While many hotels are scrambling to find Internet service providers that survived the industry’s massive fallout, Larkspur Hospitality Company has elected to install and support their own plug-and-play Internet service throughout all of their 16 hotels in California, Oregon and Washington.
“It just made sense for us to do this ourselves,” said Larkspur Hospitality Chairman and CEO Karl Hoagland. “We built the hotels with Cat-5 wiring, found the right system and software, and have the IT resources to support it. Now we can ensure that Internet services will continue to be available to our guests.”
Larkspur has always planned to offer guests broadband services, but couldn’t find an appropriate provider, according to Gordon Wilkerson, Vice President of Information Technology at Larkspur Hospitality Company.
“The challenge has been to find a reliable carrier we were confident would give our guests consistent service at a reasonable price,” said Wilkerson. “Over the past five years, we’ve seen dozens of Internet service companies come and go, and now only a few of those companies remain in the marketplace. We saw other hotels struggling with changing services many times, which makes it confusing and frustrating to the guest. We came to the conclusion that we need to provide and support our own service.”
Guest services and amenities are a top priority for Larkspur Hospitality, which surveys guest satisfaction continuously and holds frequent focus group sessions with guests.
“When we developed the Larkspur Landing hotel, our objective was to provide travelers with more of what was really needed,” said Hoagland. “We’ve provided our guests with complimentary high-speed Internet access in our business centers from day one, but our guests also told us they also wanted it available in their room. I talk with guests who would like to be able to download and transfer large files from their corporate e-mail servers, and this system gives them the ability to do that.”
Larkspur Hospitality will provide guests with seamless plug-and-play Internet access without changes to client software or configuration from any remote location for web browsing, e-mail and audio/video streaming.
After plugging in their computer, guests are greeted with a customized opening page offering a choice of two levels of service and can start working online immediately. The standard service, which provides guests with a high-speed service appropriate for surfing the web or checking e-mail, will be free at all Larkspur Landing Hotels and available at a nominal fee at Larkspur Hospitality’s Candlewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inns. Any charges are automatically billed to their room. For those guests who wish to stream and download audio or video files, or require a public/routable IP address, a premium service is also available. Full T-1 speed is available from the hotels’ meeting rooms allowing for video conferencing and multiple connections for web-based training applications.
“We really want to make our hotels work for our guests, so we listen to them,” said Hoagland. “Our guests tell us that time is one of their scarcest resources and adding complimentary amenities such as high-speed in-room Internet access and a grab and go breakfast helps them not only to feel more at home, but also more productive.”