CHI International is a luxury Asia-wide hospitality group that manages a range of properties from a resort in Taveuni, Fiji, to modern hotels and residences in Hong Kong and Shanghai. In Hong Kong, their serviced apartment brand CHI Residences started in 2007 with one building block of 21 apartments, which quickly grew to include another 100 apartments in authentic locations around Hong Kong and Kowloon. Its latest project is located at 130 Johnston Road in Wanchai, which is currently under construction and expected to open in 2013.
Attracting a substantial number of travelers, business travelers and executives, CHI Residences understand the importance of having high-speed connectivity, WiFi and state-of-the-art technology for their tenants.
CHI Residences also takes pride in its commitment to creating environmentally friendly properties. It has been taking steps in becoming more environmentally-conscious and supports green initiatives such as Earth Hour and Coastal Cleanup and paper recycling.
CHI Residences saw that there was an increasing demand for convenient, stylish and environmentally-friendly accommodations in Hong Kong, and was faced with the challenge to provide timely, efficient and paperless communications which was still in line with their commitment to encouraging a greener lifestyle. The company had also adopted a policy aimed at eliminating unnecessary burdens on the environment and reducing its carbon footprint wherever possible.
"Keeping up with the times, we will provide environmentally responsible and technologically advanced products and services, while still maintaining our high quality serviced apartment brand in Hong Kong," says Pilar Morais, CEO of CHI Residences.
In order to continue to provide quality services for business travelers and corporate tenants, CHI Residences decided that a new state-of-the-art tailor-made internal communication solution was needed to offer their tenants more digital options.
Its current messaging and communication system was not well-equipped to cope with the growing technological demands, especially since the various networks and communication platforms needed to be consolidated.
Faster and better communication tools also meant that CHI Residences would be able to boost productivity and mind IT costs. It would also cement its reputation and position as an industry leader in creating a luxury home away from home. In addition, the company realized that there was much wastage in printing notices, reminders and charges for tenants, and wanted to reduce the amount of hard copies generated and resources.
Since tenants at CHI Residences usually stayed for six months to a year, it was important for the communications solution provider to install the solution without causing disturbance to tenants and ensure that operations continue to run smoothly.
After carefully considering several vendors, CHI Residences decided to partner with Fujitsu to implement an end-to-end unified communications solution for its serviced apartments in Sheung Wan, Jordan and Yaumatei. A number of factors were taken into account in the selection process, including functionality, ease-of-use, security and privacy, compatibility with its existing systems and procedures as well as price. Style and size of the equipment was also considered as space within serviced apartments is valuable.
"Price is not always the final determining factor, as CHI Residences looks for vendors to partner with and build a long term relationship with. The team at Fujitsu was not only knowledgeable and supportive, but they were helpful in advising and providing solutions in a professional and timely manner," adds Morais.
Collaborating closely with CHI Residences to develop a solution that met all their needs, Fujitsu deployed a complete IP-based unified communications system called CHI Smart Communicator across four separate buildings in two months without causing disturbance to tenants. In order to achieve this, some professional Fujitsu services teams were stand-by for installing the equipment for each apartment within a short period of time.
The planning and development process went smoothly, with regular status update meetings between Fujitsu’s consultants and the CHI Residences team to maintain open communications and constant feedback.
Carly Chan, Operations Manager of CHI Residences, says: "We value the attention to detail and quality control that the Fujitsu team gave when advising on the webpage design and enhancing user experience. We had a number of in-depth discussions and artwork design meetings, ranging from the size of graphics, font type and font size, to the operation of each function and browsing experiences. With reference to the template, the final design that we are using embrace elements that enhance user experiences and some of our brand attributes."
Once the system was in place, Fujitsu provided ongoing training and support for all the CHI team members involved to understand and learn the technology.
CHI Residences is the first serviced apartment brand to introduce unified communications technology and provide their tenants with this state-of-the-art feature. This includes hi-tech, eco-friendly enhancements, such as phone book and service directory, click to call, text messages and visualized voicemail. This is made convenient through the use of the in-room plasma screens, wireless keyboard and mouse, and will also connect online for Internet access. CHI Residences has noted an increased tenant satisfactory by 18% through the provision of a wide range of technology tools and tailor-made features for tenants, all accessed via in-room screens.
"The tenants are impressed with the state-of-the-art technology and find in-room Internet browsing useful especially for short term stays. They can also easily find recommendations for nearby restaurants which they can click-to-call for reservations," observes Morais. CHI Residences has also enriched the hospitality experience by including the information on latest leisure and entertainment spots in Hong Kong through the unified communications platform (figure 1 & 2 below).
Fig. 1. Information on latest leisure and entertainment spots in Hong Kong.
Fig. 2. Contacts and websites of banks and government departments for business travellers.
In order to offer an exclusive environment, the platform could be personalised with the names and details of the tenants, making it easy to send notifications and reminders on bill payments and messages, and to record specific information related to each apartment, such as IDD calls.
"Fujitsu's data centre design creates a highly stable environment for our day-to-day mission-critical transactions. Regular monitoring and an alarm system allow real-time warning sent to our e-mails and mobile phones. Having a stable infrastructure meant KGI’s staff can now reduce the frequency of their visits to the data centre, enhancing efficiency in terms of managing the date centre," Wu said.
Currently in operation now, CHI Smart Communicator has greatly reduced unnecessary and wasteful hardcopy printing of documents by more than 10%.
"Implementing Fujitsu's technology has helped speed up communications and notifications between our teams and our tenants. It has also allowed us to be more environmentally responsible in using less paper," notes Chan.
In working with Fujitsu, CHI Residences has become more aware of the capabilities and possibilities of what technology can do within the hospitality industry. Kenneth Law, Senior Solution Manager, Fujitsu Hong Kong, says: "Our team is delighted to deliver Fujitsu Unified Communication Solution for the hospitality industry to CHI Residences, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. With the support from CHI Residences and the latest Fujitsu technologies worldwide, we continue to provide enhancements in order to meet the evolving need of tenants."
Having just launched the CHI Benefits Program, they are now looking to implement the offers into the CHI Smart Communicator, with e-banner advertising space available for partners. The e-advertising would be relevant to the needs of tenants and offer tenants more options and discounts on restaurants, leisure and entertainment spots. At the same time, CHI Residences would be able to transfer the revenues from e-advertising to projects will enrich the hospitality experience of tenants.
Morais concludes: "As a leading serviced apartment brand in Hong Kong, we are always seeking to partner with industry leaders, and Fujitsu’s advanced technology and tailor-made solutions are a good fit to co-create a luxury home away from home for chic and savvy travelers. We look forward to working with Fujitsu to take serviced accommodation to a new level."
Fujitsu Hong Kong is a leading ICT solutions and services provider that creates value for customers through highly reliable and environmentally friendly ICT offerings. With 50 years of experience and as part of the Fujitsu Group – a global family of ICT infrastructure experts – the company has been leveraging innovation and technology in its flexible response to the unique needs of each customer. As the hub and gateway for customers exploring business opportunities in and out of China and the Asia Pacific region, Fujitsu Hong Kong is also committed to developing long-term partnerships with customers. Our major customers include the Government of HKSAR, Cathay Pacific Airways, PCCW, KGI Asia Limited, CITIC Securities International, Modern Terminals Limited, Octopus, One Media Group and more. For more information, please visit http://hk.fujitsu.com.
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