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High-tech hospitality: Mohegan Sun casino, racetrack and resort deploys AirWatch-managed mobile devices

  • Lanier Norville By

Everyone at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs relies on mobile devices, from members of the housekeeping, facilities and guest services teams to the guests themselves. Guests now associate the high-end casino, racetrack and resort with the modern conveniences that in-room mobile technology offers. And the IT team relies on AirWatch Mobile Device Management to keep it humming along smoothly.

Since Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs opened its doors in November 2013, the resort has been a mobile-enabled facility. Each of the 238 guest rooms includes an iPad, and team members wanted their day-to-day technology to match. Danny Lynn, IT Manager for the facility, listened to employees’ requests and quickly found a solution to migrate corporate devices from BlackBerry to iOS. (Read more about BlackBerry Migration Planning in our white paper.)

“We needed to ­find an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution to secure our mobile devices on a new platform and scale with our growing organization,” Lynn says, so he turned to AirWatch to ensure a seamless migration with no gaps in device management. Lynn now uses AirWatch Mobile Device Management to centrally manage the entire resort’s fleet of corporate, employee-owned and guest-facing devices.

Guest services associates and managers rely on their iPhones and iPads to check email from anywhere in the resort, collaborate on the go and establish VPN sessions to access corporate apps, such as Microsoft Office, file shares and a purchasing app, in which employees can request approval for a purchase the moment they see something that needs to be upgraded or replaced.

The housekeeping and facilities teams use iPod touches to access HotSOS, an app that manages work orders and productivity. Housekeeping supervisors manage workflows through HotSOS, and facilities and housekeeping attendants keep track of assigned and completed tasks through the app on resort-owned iPod Touch devices.

“The goal was to improve efficiencies and cut costs,” says Mohegan Sun IT Manager Danny Lynn. The largest expense of most hospitality operations is labor. At Mohegan Sun, daily housekeeping tasks can be completed more quickly with mobile work management and logging. As soon as a guest room is ready for check-in, for example, the front desk can be notified.

When guests arrive in their rooms, they’ll find an iPad equipped with an app for concierge requests, a full room service menu and in-room controls. “If a guest needs an extra pillow, they can actually go on the iPad and submit an order and the housekeeping team member on duty can get the order on their iPod Touch.” Guests can still pick up the phone and call in requests, but many now choose the mobile option, Lynn says. Mohegan Sun also equips the in-room iPads with a full room service menu. Guests can scroll through the entire menu, which can be updated across devices over-the-air whenever the kitchen wants to change or add to the menu. Lynn is looking into adding an online ordering feature by integrating with the hotel’s existing point of sale (POS) system, but “to try to include all of the questions that a waitress would normally ask you is tough to do on an iPad.”

Lynn says some stakeholders were initially concerned that the in-room devices would diminish guest presence in the casino or at the racetrack. But guests can also take the iPads with them throughout the resort. “You have this really cool technology and you want people to use it but at the same time you don’t want people in the rooms. It’s the same with TV. You’d love to give 100 channels, but you want them to spend time in the casino. So it’s a trade-off. The approach we’ve taken is a middle ground,” Lynn says. A custom Mohegan Sun app gives guests on-the-go access to restaurant information, upcoming events on site, current promotions and more.

Hotel managers were also concerned about guest devices being lost or stolen – and for good reason. Early in the hotel’s operation, a housekeeper found that one of the guest room iPads and the iHome it was docked on were gone. “We know these are going to get stolen,” Lynn says. But his IT team uses location services to track the GPS location of all devices in AirWatch. From the AirWatch console, administrators can see the real-time location of all the hotel’s devices. “We could see that the stolen iPad was still on the property,” Lynn says. “We called our security team, and they were able to retrieve the device.”

While mobile devices give Mohegan Sun the modern edge guests want and the productivity features staff members need, AirWatch gives IT and management peace of mind that all their mobile assets are being used as they were intended.

For more information about Mohegan Sun’s AirWatch deployment, read the case study.

Lanier Norville

Lanier Norville

Lanier Norville has been writing and editing for online publications for six years. Before joining AirWatch, she was the editor of three medical technology magazines including the award-winning publication TechNation.

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