Case Study: Hotel Hotel, Molonglo Group

There’s a lot more to hotels than beds, bathrooms and room service.  Today’s hotels need to provide guests with a seamless delivery of all their expectations, regardless of what they may be.

With the opening of Hotel Hotel in the Nishi building at Canberra’s arts and culture precinct, NewActon, hospitality has taken on a whole new meaning.  And it is fitting that this significant development has been conceived and brought to completion by a company that is truly Canberra born and bred, Molonglo Group.

The Group’s aim is to deliver considered developments, where the creation of culture, living, working, shopping, dining, entertainment, recreation and business activities are layered with the very best standards of urban design, environmental consideration, adaptive heritage restoration and public art.

Hotel Hotel occupies three floors of the Nishi building, offering 68 rooms as well as conference and function facilities. Hotel Hotel raises the bar in terms of meeting or exceeding guest expectations.  Renowned global architects, designers, artists and makers were involved in creating a physical space that would be like no other.

In 2015, The Nishi Building (home to Hotel Hotel) won the International Project of the Year in the 2015 Building Awards in London. Molonglo Group led the small army of consultants that contributed to the project, including BTAS who successfully designed and deployed its communications solutions.

The overall success of the project has led to Hotel Hotel going on to win several industry awards including: Boutique Hotel of the Year (2015), Australian Institute of Architect Award (2014), and National Architecture Award (2014) and it was shortlisted for the WFII Award for its interior design (2015).

Hotel Experience | Technology Experience

The same quest for guest satisfaction, entertainment and enjoyment also went into the selection of Hotel Hotel’s communication and entertainment partner, with the company selecting BTAS to design and integrate a VoIP infrastructure that would seamlessly link guests’ needs with the hotel’s administration requirements.

With the building being constructed on a greenfield site, it was a rare opportunity to undertake a complete turnkey project.   Initial engagement began somewhat by chance, with the building architect attending a BTAS hospitality education event in 2012.  Encouraged by the new technologies and solutions showcased at the event, the architect and his client, Molonglo Group, were keen to include BTAS in the tender list when the Hotel Hotel project began.

Integrated Entertainment System

BTAS was selected due to its strengths in technology, education, creative system design, strong partner relationships and a heritage in the hospitality industry.  These attributes allowed BTAS to present Molonglo Group with a telephony and technology solution that supported the communication and entertainment requirements of guests, whilst integrating easily into Hotel Hotel’s administration and business systems.

Understanding the Hotel Hotel business culture

The Hotel Hotel project was about a lot more than just the latest technology.  It was about understanding the vision for this ground-breaking hotel experience, the radically advanced sustainability features of the Nishi building within which it was to be located, the environmental aspiration of the parent company, Molonglo Group, and how this would be judged by the guests it would attract.

It was evident from the BTAS event the project architect attended in 2012, that BTAS understood the needs and aspirations of the modern traveller, and this understanding was a key component in the proposal that BTAS presented for this project.

This cultural understanding was supported by BTAS having partners who possessed some of the world’s leading hardware and software that would ensure that guests enjoyed their communication and entertainment facilities as much as they did the ambience of their room, the Hotel Hotel environment and the staff looking after them.

According to Scott Broadhead, Information Communications Technology Manager at Molonglo Group, every physical aspect of the telephony and communication experience had to reflect the Hotel Hotel brand, something he believed BTAS could achieve for them.

“This was not a case of working with a partner that simply supplied hardware, software and integration services.  We needed a partner that truly understood our corporate and brand philosophy, and this is what we found with BTAS.  Everything we wanted installed had to be custom designed in some way, from the fonts and texts sizes used in IPTV menus to the location of icon buttons on the telephone handsets.  Everything we wanted was redisgned, re-engineered and delivered by BTAS,” said Mr Broadhead.

Dealing with the Unexpected

When construction of the hotel commenced, BTAS set to work designing and building key components of the final solution in their own dedicated laboratories.  As each part of the solution was developed, BTAS did rigorous testing and modifications to ensure that the final result would be easy to install and would meet the specifications of the brief.

With many major greenfield construction projects, delays can occur, especially in areas of construction and fit-out.  Molonglo Group was faced with such a delay.  Although many floors of the building had been completed, including the Group’s new head office, completion of the hotel floors was behind schedule.

The decision was made for the Group to move into its new environment and continue its daily operations as normal; however this meant that BTAS was required to deploy an interim phone system to support the Groups on-going administrative requirements in August 2013, some three months before the hotel floors were to be completed.

Once the hotel floors were completed, BTAS moved all the equipment into the final communications room, including the interim phone system.  To achieve this, the BTAS team’s Implementation Manager, Design Manager and Senior Engineers worked closely with Molonglo Group’s IT Manager on all aspects of the deployment including the data, wireless, telephony and IPTV components.

”The delays to the construction program meant we had to take some hard decisions,” said Mr Broadhead.  “Originally we had planned to have the Hotel Hotel floors completed first, followed by our administrative floors and retail areas including the hotel bar and lounge.  However, this changed dramatically when the Group decided it had no option but to move the administration functions into the building first, while the rest of the construction continued.”

“The way in which BTAS responded was remarkable.  They appreciated the reasons behind our new schedule and rapidly built and deployed an interim telephony system that allowed us to manage enquiries and reservations for forward hotel room bookings, and deployed the technology to provide the free internet availability for the hotel bar and lounge,” said Mr Broadhead. 

The final VoIP solution goes live

The state-of-the-art BTAS VoIP solution was fully functional when Hotel Hotel was officially opened on 22nd November 2013. 

Because of the close relationship it has with its vendor partners, BTAS was able to deliver bespoke functionality in areas of IPTV menus, screen graphics and telephony functions that support the look and feel of the total Hotel Hotel experience.

“This was an exciting project for BTAS”, said Gavin Jones, CEO of BTAS, “as it is rare to be offered a turnkey greenfield opportunity such as this.  Hotel Hotel was conceived and constructed to be a hotel experience like no other and the pressure was on us to deliver a communication and entertainment solution that reflected both the style of the hotel and the expectations of the guests that would stay there.  Our experience in the hospitality industry, our knowledge of travelers’ needs and our strong and relevant partner relationships all came together to deliver a bespoke supporting infrastructure that works for guests and management alike."

BTAS was certainly a key partner in achieving our desired outcome.  Their experience in the hotel and hospitality industries, their knowledge and expertise in integrating with third party devices and technologies, and the dedication and flexibility of their team when under pressure gave us what we wanted, when we wanted it,” concluded Mr Broadhead.

Click here to see the Hotel Hotel in the media