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The partnership with The Ascott Group started almost 8 years ago, with a single property called The Cavendish in London Mayfair, UK. With a defined budget and just one month for the deployment of a full infrastructure and WiFi service install, Wifirst had a challenge on its hands. Shortly after, a European-wide RFP was put out to tender and after our demonstrated success in London, Wifirst was chosen by The Ascott Group to undergo a massive redeployment for their 40 European properties. 3 years later, The Ascott Group renewed their trust in Wifirst by extending and upgrading all their properties to an even higher standard, adding greater radio coverage throughout their portfolio. In fact, The Ascott was looking for a reliable partner with their hands on new technologies so they could concentrate on their core business: to make sure the guests find their home away from home.The Wifirst solution is now in use across all of the group’s European properties guaranteeing free super high-speed WiFi that guests can access from everywhere in their rooms, suites, apartments and lobbies and all of its communal spaces.
The partnership in a few key numbers
The digitalisation of hotels has made WiFi critical for businesses and its scalable multi-service WiFi offer enables Wifirst to address the challenges of its customers' digital transformation: simplified management, a single point of contact, cost optimisation, increased quality of service and productivity and an enhanced customer and employee experience.
For the Ascott, Wifirst created a form of digital backbone for each hotel, which enables the connectivity of many different devices and services under the same network. Smart TVs and Chromecast are some examples of services that can be added, the latter giving guest room TV’s a new lease of life, enhancing the overall guest experience. Wifirst also increased the radio coverage on the 5Ghz spectrum, and therefore the quality of device connectivity. This means a faster and more reliable WiFi connection is available throughout, also allowing the staff to become more efficient in remote areas at the property. This foundation paves the way to numerous enhancements that have led to increased revenue generation opportunities for the Ascott properties.
From full in-room TV experience to digital signage in common areas
Connectivity has become key for both The Ascott customers and employees. In 2019, as part of its transformational journey to digitalise its business from the core, The Ascott upgraded to a cloud property management system, allowing for the seamless integration with new systems and consolidation of guest and reservation data across all properties. In 2020, they launched a new 'Discover ASR' mobile app for members of its loyalty program, Ascott Star Rewards. With a clear and intuitive user experience, guests can easily manage their reservation, perform self-check in and check out, they can access digital keys to access apartments and receive "go green" notifications to provide guests with the choice to opt out of daily housekeeping, for example.
In order to accompany this digitalisation, Wifirst has isolated each type of network. For example, the guest and staff networks are isolated within a virtual local area network, which means that guest networks can not see the back office network and vice versa. We can introduce further security measures by adding a layer of encryption to any of the networks, and even hide wireless networks altogether, thus ensuring the highest form of security and connectivity is always provided.
Connecting The Ascott properties
The Ascott benefits from excellent customer feedback, particularly in regards to Chromecast, which is very popular with travellers. The Booking and TripAdvisor ratings are also excellent. This is the reward for the investments made: provide connectivity up to the standard of the Citadines brand.