Iconic nightclub franchise opens 163 room luxury resort on Ibiza
Cisco Meraki provides reliable WiFi to 3,000 daily hotel guests and visitors
Multiple SSIDs support night time concerts and light shows
Fifty-seven miles off the coast of Spain is the island of Ibiza, an epicenter of the electronic music scene drenched in seemingly eternal sunshine. Beginning in June of each year, the island becomes a holiday destination for hedonistic youth and vacationing fashionistas, hosting international DJs every night at nightclubs until the season concludes in October. Pacha Group, a nightclub franchise headquartered in Ibiza, has been an iconic institution of the island for over 40 years.
In 2012, Pacha Group opened the doors to Destino, providing epicurean visitors with an all-encompassing resort experience that typifies all that’s desirable about the Ibiza lifestyle. A new concept in accommodation and entertainment, Destino combines the necessary luxuries of a high end resort– restaurants, pools, and spectacular views– with a uniquely kinetic party atmosphere that engulfs the outdoor space at dusk.
Raul Jimenez, IT Director of Pacha Group, was tasked with the responsibility of providing Destino and its patrons with a WiFi experience as modern as the hotel itself. He needed a solution that could provide WiFi to users in public areas and hotel rooms, but also handle the more sophisticated, bandwidth-heavy applications used for the lighting and music to create an alluring outdoor nightclub every evening. Furthermore, Jimenez needed a solution fast. With only weeks prior to the important inaugural weekend for Ibiza visitors, Pacha needed to achieve a complete deployment and network configuration quickly.
In addition to a capable infrastructure and easy deployment, one of the most important considerations for Jimenez was being able to manage his network remotely. After a recommendation from Nunsys, a technology solutions partner, he decided to test Cisco Meraki Cloud Networking to see if it could provide him with the capabilities he needed, while keeping the time spent monitoring the network to a minimum. With traditional networking infrastructure, a new Pacha location would have meant allocating time and resources to being on-site periodically, which was too much for Jimenez’s team to handle. But Cisco Meraki offered a compelling solution — to manage Destino’s entire network via the web-based dashboard.
“We realized we wouldn’t have to grow our team to grow our network,” Jimenez explained. “As a team of two, that is incredibly impressive.” He decided to standardize on the Meraki solution.
In just one week, Destino deployed a complete Meraki network – 14 switches and 73 access points throughout the hotel, including two outdoor access points in the pool area. With a few clicks in the Meraki dashboard, Jimenez configured multiple SSIDs, segmenting guest access from secure access and offering different levels of connectivity for each user group.
Our opening year enjoyed maximum capacity throughout the summer, and as part of the Pacha brand, we had expectations to create a flawless dreamlike club experience every night with our sound and light shows. Our Meraki infrastructure helped us achieve specialized network configurations with only a few clicks of the mouse.
For example, visitors of the hotel who come to dine at Destino, use the pool, and attend concerts all access an open network using a click-through customized splash page, enabling Pacha to capture email addresses for marketing purposes. Meanwhile, guests of the hotel access a network with higher bandwidth limits than the visitor network. They are provided with a WiFi password from the concierge upon check-in, and at login are prompted for credentials, validated with RADIUS, to permit network access. Going forward, Jimenez plans to make the WiFi experience as interactive and immersive as possible, and plans to implement the Cisco Meraki Facebook authentication feature, allowing customers to connect to the WiFi via Pacha Destino’s Facebook page with their Facebook credentials to raise brand awareness.
In addition, all operational functions of the hotel, from wireless printing to concierge check-in, are conducted on an internal SSID that Destino’s employees connect to with WPA2-PSK authentication. The lighting crew uses a hidden SSID specific for their needs. Meanwhile, swimmers lounge to pulsating music that runs on the Internet connection provided by several outdoor access points nestled high above the ground in three palm trees surrounding the pool.
“Our opening year enjoyed maximum capacity throughout the summer, and as part of the Pacha brand, we had expectations to create a flawless dreamlike club experience every night with our sound and light shows. Our Meraki infrastructure helped us achieve specialized network configurations with only a few clicks of the mouse,” said Jimenez.
Unlike traditional networking architectures, Meraki provides web-based diagnostics to troubleshoot the network when necessary. Formerly, being physically present for packet captures was an often inconvenient necessity. Cisco Meraki eliminated this requirement by giving engineers the ability to take short-burst packet captures on any device in any location served by Cisco Meraki equipment. Combined with the ability to remotely test for cable failures and WAN connectivity, Meraki made it far simpler to support Pacha Destino in the absence of a dedicated IT resource at the resort. Alerts inform Jimenez if a switch goes offline, long before issues can affect customers.
“Almost 3,000 people were visiting our hotel a night and connecting to WiFi, and we never had a single complaint,” Jimenez said. “Needless to say, our customer satisfaction is really high.”