Al-Hokair, a group with a long involvement in property ownership and a key player in the development of the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia, has commissioned Swisscom Hospitality to serve all its properties with advanced broadband Internet services.

Al-Hokair’s portfolio currently counts 31 hotels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Dubai (UAE), which operate under a variety of brands including Hilton, Radisson Blu, Park Inn, MENA, Holiday Inn and Golden Tulip, in addition to several independent hotels.

The signature of the framework agreement follows Swisscom’s successful deployment of a new Wi-Fi infrastructure at Holiday Inn Al Qasr and Holiday Inn Corniche, which belong to Al-Hokair’s portfolio. Swisscom has now been mandated to conduct technical site surveys at all remaining Al-Hokair properties and issue recommendations to the Group’s managing board. For Al-Hokair’s new hotel projects such as Red Sea Palace Jeddah, MENA Riyadh, and Holiday Inn Jeddah, Swisscom acts as an active technology advisor during the hotel design process.

"We have chosen Swisscom for their long and profound experience as a system integrator, which is reflected in the quality of their hardware partnerships, their experienced implementation teams and their proven processes", says Mr Sami bin Abdulmohsen Al-Hokair, managing director and chief executive officer of Al-Hokair Group. "Our two Holiday Inns in Al Qasr and Corniche were both installed with amazing success, speed and precision."

The centrepiece of Swisscom’s Broadband Internet solution is a next-generation Internet gateway, which offers hoteliers a robust technology backbone in view of constantly growing guest connectivity needs and resulting bandwidth requirements. The Swisscom gateway supports 3,000 simultaneous users on a given hotel property (scalable for more if needed) and allows data to flow at 1Gb per second, matching the speed of modern fibre optical technologies. Furthermore, the Swisscom gateway allows Al-Hokair to differentiate the guest experience through an individually branded user interface. Returning guests can be automatically recognized and reconnected.

Mr Sami bin Abdulmohsen Al-Hokair continues: "We also count on Swisscom’s managed services. Today’s tech-savvy travellers expect to be connected at all times. Even a 1% failure rate will be unacceptable for them. The permanent monitoring of our hotel networks that Swisscom performs allows our guests to enjoy high-speed internet at all times."

Swisscom’s broadband Internet services are backed by a dedicated Network Operations Center (NOC). The Swisscom NOC ensures a centralised, scalable service management for all of Al-Hokair’s hotels and forms a single point of contact for the group’s IT director.

Sami Mansi, regional director for the MENA Region at Swisscom Hospitality Services added: "Having gained the trust of Al-Hokair, a group with an impressive track record in building successful hotel enterprises, is a great honour for us. With our 12 years’ worth of IP networking experience in hospitality, we complement Al-Hokair’s expertise and strengthen their market position, both by delivering a great user experience and by building and operating their networks and applications most cost-effectively."