- Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 11:45
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The Swag Motel came about when the owner became aware of a shortage of accommodation in the central Queensland town of Middlemount.
The township was originally established for the German Creek mines and now covers other nearby mines as well.
Location is about 3 - 3½ hours drive inland from either Mackay or Rockhampton. The nearest major town is Emerald, about two hours drive away, so the location is relatively remote. The primary focus for Swag Motel was to be on corporate and government clients although leisure clients would also be accommodated. Population of Middlemount is about 2800.
Up until this time, most of the accommodation in Middlemount was focused on the nearby mines specifically and not available to general corporate, government or leisure visitors. Most of this housing also was of a portable nature, so very little was available as motel style accommodation.
A local builder was retained to manage and co-ordinate the project with a planned completion date of late 2008.
The Swag Motel is family owned, and has 48 modern motel style rooms with a full service bar and restaurant. A full range of services are available including high speed Internet. The restaurant and bar are open daily to motel guests and the public for breakfast, coffee and dinner. It is located about 100m from the town centre of Middlemount.
Starfleet Business Solutions provided a fully computerised front office, touch screen point of sale system and PABX interface including hardware, software installation and training on site. The POS system and the link to the PABX were fully integrated with the front office software. In addition, a link to MYOB provided full accounting summaries to be sent to MYOB as required.
This installation was carried out on site by Starfleet staff and before the property was officially opened so that the system would be ready and the staff all trained when the property officially began operations. In addition, there was a need to take some advance bookings also before the property actually opened. This included hardware setup, working with the local contractors to ensure appropriate services like data cabling and power were available in the appropriate locations.
“Starfleet is used to working with different hardware suppliers and contractors to ensure a satisfactory installation that is complete and functional,” said Starfleet’s Robert Garde. “As an example, this particular installation included a computer based VoIP PABX for which the supplier's interface specifications were quite vague. This required quite a bit of testing of custom software on site to get a working interface up and running.
“It's important to emphasise that there is a lot of potential problems with VoIP-based phone systems and potential purchasers need to be aware of these. In this particular case the VoIP phone system did not perform as promised. Problems that the supplier was not able (or did not want) to overcome weren't fixed.
“These included ongoing poor call quality, poor handset speech quality and excessive cost of calls. And in the end support from the supplier was virtually unavailable. This is not to say that a VoIP-based phone system isn't a viable solution – it can be if a number of key parameters are met. Although Starfleet had not quoted or recommended this PABX we responded to the owners request for assistance and made another on-site visit to do further training and also to provide a detailed report on the VoIP PABX system and possible replacements,” Mr Garde added.
“After this, the owner of the property came to the realisation that the system had to be replaced, so the owner commissioned a local PABX supplier to install an LG Aria system. Starfleet worked with the supplier to ensure a satisfactory installation of the PABX.”
Japanese-made MIWA Locks were installed at the Swag Motel by Sydney-based McLaren International P/L. These have a three-year warranty – the longest on market and are constructed with less moving parts than the competing brands.
The products installed at Swag included MIWA - AW2H electronic hotel locks with magnetic swipe access. The lock is a one piece card reader designed for easy maintenance, this includes a dust shutter and the main board being coated with a layer of resin, ensuring a reliable operation for both guests and staff. Guest security is enhanced by MIWA’s anti-pick latch that prevents the lock case from being tampered with while the door is closed. An audit trail of the last 200 valid card entries as well as the last 100 error log is available to track activity associated with the lock.
Also installed was MIWA’s - FDS front desk system – a versatile key control system. This can encode magnetic cards, providing the flexibility to suit the needs of every property and guest, giving multiple guest card types as well as sophisticated master keying instructions. Up to three encoders can be networked together using TCP protocols. For ease of use the FDS has a colour screen display.