The Pacific Gateway Hotel is an independent, 382-room property situated near the Vancouver Airport in British Columbia, Canada. With 17,000 sq ft. of meeting space, including two ballrooms, the hotel serves business travellers and commuters, supports a busy group event calendar, and is a popular layover location for tourists.
The Challenge: Complex hotel phone system frustrates management and erodes guest experience.
Before moving to independent ownership with a rebrand in 2014, the hotel had been part of a large chain for over forty years. Hotel management inherited a patchwork telecom system comprising products from multiple vendors, including a legacy release of the Aastra MX-ONE phone system, Alcatel-Lucent Call Centre, Call Accounting from Genesis Systems and Diavox Voicemail.
The complexity of system design and integration led to challenges in finding a technical partner to support the entire operation. The management team made numerous attempts to upgrade system components, but installation failures, time involved in dealing with repeated system outages, and delays in technical support response frustrated staff and guests alike.
Furthermore, Pacific Gateway’s Quest reservations system was expensive to operate on a monthly basis, as it required a large number of calls to be transferred to central reservations, incurring a per minute charge. It also led to a lack of insight and reporting on the effectiveness of the hotel’s internal reservations group.
The Solution: Ripping off the “Band-Aid” with a fully tailored hotel phone system replacement.
A new approach was required. Discarding the “Band-Aid” approach to system upgrades, the management team set out to find a new partner that could design, install, and support a ground-up replacement that would serve the needs of the hotel for years to come.
A chance meeting with Sunco CEO, Mike Schoenberger, at the 2017 British Columbia Hotel Association Conference gave Barry Johnson, the Hotel Manager, the confidence to progress. “We asked Sunco for a whole solution that would allow us to get back to what we do best—taking care of our guests. After the upgrade issues we’d had, when I mentioned to the team we were going ahead with a full replacement, they literally looked at me as if I was crazy. That we would do this again.”
The Sunco team collaborated closely with hotel management to find a cohesive, competitive hotel telecom solution that would deliver enhanced features, simple administration, and long-term business benefit. The turnkey replacement solution designed by Sunco was built around Mitel’s industry-leading telecommunications systems. Components included Mitel MiVoice Business, Mitel Connected Guest Voicemail with Call Accounting, and MiContact Centre. The infrastructure is supported by Sunco Telecom Managed Services and Sunco SIP Trunking.
Impressively, Sunco was able to install the system with transitional downtime of under 30 minutes, ensuring minimal disruption to both staff and guests.
“Working with Sunco, you immediately feel the sense of pride that runs throughout the organization. We’re a 24/7/365 operation, so it’s important we have a system that works, but more reassuring to know we have Sunco’s commitment and quality of support behind us.” – Barry Johnson, Hotel Manager at Pacific Gateway Hotel
The Outcome: New hotel phone system features add convenience and efficiency, with reduced operating costs.
Moving to a VOIP-based telecom system has enabled the hotel’s administration team to unlock new business efficiencies. Integrated desk phone touch screens allow full visibility of system usage, so if a team member is engaged, calls can be quickly routed to the next best person to support the caller, or directed to voicemail, if preferred. Office moves are simpler and cheaper to execute, as there’s no need to arrange expensive telecom reconfiguration. “Our sales team switched desks the other week,” said Johnson. “In the old world, we would have had to contact the telephone company, tell them every move that was being made and request a change. Now, they unplug their phones, move to their new desks and the system automatically handles the re-routing.”
Mitel’s tightly-integrated platform has proven to be more stable and easier to manage than the legacy patchwork of poorly-integrated components. Monthly costs to the hotel have been greatly reduced thanks to granular controls and enhanced reporting features in MiContact Centre. Pacific Gateway’s internal reservations team are better equipped to handle calls with confidence, reducing call redirections to central reservations and profit-sapping call charges.
Additionally, the management team has seen major improvements in service provision. Not only are support tickets answered and resolved quickly, Sunco also identified the opportunity to train the hotel maintenance team to provide first line support for basic issues—maximizing uptime while minimizing support costs.
With the new system working well, the Pacific Gateway team are delighted with the results.
Hotel phone systems that work!
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