘how and at what cost’.”
With its existing data network up for renewal, QHotels decided to take its new requirements out to tender.
“Our primary goal was supporting the conference side of the business but we also needed to accommodate guest access and normal production traffic from each hotel,” said David.
In addition, after a less than satisfactory experience with its previous managed service provider, QHotels was also very specific about its service requirements for the new network.
“We’re a 24 hours, 365 days operation and we live and die by our comms lines,” said David. “If our comms lines go down we can’t check you in because everything is central. We understand that the system won’t be up 100 percent of the time but for that 0.1 percent that it’s down we need to know we will get a quick response and resolution.”
BT was one of three large suppliers invited to tender for the new QHotels’ network and service wrap.
“You know where you are with BT. They have the largest network across the UK. I felt more comfortable going with a branded name,” said David. “The concern I had with BT and the other big companies was that they wouldn’t really know our network. They couldn’t give us a personal touch.”
Fortunately BT had the answer in the form of SAS, a small UK-based managed services provider with over a decade’s experience in implementing and managing BT networks.
Satisfied that, together, BT and SAS could deliver the best solution for its business QHotels made a decision to move forward with the project.
The new solution comprises a wide area network based on BT’s 21CN Ethernet Connect technology with SAS’s managed services team providing a single point of contact for moves, adds and changes on the BT network, along with 24/7 monitoring and helpdesk support.
“What I like about SAS is there’s a lot of flexibility in their approach to solving maintenance problems,” said David. “Working with a small team like SAS is a plus point as quite quickly they know our setup. When I call SAS, the person I’m dealing with is likely to be the person who deals with the problem directly.”
“As a small company, we wouldn’t have the direct feed that SAS has into BT. SAS has the authority to raise incidents and talk directly to BT engineers – that means we get a faster resolution to any network issues that we have which, in turn, allows us to deliver a better service to our customers,” said David.
"For many businesses that run a centralised IT function, good customer service is often vital for survival,” said Charles Davis CEO for SAS Global Communications. “The difficulty for smaller companies is getting that quality of service with the branded technology of a trusted provider. We believe that the SAS/BT relationship provides a great solution for clients like QHotels because it gives them the enterprise technology and custom service wrap they want at a price they can afford.”