Avaya had no reservations about handing over a SME Achievement award to QDOS Communications in recognition of its sterling work in the hotel sector.
Ipswich-based QDOS Communications has successfully launched Avaya IP Office into mid-market hotel groups, going head-to-head with, and beating, traditional players in this space. Working with TigerTMS (an Avaya Development Partner for hotel middleware) QDOS is plugging a gap in the market, according to Simon Catterick, Managing Director. He stated: "By providing a complete solution from pre-check-in to check-out we are seen more as a total solution provider rather than just a telephone system supplier, installer and maintainer. This differentiates our proposition and enables us to sell our service in areas other than price alone."
QDOS Communications came about when the management team at QDOS Networks acquired the business and assets in August 2010. "Our initial aim is to consolidate our position in the first full year of trading post MBO," added Catterick. "In year two and subsequent years we aim to develop our core vertical market of providing telephony and IT solutions to the domestic hospitality industry. We also aim to consolidate our position as a leading supplier to mid-market core brand and leading boutique hotels."
Key channel partners also include Mitel and NEC for telephony, HP for data, Azlan for distribution, Air Angel for guest Internet, Locatel for IPTV content, Daisy Wholesale and TalkTalk Business for WLR, CPS and NGN. Current clients include Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo (all for Intercontinental Hotels Group - IHG) and Days Inn, Ramada Encore, Ramada Plaza (all for Wyndham Worldwide), and QDOS is developing its proposition to appeal to other leading groups such as Hilton, Rezidor, Marriott and Starwood.
"We have in the past few weeks been contracted to IHG projects such as Intercontinental Westminster, the Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, the Holiday Inn Walsall and the Holiday Inn Express Birmingham South, where again we will be supplying Avaya telephone systems to meet brand standards, in addition to other related technologies," added Catterick. "We aim to grow organically and by targeted acquisition and have identified key recruitment targets to drive organic growth and potential future acquisition targets."
Business in the hotel sector is set to pick up further, Catterick noted, citing some of the key influencing factors that shape QDOS' go-to-market strategy. These drivers for growth include some hotel groups with access to funding that are taking advantage of a depressed market and investing in new build and development opportunities. "Ongoing development of new build hotel programmes in London ahead of London 2012 Olympics is a catalyst for growth," said Catterick. "Furthermore, London hotels are continuing to trade, while other hotel groups are victims of the recession. Management companies have been appointed by banks to manage the asset and many have put aside budgets for refurbishment and technology refreshes."
Hotel technology is developing rapidly and many hotels are looking to deploy leading edge technology to differentiate the guest experience. However, many groups do not employ dedicated IT teams and are fearful of being left behind. As such, QDOS Communications is working more with main building contractors, furniture fittings and equipment companies, owner operators and hotel management companies to provide a total IT solution.
"We provide solutions such as project management, telephone and IT systems, property management systems, point of sale systems, digital signage, television equipment and content, guest Internet and connectivity for media devices and smartphone apps," added Catterick.
After a period of small investment in new build UK hotels, enquiries in the past six months have increased sharply, observed Catterick. "There are many upgrade and replacement opportunities. Guest Internet is increasingly important, enabling hotels to offer tiered Internet access to guests," he commented. "Bandwidth is a big growth area as guests are increasingly using iPhones, iPads etc, accessing and streaming BBC iPlayer, adult content and social networking sites."
Catterick has been in telecom sales for 20 years. He was a founding director of Admiral Voice & Data and moved to Anglia Telecom in 2001 as Director where he built a £6 million network services resale business. This was sold to TTG Europe and subsequently Symphony, Redstone and Daisy. He joined QDOS as Sales Director in April 2005 and became Managing Director in August 2008. He heads up the commercial side of the business, managing the sales team and liaising with customers and suppliers.