Case in point: Gleneagles Guesthouse

A Southend guesthouse built in the Victorian era has taken a leap into the 21st century – with the help of a major digital upgrade.

Overlooking the Thames Estuary and clifftop gardens, Gleneagles Guesthouse dates back to the 1850s and has thrived at the heart of Southend’s tourism sector which is home to the largest pleasure pier in the world.

The traditional Victorian seaside town welcomes over 6 million visitors each year to enjoy the sights. However for Gleneagles Guesthouse, the Victorian era infrastructure at the Grade II property was causing guests headaches rather than excitement.

Gleneagles Guesthouse owners, Garry and Penny Lowen, explain: “We know how much our guests love the traditional setting we offer and we’re always looking at ways to upgrade the building so it’s in top shape and our visitors can enjoy it for years to come.

“More recently WiFi connectivity had become a real issue for us, although people love the traditional feel of the guesthouse, they still expect the best amenities and getting online is an essential part of their experience so they research the local area, entertain themselves and work remotely.

“During peak times in the early evenings, when most people want to get online, we frequently experienced issues with the WiFi cutting out and that was causing us a real headache.”

Aware that connectivity was already an issue and also a major priority for many travellers, with websites including Booking.com now ranking the WiFi capabilities of accommodation, it was vital for the guesthouse to upgrade their digital capabilities.

With their booking system also online and the guesthouse’s corporate meetings and events space taking on more bookings, poor connectivity was also making things difficult.

Having heard about CityFibre’s full-fibre network in Southend, which offers businesses gigabit internet speeds, Garry and Penny decided to take out an ultrafast connection.

Garry continues: “I heard about CityFibre’s Gigabit City infrastructure at a Southend Business Partnership event, it sounded great for our business. We know our guests love the traditional Victorian style of the building however we also know we need to make upgrades in keeping with the times. With more and more guests looking to come online it made sense to take advantage of what was on our doorstep.”

As well as benefitting visitors, ultrafast connectivity has also allowed Gleneagles Guesthouse to upgrade its systems and provide staff with access to information at the touch of a button, which was something they had previously struggled with.

Garry said: “The guesthouse employs up to ten members of staff throughout the year. They rely on connectivity to do their jobs efficiently, particularly with most of our booking system being online.”

CityFibre has been working with internet service provider Onecom to connect businesses to the network across the town. Gleneagles Guesthouse joined the network and since then Garry and Penny have not looked back.

Garry adds: “I was really pleased when I heard we had gigabit capabilities right here in Southend so it was a no brainer to connect. Our connection went live in October 2017 and we’ve started to move more of our systems online now and it’s a great feeling to know my staff will be able to access details and records almost instantly at the touch of a button.

“Since connecting I haven’t had a guest or staff member complain about the internet going down which is music to my ears.”

The guesthouse is the first accommodation provider to connect to the network and benefit from ultrafast connectivity in the area. Garry said: “Ultrafast connectivity really adds value to our service. We’re the only guesthouse in the area connected which helps give us an edge and shows that we’re a progressive business investing in the future.”

For more information about CityFibre and Southend-on-Sea’s Gigabit City network, visit: cityfibre.com/southend.

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