As part of the Trump Organization’s $250 million investment in the property, state-of-the-art technology that includes Wi-Fi, smart thermostats in every room, and Voice over IP have been implemented. Restaurant servers use tablets as point-of-sale devices, while housekeepers use Apple iPod Touches to access visitor requests, and managers are equipped with iPads to conduct inspections before guests arrive.
BizTech Magazine, a publication that explores technology topics for small and medium-sized businesses, featured Trump National Doral Miami for its major, club-wide technology upgrade.
The Trump Organization purchased the Doral, Fla., property in 2012 for $150 million, and is investing another $250 million to renovate the property. In addition to gutting and rebuilding the clubhouse and hotel, the two-year construction project, dubbed “Return to Grandeur,” includes state-of-the-art technology throughout—from Wi-Fi and smart thermostats in every room to Voice over IP (VoIP) and IPTV—all of which rides on a fast, new local area network (LAN), BizTech reported.
“When we bought the resort, it was tired and worn down,” said Eric Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization. “We’re putting $250 million into it to make it the best golf resort in the world. Our properties always have to be the best, and IT is a serious component to that.”
As construction crews knocked down walls last March, the IT department focused on the network first, building two fiber networks to ensure redundancy, so if one power supply or supervisor goes down, the other keeps the switch running, said CDW network solution architect Manuel Rocha, who helped design the network, BizTech reported.
Scott Mahler, the resort’s director of information technology, then had the foundation to upgrade the resort’s antiquated 10/100 megabit-per-second LAN. The new network’s faster speeds and larger capacity allow the IT staff to install a high-speed Wi-Fi network, migrate from an old analog phone system to VoIP and run all applications, including the property management system, security cameras and a new audio-visual system for meetings, BizTech reported.
“With the backbone network in place, we could integrate all the other systems that run on top of it,” Mahler says. “Everything is riding on IP, even our mini bars are being recorded from IP for tracking purposes.”
When guests check in to their rooms, for example, the resort’s new temperature control system automatically lowers the thermostat from 76 degrees to a more comfortable 72. But when guests check out, it automatically increases the temperature back to 76 to save on air conditioning costs, BizTech reported.
Because the Trumps were taking a phased renovation approach and keeping the resort open during construction, the IT department needed to integrate old and new while having both systems running simultaneously. As each building is renovated, the IT staff cuts everything over to the new systems, BizTech reported.
Mahler decided to switch to VoIP because of the efficiencies the technology brings. An IP phone system is easier to manage and maintain, and instead of having to update the wiring for analog phone lines, the IT staff could simply use the converged IP network, cutting down on cabling costs, BizTech reported.
“We are a 24-hour property, and we can’t allow downtime to impact our business,” Mahler said. “The new APC unit gives us more time in case of emergencies and if power goes out.”
For Trump National Doral Miami, it’s not good enough to just have a wireless network. The resort must have a Wi-Fi network that has the speed and capacity to handle thousands of notebook, tablet and smartphone users at any given time. To ensure optimal wireless coverage, Mahler placed wireless access points in every guest room, BizTech reported
The built-in switch allows the IT department to connect and power two IP phones in each room, provide guests with a wired network connection, and deliver IP-based television to each room’s 55-inch LED TV, BizTech reported.
“The built-in switch on the access points saved us from having to run multiple cables and add extra power sources into the rooms,” Mahler said. He hired a CDW service provider to perform a site survey and determine the best placement of access points to ensure full coverage indoors and outdoors. “There is no dead spot or weak signal throughout the property,” Mahler adds.
The resort is taking advantage of mobile devices and the wireless network to improve customer service and make it more efficient. Restaurant and pool servers—as well as workers at golf course concession stands—all use tablets as point-of-sale devices to take orders and handle transactions, BizTech reported.
The IT staff has also issued Apple iPod Touches to about 100 housekeepers. When a guest calls the front desk and requests extra towels, the request is typed into a customer service application and the next available staffer is notified through an app on the mobile device. Supervisors and managers are equipped with iPads, so they can conduct inspections and make sure everything is in order before guests arrive, BizTech reported.
While renovations continue, most of the IT work is completed. Mahler has worked at a dizzying pace the past 12 months, keeping existing IT operations up and running while managing dozens of IT projects, supervising dozens of contractors and coordinating with construction crews, BizTech reported.
“It feels like the whole world is riding on the network, but everything is working seamlessly,” Mahler said. “It was very hard work, but it’s a huge success.”