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Copia helps The Gloustershire Hotel boost sales with wireless Internet  |  Written by jamaicaobserver.com   |  Friday, 13 April 2007

The Gloustershire Hotel is now offering wireless Internet throughout the resort, installed and maintained by Copia Wireless Communications Ltd.

The new service has helped to increase the occupancy level of the 96-room hotel despite the new US passport regulations that have reportedly had a negative impact on tourism throughout the island. The hotel boasts an increase in one sector of sales compared to the corresponding period in 2006.

"Our local and foreign corporate bookings have increased significantly since we started offering wireless Internet," said Jacqui Sinclair, the hotel's owner. "Locally, many businesses are choosing us as their preferred hotel in Montego Bay. This tremendous support from corporate Jamaica means a lot to us and we strive to please these customers. Now, foreign corporations are also coming on board."

Sinclair said that at the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) conference in Aruba in January, she secured three new contracts from the leisure market on the basis that her property offered high speed Internet in every room. "I expect in the near future I will see many trendy laptop-toting clients checking into my lobby," she said. The project began in late December last year and was completed by the end of January, just in time for the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.

"We ran into a few installation issues that delayed the project due to the thickness of the walls and some of the general infrastructure," said Copia CEO Darryl Wehmeyer. "We knew that Jacqui wanted to have it up and running by Jazz, so we pushed to accommodate and our local tech in Montego Bay did a great job getting it done."

The service provided to the hotel was designed, installed and is managed by Copia without any upfront cost to the hotel. "We partner with all of the hotels; we provide services to either profit share or pay a flat rate, whichever works best for them, it's completely their choice", stated Wehmeyer. "Hotels now realise that Internet in the rooms is not just something nice to have, it has become a need to have. Travellers today expect to have the service not just in the lobby, but in the privacy of their room, and it doesn't seem to matter if they are travelling on business or pleasure, they still want to have access to the 'net'."

Sinclair is excited about the new service as well as a few new changes to come at the hotel. "We have been doing a lot of work recently, modernising the hotel systems and wireless is just one new upgrade on the property," she said. "Since we didn't have to find the upfront capital expense to have the network installed, this has been a complete win-win solution for us.

We are looking at continuing to offer our guests a better experience every time they choose to stay with us. Our guests are an eclectic mix of businessmen and pleasure seekers and we aim to please both segments. Wireless bridges that gap. "Darryl Wehmeyer and his team have allowed us to realise that potential and we share a great relationship with them. They are accessible to us 24/7, it's like having an IT department on property and you can't beat that."

Sinclair also said that positive things are beginning to happen at her property. "I recently hired a dynamic new chef, I've met up with my architect and I'm meeting with interior decorators later this month to make some really big changes to The Gloustershire. The wireless installation was a major part of phase one of an overall plan."

Sinclair has taken over the hotel at the request of her father, John Sinclair, after spending the last few years in Paris. A Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, she became a food stylist and worked in the world of publishing, film and photography. She has prepared dishes and rubbed elbows with some of the world's biggest names in Hollywood, fashion and music.

She declines to name names, as discretion is part of her charm and the reason she was hired on particular projects and events. "Let's just say I have worked with some serious celebrities," she said. "I was very happy in Paris, travelling for my job and living my life. When my father asked me to help him, I couldn't say no, because family comes first, and I hope I can make him proud. I'm glad I didn't refuse as this has been a great experience thus far and although I've had some challenges along the way, I have a great staff and I couldn't imagine anything more rewarding."