Hersha hotels add Comcast fiber

Jay Shah of Hersha Hospitality Trust. (Akira Suwa / Staff Photographer)

Jay Shah, boss at Hersha Hospitality Trust, says his hotel-management arm has made a deal with Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Business unit to boost Internet and TV connections across the 115 hotels it runs. The company's Hersha Hospitality Management arm mostly manages East Coast hotels -- the company's own as well as others branded for Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Hampton, Sheraton and Holiday Inn -- but is expanding nationally.

Comcast Business, which has challenged Verizon and other phone companies in an attempt to boost commercial sales as residential cable use flattens, replaced previous systems (including Comcast's own legacy services, at many of the hotels) by packaging "greater speed, continuity and bandwidth," Shah told me. 

Hersha has installed Comcast fiber internet in many of its hotels over the past 18 months, Ketan Patel, hotel technology manager for Hersha, told me. "The only metric we have to gauge the service is by increase in guest satisfaction scores," he added. Hersha says those scores are up, and that more customers are now able to find the same channels at Hersha hotels that they also watch at home, which Patel says helps land repeat customers. 

Comcast says it's been able to "increase its bandwidth from multiple T1 lines to a 100 megabits-per-second Comcast Ethernet connection" at Philadelphia's Rittenhouse hotel, with similar services at Graham Georgetown in Washington and Boxer in Boston, according to Kevin Conmy, vice president at Comcast Business, in a statement announcing the arrangement. 

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