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IP Network Helps Trump SoHo Focus on Guest Experience

Opened in April 2010, Trump SoHo is a five-star luxury hotel in Manhattan, featuring 391 guest rooms on a 46-story property. The hotel is the flagship in the Trump brand, and the property owners and the developer, Bayrock Group, wanted to make it spectacular, both visually and in terms of the guest experience. The goal was to create the most technologically sophisticated hotel in New York City, with a stand-out guest experience.
To delight guests, Bayrock and Business Technology Partners, the technology consulting and IT support firm that worked on the project, envisioned high-speed wireless access throughout the property for smartphone-toting guests, and personalized service from staff members who could collaborate from any location. The developers were especially interested in creating a distinctive in-room experience, including a single interface to control not only video on demand, but also room lighting, temperature, and even the drapes. Another element would be a novel phone experience. The role of the phone in hotel rooms has changed because most guests today have cell phones. Therefore, rather than viewing the phone as a revenue-generating tool, Trump SoHo wanted to use it to deliver services such weather, airport, entertainment information, and e-mail.
Trump SoHo also wanted to take advantage of the technology behind the scenes, for operational efficiency. “Hotels have traditionally built and managed separate networks for phones, business applications, guest Internet access, video surveillance, video on demand, building controls, and more,” says Eric Brunnett, IT manager for Trump SoHo. “Consolidating all of these services onto a single IP network would minimize IT staff requirements while allowing us to give guests a single interface to control all room amenities.”
The Solution
Trump SoHo selected Cisco Unified Communications and a Cisco Unified Wireless Network as the hotel’s technology platform to create a distinctive guest experience and to facilitate staff collaboration. BTP evaluated five unified communications solutions before choosing Cisco. Many developers are creating exciting hospitality applications for Cisco Unified IP phones. That means that hoteliers can continue to add new applications to keep the user experience fresh and new. The hotel planners also liked the idea of using a single vendor for the wired and wireless networks and unified communications, simplifying support.
The personalized guest experience begins when guests drive up to the front door. Staff members wear a wireless IP voice badge that operates over the same Cisco Unified Communications system used for typical voice calls. When the bellhop asks the guest’s name at the door, the check-in staff also hears the name so that they too, can greet the guest personally. When the guest’s arrival is noted in the property management system, and Nevotek V/IP Suite software from Nevotek, a Cisco Technology Developer Partner, displays a personalized welcome message on the color video screen of the Cisco Unified IP Phones in the guest’s room. 
Guests quickly discover that the phone provides more than voice, thanks to the Nevotek software. They can touch the colorful icons on the phone’s touchscreen display for voicemail, weather by zip code, airport information, and e-mail. If a guest has a health emergency and calls 9-1-1, Cisco Emergency Responder also notifies the Trump SoHo Operations Center, which is manned 24 hours a day, which might be able to dispatch help even before public safety agencies arrive.
Hotel staff takes advantage of the in-room phones, as well. For example, after confirming that a room is ready for the next guest, the room attendant touches a few keys on the phone, which updates the property management system. Finding out right away that a room is ready can help the hotel accommodate guests who would like to check in early.
Finally, Trump SoHo uses Cisco Unified Contact Center Express for efficient call handling for reservations, and maintenance. Calls are routed to the first available agent with the appropriate skills.
Technical Implementation
Redundant Cisco Catalyst 6509 Switches form the core network, providing the high availability needed in the 24-hour hotel environment. Voice, video, and data services are delivered to each floor through Cisco Catalyst 3750 Switches, configured in redundant pairs “If we have an outage on any device, we can replace it without interrupting any other services,” Brunnett says.
Cisco ASA Adaptive Security Appliances provide security services, including firewalls. For extra security, the IT team created hundreds of VLANs to keep different types of traffic separate. This prevents someone using a guest network, for example, from viewing streams from video surveillance cameras.

The Results
Distinctive Guest Experience:
Guests have made a point of saying that they like the services available on the Cisco Unified IP phones. They have also remarked on the voice quality, a result of the high-fidelity audio technology.
Staff Efficiency: The ability to communicate and collaborate from anywhere on the property empowers staff members to create a personalized guest experience. For example, an employee who directs a guest to the spa can alert the spa that the guest is on her way, or report a spill before guests are inconvenienced. Trump SoHo could not have taken advantage of wireless collaboration to this degree without a solid, high-performance network like the Cisco Unified Wireless Network.
Efficient IT Operations: The property developer saved on capital expense by not having to implement a separate voice and voicemail system in the administrative offices, located a block away from the hotel. Instead, the hotel delivers voice services to the administrative offices over the network. Employees in both locations can collaborate as if they were in the same location, including using four-digit dialing. In addition, the hotel estimates it saved 25 to 30 percent on cabling and 10 percent on switch ports by using a single converged network for voice, video-on-demand, business applications, guest Internet access.
Managing a converged network for voice, video, and data also reduces ongoing management overhead. And the ability to manage all 180 Cisco Aironet wireless access points in both buildings from a single interface saves time for the IT staff. “We are able to manage the technology for all hotel services with a staff of two,” says Brunnett. “Being able to manage all networks internally instead of outsourcing gives us more control over the guest experience.
Next Steps
Hotel technology is constantly evolving, and hotels at the vanguard have an advantage in attracting guests. “Our Cisco network and Cisco Unified Communications give us the solid foundation to adopt whatever new technology comes along,” says Brunnett. “Being prepared for the future is the single biggest advantage of Cisco collaboration technology.” One plan is to add a public Cisco TelePresence room for business guests to meet “face-to-face” with people in other locations. Another is implementing personal Cisco TelePresence systems in presidential suites.
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