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Comcast Helps First Hospitality Group Deliver its “Number One Amenity” to Guests Cost-Effectively

A Midwest hospitality industry leader uses high-speed, high-volume bandwidth to improve service and build customer loyalty

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Situation

  • First Hospitality Group has been a leader in hotel development and management in key Midwest markets for nearly 30 years.
  • Headquartered in the Chicago area with leading properties in eight states
  • Experienced partners with 16 major national and international hotel brands
Challenge
  • Meet continually increasing guest and operational demand for connectivity
  • Provide high-speed, high-bandwidth Internet access to guests free of charge
  • Maintain highly reliable connectivity cost-effectively
  • Comcast Business Ethernet Network Service
Results
  • A great working relationship
  • Reliable, cost-effective connectivity and service

Comcast Business Services helps First Hospitality Group deliver cost-effective connectivity for guests
It used to be enough for hotels to provide with a clean room and a comfortable bed, but hospitality customers have changed with the times, and so have their expectations. Sam Selim, Senior Director of Information Technology of the Chicago-based First Hospitality Group (FHG), notes that today’s business traveler needs more: “Internet access is our number one amenity,” Selim says. “Business guests require high-speed Internet, with a reliable, high-quality connection. It’s our first concern.”

Finding the right bandwidth provider was essential, Selim says, but given that the connectivity would be treated as a free amenity and not as an add-on charge, it was necessary for FHG to make cost as important as quality in their choice. “Every one of the major branded hotels we partner with has a minimum bandwidth standard we have to meet, and a minimal service level that has to be 99% or greater.” Selim continues. “When we were looking for a service provider, we needed someone who could help us meet those criteria. My focus was to find the best product in the marketplace--the best being most cost effective as well.”

Comcast Business Services is the choice for First Hospitality Group
FHG’s record of leadership in hotel acquisition and development services covers nearly three decades, and the portfolio includes over fifty properties in eight Midwestern states. They partner with leading companies such as like Marriott, Hilton, and Radisson, and their expertise helps deliver high guest satisfaction and a strong bottom line. Achieving both year after year means keeping ahead of guest expectations—and those expectations evolve. “We’ve seen numerous initiatives in the business to emphasize quality bedding and beautiful décor, or free breakfasts and refreshments,” Selim says. “Nowadays it’s connectivity. Business travelers need a connection at least as good as the one they have in their offices. All the major branded hotels have mandated this for years--at first it was ‘Free Internet’ and then ‘Free Wi-Fi.’ Now the standard is high speed.”

Solution
“In evaluating vendors, we looked for reliability and quality in the connection along with cost-economy and a high service level—a tall order,” he continues. “After searching long and hard we looked at Comcast. We assessed the availability for our locations, speed of installation, and projected costs. We also took the people into account, and our Comcast rep did an outstanding job. The fiber solution is very reliable—a very good user experience for the guests on the speed side. We have about 20 properties up and running with Comcast, with more in the pipeline.”

“Connectivity is a 24/7/365 commitment that keeps a hotel very competitive. Travelers will forgive you if the room isn’t immaculate, but the Internet connection has to be flawless and fast. That drives the business, no matter if it’s extended stay or overnight lodging. That’s why we’re moving forward with Comcast.”

Sam Selim
Senior Director of Information Technology
First Hospitality Group

Service and quality build the FHG/Comcast collaboration
A great working relationship
Sam Selim knew he was talking with the right company when he made his first appointment: “I get dozens of calls a week from vendors, and most of them I don’t even take. The first one from our Comcast rep caught my attention, though, and I set an appointment to talk--7 AM on a Saturday. Sure enough, the rep called. It was an eye opener to have them initiate the dialogue that way. There and then I knew we’d get along very well. The rep explained the offering in a way that made it clear to me how this would be a benefit for us and our users.”

Reliable, cost-effective connectivity and service
“We’re definitely getting what we paid for,” Selim says. “And from the technical perspective, it’s been extremely smooth. Comcast has always sent very well qualified engineers who work closely with us. Every turn up has almost flawless. If there’s an obstacle in an installation, it’s been a just a hiccup, and it’s always been resolved in 24 hours. “It’s rare that we have to call Customer Service.” Now Selim advocates Comcast as the first choice for the hotel companies with which FHG partners: “We’re sticking with Comcast everywhere we can as we keep rolling out this new connectivity.”

Download this article as a PDF >

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