For a few brief months each year Suzie Kochuyt’s discerning guests bask in sunshine on the golf course, at the tennis courts or beside the pool. Unfortunately, her organization’s existing Wi-Fi was increasingly unable to facilitate such pursuits.
“Other than our main building, facilities on our grounds were either without access or suffered from unreliable connectivity,” says Kochuyt, Controller at Cedar Rapids Country Club. “This contributed to various operational and customer service headaches.”
The Iowa-based Club’s insufficient existing wireless not only affected satellite facilities, it caused systemic problems at the private organization featuring an 18-hole Donald Ross golf course, multiple tennis courts, resort-inspired aquatics, private parties and fine dining.
“Whenever our Cabana/pool area Wi-Fi went offline, which was regularly, it forced us to take orders on paper and key them into our point of sale (POS) system at a later time,” explains Kochuyt. “It also corrupted the POS database a couple of times, which could take hours to fix and left the entire food and beverage operation, club-wide, without a POS system.”
“For members, there were unacceptable dining delays and transaction issues,” she adds.
What’s more, lack of reliable wireless at the Club’s ninth hole refreshment station and the tennis pro shop meant paper-based sales, creating yet more operational overhead. Further, extending guest access to the expansive pool facility was impossible.
To solve all of these challenges efficiently and cost-effectively, the Club turned to its trusted integration partner, Erb’s Technology Solutions (ETS).
After evaluating needs and budget, ETS suggested a vendor-agnostic wireless solution from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, to integrate smoothly with the Club’s heterogeneous technology infrastructure.
For Wi-Fi, it included rugged, high-performance 802.11ac Aruba Instant outdoor access points (APs). To securely connect the APs to the existing wired LAN, HPE OfficeConnect 1920 Switch Series were chosen.
By using Aruba’s self-configuring Instant APs, even small organizations like the Club gain a scalable enterprise WLAN, loaded with security and smarts, without breaking the budget. Aruba Instant APs supply zero-touch provisioning, for plug-and-play installation, updates and build-outs. They also include an HPE Smart Rate multi-gig uplink to boost network performance for improved mobile experiences.
The complete Aruba Instant solution provides wire-like experiences for mobile devices without adding infrastructure complexity or increased technology management overhead. It also enables internal traffic for POS transactions to remain separate from external guest access.
Today, Aruba’s Gigabit Wi-Fi solution furnishes the Cedar Rapids Country Club with the secure, reliable and scalable connectivity its upscale members expect.
“For example, our unique zero-entry plus lap pool combination makes our pool area a social hub,” Kochuyt says. “Our new guest Wi-Fi enables members to relax resort-style while also handling their professional responsibilities.”
Additionally, dining experiences have returned to their first-class status. “Stable Wi-Fi ensures we can effectively serve meals at each of our dining venues, providing a gracious atmosphere for our members and their guests,” says Kochuyt.
Out on the course and at the tennis courts, electronic transactions have replaced pens-and-paper to ensure golfers and racquet sports players receive smooth transaction experiences whether purchasing equipment or refreshments.
Operationally, always-on Wi-Fi reduces overhead and stems revenue losses. “With the manual systems, when the POS went offline or in areas where we lacked network access, transaction disputes were common,” Kochuyt says. “All of those issues are mitigated.”
Staff satisfaction is also improved. “Before, employees needed to stay after their shift to manually key in transactions during the increasingly common outages,” says Kochuyt.
“Midwestern summers are short for them, too, so staying late was unwelcome,” she adds. “As we essentially double our workforce during summer, seasonal recruitment and retention are vital to delivering optimal guest experiences.”
Scalability enables more amenities to come
The ability to scale out the Aruba solution enables organizations like the Cedar Rapids Country Club to plan for blanketing an entire 18-hole course with Wi-Fi to further enhance amenities.
“Expanding Wi-Fi to cover the course would provide multiple new opportunities,” she explains. “Just one example would be offering an app that golfers could use to order refreshments while on the course. Then, we could deliver orders at the golfer’s location without disrupting their game.”
“With our Aruba solution capable of expanding across our entire outdoor environment, we can consider options such as concierge beverage service that we once only dreamt about,” Kochuyt adds.
Overall, Kochuyt says the new Wi-Fi helps put the Club in top form. “With our new Wi-Fi we’re leveraging leading edge of technology that’s the right fit for our organization,” she says.
“Our facilities are modernized, our employees are happier and our operations are improved,” she adds. “Most importantly, we’re delighting our members every day.”