Case study: Fairways to heaven

13 Jun 2005

Apparently, less than 1pc of all golfers have a single-figure handicap and so can justifiably call themselves good players. At The Heritage golf resort in Killenard, County Laois, while it can’t promise to create the next Tiger Woods, a major €2.5m technology investment will ensure golfers can up their game by having everything associated with their experience running smoothly.

The Heritage boasts a par 72 golf course designed by Seve Ballesteros and Jeff Howes, a golf school, a world-class hotel, leisure and spa, gym and Ireland’s first indoor bowls stadium and exhibition centre. There are more than 200 people employed across the complex.

According to Eoin O’Sullivan, managing director of The Heritage Group, the company wanted to invest in a one-stop technology solution that could manage a customer’s journey seamlessly through the facility without having to make several calls to book or cancel golf, dinner, spa treatments or to make a room reservation.

The Heritage appointed IT player Datapac as its total technology solution provider to optimise the business and manage all the ICT elements of the project. This involves consultancy, systems, support and the provision of a project manager and support team to implement the technology network on behalf of the hotel. According to O’Sullivan, Datapac managed the project from evaluation to awarding of contracts through to the set-up phase of all installations. “It brought a wide range of different players to the field — telephone systems, pay TV, security and audio visual to mention just a few.”

A golf management system was selected for the golf end of the business including membership information, retail and point of sale. Other systems include a property management system that controls hotel and meeting-room reservations and a specialist bar and health club system. Hogatex was selected and a suite of products including Assist Company, Infogenises and Reservations Assistant were installed with two-way interface between the spa and leisure facility, food and beverage and the front-of-house system.

Technogym was installed in the Health Club, allowing each person to have an entertainment system and the machines also manage a user’s fitness programme providing the user with information that goes into a master database. Music systems are all individually controlled for the various locations and security and access control make everything secure while at the same time making it easy for customers to access all public areas of the entire resort.

The hotel’s 98 bedrooms and suites have Wi-Fi internet access and pay TV offering a total entertainment package as well as a marketing tool giving people information on the hotel and facilities.

From one screen workers at The Heritage can do everything from making dinner reservations in any of the group’s outlets to booking a spa package. “The whole purpose of having everything integrated is to help information flow and from the point of view of the customer it is seamless,” O’Sullivan explains.

From a customer-facing perspective, everything from booking a room to making a dinner reservation can be done online. “The only thing you can’t do online is book a tee-time on the golf course but we intend to launch that facility within the next six weeks.

“We would be a lot closer to customers than before and by clever use of database management we would have histories of customers’ preferences and requirements. We are hoping to maximise this by launching ezines and taking advantage of other internet opportunities in the near future,” O’Sullivan concludes.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Therese Curran, systems project manager, Datapac, and Eoin O’Sullivan, managing director, The Heritage Group, at the Heritage golf resort in Killenard