The Crowne Plaza Muscat Oman Exhibition and Convention Hotel, a member of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), is managed on behalf of the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN). Built at the end of 2017, the hotel is part of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC). Conveniently located within a walking distance from the OCEC and only 10 minutes’ drive from Muscat International Airport, surrounded by nature and a unique Wadi (a natural waterway), the property is a perfect 4-star destination for both business and leisure travellers, although primarily used for business and conference purposes.
Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC offers guests a choice of 295 modern rooms and suites and extensive leisure facilities. With its professional meeting rooms, foyers and a functional ballroom, the hotel caters for guests attending all types of meetings and events.
As part of the development process, the Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC IT team worked closely with OMRAN to develop an integrated in-room infotainment and digital signage solution to serve guests across the resort. OMRAN previously had positive experiences with an VITEC IPTV system that has been successfully deployed at Muscat International Airport, as well as reference visits to several high-profile hotels in Dubai that have also deployed VITEC technology.
Based on these experiences, OMRAN recommended the VITEC IP video system as its preferred choice for Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC, even though other systems were usually deployed across the regional IHG chain. Mr. Meslum AlKindi, Area Information Technology Director, IHG Oman, and his team met with VITEC and local integration partner, VIT, to explore its requirements and to test the IPTV solution.
“Our previous IPTV system was very old fashioned. What we wanted for the new hotel was a modern interface that would really grab the attention of the guest,” says Mr. AlKindi. “Also, with that old system, making changes was very difficult and it did not give us all the features we wanted.”
Working closely with VITEC and VIT, Mr. AlKindi and his team were able to design a new guest room TV interface from scratch using VITEC’s ArtioGuest application. Mr. AlKindi commented, “It was a completely different experience for us; what we have created is fresh and modern and we have also been able to add additional details that were not possible with the old system.”
One example Mr. AlKindi highlights is the ability to change the graphics layout based on guest level within its loyalty programme. “It might sound like a small thing, but we want to make each guest feel welcomed and special – and this small change is a great example of how easy it was to configure the VITEC system in exactly the way we wanted it.”
The full deployment covers 295 guest rooms and 7 conference rooms, along with digital signage points across the facility, including full integration with Amadeus Delphi to provide meeting room functionality. The VITEC IP video system provides 70 satellite TV channels and YouTube channels with full HD capability. With BYOD support a key requirement hotel guests, the solution is also integrated into the resort-wide Wi-Fi network to allow streaming of TV shows onto mobile devices. In total, the hotel deployed over 332 SmartTV screens with a mix of TV and digital signage.
Feedback from guests has been positive, and the IP video and digital signage solutions have proven extremely reliable. Mr. AlKindi has been particularly pleased with its ease of management: “If we need to make any changes like adding channels or updating signage, the software has been very easy for our team use,” he says.
Looking to the future, the hotel is now considering integrating additional guest services into the in-room Dining TV screens and Mr. AlKindi is confident that the VITEC system is ready for the task. “VITEC may not have initially been our first choice, but after using it for nearly a year, I would nominate it is as a choice for IPTV System into the future,” he concludes.