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Head sommelier and ICT manager
Gasthaus zum Gupf
The Gasthaus zum Gupf in Rehetobel urgently needed to update its ICT system, with guests grumbling about the unstable WLAN and poor mobile signal. Together with its local partner stgallennetgroup, Swisscom equipped the hotel with state-of-the-art solutions.
Following a thorough overhaul of its ICT systems, the Gasthaus zum Gupf now offers its guests contemporary facilities and a pleasant customer experience. The business is also benefiting.
The Gasthaus zum Gupf sits high above the Appenzell region and Lake Constance, and its guests have high expectations to match. Host Walter Klose and his team are proud of the hotel’s 18 Gault-Millau points and ‘sensational’ wine cellar. Visitors keen to continue living the high life after experiencing the restaurant’s culinary delights can spoil themselves by retiring to one of the ten upstairs guest rooms.
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Until recently, the hotel’s ICT and entertainment package was rather less impressive. “It was a cumbersome hotchpotch,” says head sommelier Stefan Schachner, who looks after hundreds of fine wines with great passion. His other role, as the hotel’s ICT manager, fills him with less excitement. “But it was clear that something had to be done,” he continues.
“Over the years, the hotel’s ICT equipment had grown along with the hotel itself. Something would be added here, something changed there. In short, the whole system had become a bit of a maze, rather like the building itself. As a result, our guests were not at all impressed with the unstable WLAN and the weak or non-existent mobile signal. The choice of TV channels in the rooms was melting away like snow in the spring sunshine. We were still relying on a satellite dish and aerial.” The hotel’s ICT infrastructure was not at all conducive to running a business efficiently, adds Stefan Schachner: “If I wanted to open a website, I would go and get a coffee and hope it would have loaded by the time I came back.”
The hotel’s ICT overhaul began with a stocktaking exercise carried out by Swisscom partner stgallennetgroup. All its old ICT components were carefully tracked down and logged. The number one priority was to install a fast fibre Internet connection. Stefan Schachner explains: “It was all very stressful. Our building already had a fibre connection for Swisscom’s 2G mobile phone antenna, but there was still an endless debate over whether we would need bring a 2 km cable up to the hotel.” In the end, all that was needed was for a distributor to be fitted to the existing connection so the hotel could link up to the Swisscom broadband service.
“ Thanks to the fast Internet connection and the new network and hardware, it’s much easier to work. ”
The data cables and router were then replaced, WLAN equipment was installed inside and outside the building, a 4G mobile network was provided throughout the hotel and its grounds and blue TV Host, Swisscom’s TV service for hotels and residential homes, was set up. Swisscom’s partner also replaced all the hotel’s end devices, such as PCs and printers, with latest-generation equipment, with no upfront costs for the hotel because it was included in the Smart ICT all-in-one package.
Stefan Schachner is visibly relieved that he no longer has to worry about the hotel’s never-ending ICT troubles. “We’re 1083 m above sea level here, and our ICT and TV have finally hit the heights,” he smiles. The guests love the robust, stable WLAN and the hugely improved 4G mobile network, he says. And what about the TV? “It’s certainly important that it’s also up to date. But most of our guests actually prefer the view.” How is the business itself benefiting from the technological overhaul?
“Thanks to the fast Internet connection and the new network and hardware, it’s much easier to work. The new level of stability is reassuring – the fire alarm and security cameras are all linked to the network, for example. The apps we can now use are very practical: we used to have to go into each room to regulate the heating. Now we can control all the radiators with a tablet – as well as the music in the restaurant and the light in the wine cellar, for example. And it’s a huge weight off our minds to know that everything, including support, is provided by Swisscom.”