Radical Radission step

Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, part of the Rezidor group, has installed high-speed, wireless internet services at several of its properties across the Middle East.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  October 26, 2004

|~|Fraidy-Pinto-1_m.jpg|~|“The IT concierge is trained on how to connect guests’ notebooks to wired and wireless services and also how to deal with basic troubleshooting issues. In order to keep up with the latest technology, training is undertaken every two months with the hotel IT manager.” - Fraidy Pinto, regional IT manager, Rezidor SAS Hospitality Middle East.|~|Radisson SAS Hotels and Resorts, part of the Rezidor group, has installed high-speed, wireless internet services at several of its properties across the Middle East. The service, targeted at both business and leisure travelers, is part of a major drive by the company to provide wireless technology at all of its regional hotels by the end of 2004. The service has been rolled out over the last ten months at hotels in Bahrain, Kuwait, Riyadh, Beirut and Amman, with plans to extend it to Muscat, Jeddah and Sharjah. The company cites easy to use and fast connecting internet as a key value add for its properties. Hotel guests can choose between a wired or wireless service in their hotel rooms, with the hotels providing Wi-Fi cards for users carrying notebooks without Wi-Fi capability. “We see easy-to-use internet access with a fast connection speed as necessary to ensure that our hotels provide value-added services to our customers and consequently become the preferred choice for both business and leisure travel,” says Fraidy Pinto, regional IT manager, Rezidor SAS Hospitality Middle East. “At the same time, business travelers can use virtual private network (VPN) connectivity to keep in touch with their corporate head office,” he adds. Due the wide nature of the implementation, a variety of vendors and implementation partners have been used. The technology used also varies from country to country with leased lines, ADSL and satellite connections all deployed and speeds ranging from 512 Kbyte/s to 1Mbyte/s. The hotel group has also taken the step of training up its concierge staff on IT to meet the challenges brought by offering the high-tech service. “The IT concierge is trained on how to connect guests’ notebooks to wired and wireless services and also how to deal with basic troubleshooting issues. In order to keep up with the latest technology, training is undertaken every two months with the hotel IT manager,” says Pinto. As well as training and implementation, security was also taken very seriously by Radisson. The hotel group pulled out security along with support as its main concern when searching for companies to implement the solutions. Typically, the guest network operates as an open pipe to the internet to ensure that the user has access to a wide range of applications, with the option to use VPN tunneling when appropriate. “VPN and support concerns had to be fully addressed,” says Pinto. “For example, our local partner in Saudi Arabia — SaudiCo — was chosen for its ability to provide effective, 24 by 7 local support,” he explains.||**||

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