Friday, 25 March 2011

Free WiFi or Not free WiFi?

A device that has WiFi enabled, like a laptop, iPad, smart phone, etc, allows the user to connect to the Internet without wires. This is becoming an integral part of everyday life.

Most hotels have provided a Wifi service which is available for purchase such as BTOpenZone or BitBuzz. At the Belmore Court & Motel seven years ago we started to provide a Wifi service through BTOpenZone and Surf2Go. Voucher could have been bought on a hourly or daily requirement.

After 2 years we found a demand for Free Wifi and so I setup our own network for Free Wifi. This involved installing 12 routers throughout the building o ensure all rooms were covered. We manage this technology ourselves. On the whole this has been very positively recieved - even though we need to reset the routers as and when a customer notices the connection has failed.

We are soon coming to a cross road. If we upgrade to a more relaible & efficient external system there is an initial cost for equipment purchase and almost £200/month including newer SuperFast broadband lines to keep a very reliable connection and an excellent support service. I'm not keen on charging customers to use the Wifi but also with the current economic recession I can't build it into the room rate for all guests. All other costs are increasing dramatically and I can't absorb this extra cost.

There are a couple of options:

1) Stay with the current system; Free but not as reliable as it could be.

2) Install new system and charge £8/hour and/or £12/day. Offers excellent reliability and support service.

3) Install new system and give 1st half hour free and the charge rates as per above. Offer excellent reliability and support service.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and/or suggestions.



Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Belmore Court & Motel cleans up at the NI Housekeeping Awards

The winners of the Hotel & Guesthouse Housekeeping Awards 2011 were announced at a gala evening in the Wellington Park Hotel on 9th March 2011. The awards were hosted by Pamela Ballantine and supported for the second year by the Bunzl Group and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The competition, which is organised by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, was launched last year to recognise and reward housekeeping staff and to raise the profile of their important role in the industry.

The winner of the under-60 rooms category was the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel from Bangor. Delighted housekeepers, Giarcarla Giovannoli and Janice Boyce, scooped the top prize with judges commenting on the exceptional standards at the hotel.

The top prize in the over-60 rooms category went to the Belmore Court & Motel in Enniskillen. The property has undergone a major refurbishment including the opening of 30 new bedrooms and the judges particularly noted the superb bed making skills of Romana Sinekovaite and Diana Kalukanova.

Eugene McKeever, President of the NIHF said, “This is the second year of this venture and it has been a real success for the Federation. It has been very well supported by our members throughout the Province, and it is great to see two such worthy winners. We felt it was important to recognise the vital role of housekeeping within the hotel industry and reward those at the top of their game. The support of our key sponsors ensures the continued success of this event and their valued partnership allows the Federation to run initiatives like this on an annual basis.”

The competition involved a team assessment day followed by a surprise on-site inspection for the ten shortlisted finalists. The judges were looking for cleanliness, attention to detail and overall guest impression. One of the objectives of the competition is to raise standards in the industry whilst recognising the superb job that housekeepers perform on a daily basis.