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Beyond breaking point

Beyond breaking point

Beyond breaking point

An extensive Exterity IPTV solution is bringing state-of-the art guest services to travellers at Dubai Al-Maktoum Airport’s latest hospitality additions

Driven by the proliferation of handheld and home media services, the offerings provided for guests in modern hotels have grown enormously in recent times. Whether stopping for a short turnaround, a one-day event or a longer-term stay, the newly opened Holiday Inn Dubai Al-Maktoum Airport and Staybridge Suites Dubai Al-Maktoum Airport hotels are designed to suit today’s guest. Located adjacent to one another, both hotels have invested heavily in reliable, cutting-edge entertainment and information systems to meet the needs of their targeted visitors.

As the latest additions to the growing Ishraq Hospitality property portfolio, the two complementary landmarks are belatedly preparing for their grand openings. The project’s construction process included a formal tender for a campus-wide IPTV and digital signage solution. In total, this would serve approximately 1,000 screens across 606 guest rooms and public areas including the lobbies, restaurants, bars and meeting rooms. Offering 262 one- and two-bedroom apartment-style suites, Staybridge Suites Dubai Al-Maktoum Airport has been created to provide independent living facilities for business travellers on longer stays in Dubai. Tailored towards short stopovers, the 344-room Holiday Inn Dubai Al-Maktoum Airport offers a wide range of meeting and event facilities ideal for business travellers. These include three meeting rooms, a boardroom and a ballroom.

Ishraq Hospitality director of information technology, Shanu Ammunni and his technical team was delegated to draw up a shortlist for the IPTV and digital signage system. “Ease of use and reliability are especially important criteria for a hotel,” Ammunni explains. “We received a lot of proposals and there were many solutions to examine, some of which we had tried in the past and others which were new to us, like Exterity. Ultimately, we test things extensively to see if we can break them before we make any decisions.” Exterity’s IPTV solution was the one that emerged unscathed following the thorough testing.

Based on its past proven reliability in hospitality environments, the Exterity IPTV solution streams 125 channels of premium TV content together with hotel-branded infomercials to the hotels’ preferred choice of Samsung Hospitality TVs. Crucially for the modern traveller, guests can connect their own mobile devices to the IPTV system to access additional on-demand video services via site-wide, high-speed internet access. In addition, the Exterity deployment also provides seamless integration with the OPERA property management and integrated point-of-sale systems used at both hotels. This gives guests in-room access to room service, billing, concierge services and spa bookings, directly from screens in each room and suite.

Furthermore, the solution powers the digital signage screens in the bars, restaurants, spas and common areas across both locations. Although the digital signage will be commonly used to provide wayfinding and other guest information, it can be customised to meet the individual needs of businesses using the hotel meeting and conference rooms.

With the system up and running for almost one year now, Ammunni confirms that the reliability of the 1,000-endpoint Exterity system has lived up to his initial expectations. “Our contractors worked closely with Exterity to design and implement the solution and the whole process went smoothly,” notes Ammunni. “There have been no failures to date with any of the Exterity parts of the installation and the ArtioGuest software has also allowed us to make minor changes when required. Post launch, our facility team has been able to operate the system without any further assistance, as the software is extremely easy to use.”

Looking towards the future, Ammunni is considering expanding the system to include IP-video-over-Wi-Fi capability so that guests can access TV content via their personal mobile devices at any location across the entire campus. “The Exterity solution has proven reliable, flexible and easy to use. The project’s success has been noticed by the wider group which is now considering Exterity for further hotels within Dubai and other regions,” the hotels’ director of information technology concludes.

Exterity hospitality regional sales manager for the Middle East, Victor Hasan, was present from conception to commissioning. “With travel bans beginning to ease and travellers preparing for hotel stays worldwide once again, there is an expectation that hospitality venues be technologically advanced to assure guests of a welcome, comfortable and ‘safe-as-home’ experience,” comments the Dubai-based Hasan. “The upgrade undertaken by Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites Dubai Al-Maktoum Airport highlights the importance of hoteliers investing in cutting-edge IPTV and video communications to deliver modern guest experiences. We are incredibly proud Exterity was chosen to fulfil this state-of-the-art upgrade.”

For most modern travellers, hotel services offered beyond a quiet and comfortable night’s sleep vary considerably. With the ongoing pandemic, these needs have been refocused and amplified. With some guests facing the possibility of being confined to their rooms for long periods of time, the ability to provide them with a hotel experience that is as close to homelife as possible has become vital.

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