29 April 2018

“We have eight J2 690L and three AURES NINO terminals on the island, two in the Mermaid Tavern and one in the White House hotel. The design and size of the NINOs make them very versatile units and give us added flexibility within our business. 
All of our EPOS units have enabled us to run a totally integrated POS network that is fully integrated into our back-office system.”

Andrew Bailey, Finance Director

They call it ‘Paradise Island’, an idyllic retreat barely a square mile in size. And for the 80,000 tourists who flock there every year, part of the beauty of Herm Island is its handy location. No long-haul flights to the tropics are needed to reach this heavenly spot – it’s just a short hop across the English Channel in the Channel Islands.

Herm is situated off the coast of Saint Peter Port, Guernsey. The entire island is a privately-operated holiday resort, leased from the States of Guernsey and administered by Herm Island Ltd.

It has a permanent population of just 65, which swells by 100 or so during the holiday season from April to October as temporary workers make the island their summer home. Herm Island Ltd is responsible for everything on the island, from managing the tourist operations to looking after the infrastructure and the local population.

Andrew Bailey, Herm Island Ltd’s Finance Director, explained: “The company is the only operator allowed on the island and is responsible for absolutely everything that the island does. We have a 40-bed hotel with restaurants along with 20 holiday cottages, gift shops, campsite and beach cafes. We also operate a very busy tavern which offers both restaurant and courtyard/bar dining, a snack bar and grocery shop. The tavern also offers takeaway snacks and meals. 

“We are responsible for installing and maintaining all of the island’s infrastructure including power, water, sewage and refuse. We run a motor fleet consisting of tractors, quad bikes, mowers and diggers. We also operate a cargo boat in order to ship across all of our food, drink and other materials. We manage and maintain all of the island buildings and are responsible for the full environmental management of the entire island. There is a small school on the island and a small church.”

A modern EPOS infrastructure

Herm is completely reliant on tourism for generating income, and like all modern hospitality operations, EPOS and service management systems play an important role. In spite of its remote location, Herm does its best to adopt new EPOS technology, largely through its longstanding partnership with Guernsey-based hospitality and retail solutions specialist CheckOut CI.

“We have been using CheckOut for the last 23 years,” said Andrew. “I think they started selling us tills and photocopiers and offering maintenance and programming services. They always offered a reliable and quality service and soon came to dominate the local market as their competitors just couldn’t match them, particularly in their after-sales service. 

“As the POS market grew and more sophisticated products became available, CheckOut expanded its services offering more complex and integrated systems. The main problem we have is our location and the three-mile stretch of water between us and Guernsey. Fortunately, the advance of technology means many tasks can now be handled by a remote connection, so in many ways we can receive the same service as customers in Guernsey. 

“We have a reasonably sophisticated IT network on the island which connects all businesses and properties through a combination of fibre optic and Cat5 cabling, Wi-Fi and 4G. This allows us to run a fully integrated till system consisting of cabled POS units, handheld Wi-Fi PDAs and 4G-based tills all connected to integrated PDQ terminals. In total we have 13 POS terminals and three handheld POS units linked to seven PDQ terminals.

“We also have a cloud-based back office system through which we manage our two outlets.  The till system is also fully integrated into our cloud-based hotel PMS. This enables us to post transactions directly to a guest room account, reducing paperwork and processing time.”

Mike Le Conte, chairman of CheckOut, believes that keeping up with the latest technology plays an important role in delivering the levels of service that keep visitors returning to Herm. “Herm has its own unique and relaxed way of doing things which is all part of the customer experience,” he said. “Customers can not just pop in – any visit must be a planned visit by ferry or private boat and given the effort made, the customers’ expectations are high. 

“Herm is therefore focussed on making the customers have a memorable experience in a unique setting. Relaxed and away from the demands of a busy life.  Herm’s measure of success is the huge number of returning customers each year. Our systems need to run smoothly in the background supporting this experience.”

Reliable hardware

Mike says that alongside remote software support, the reliability of hardware plays a critical role in meeting Herm’s needs. Equipment failure means a boat trip over from Guernsey to bring a replacement or for an engineer to make a repair, which inevitably leads to delays.

CheckOut has supplied Herm with J2 and AURES till for the past decade, going back to before the take-over of J2 by AURES. “CheckOut originally provided J2 equipment to Herm some 10 years ago,” said Mike.

“We were also attracted to sell AURES units due to their modern and advanced design,” said Mike. “On Herm we have sold mainly J2 690L terminals and some AURES NINO. The J2 690L was chosen for its robustness and high performance. The NINO was chosen for its compact size and for being easy to move to another location if required.”

The NINO is the smallest all-in-one EPOS terminal in the AURES range. Without compromising on processing power, its compact design and 14” touchscreen make it ideal for cafes or kiosks where counter space is limited, while it is lightweight enough to move around easily for use at events and pop-up stalls.

“We have eight J2 690L and three NINO terminals on the island, two in the Mermaid Tavern and one in the White House hotel,” said Andrew. “The hotel NINO is used mainly for marquee functions and connects to our network via a 4G link. The other two units are mainly used as cabled POS terminals. However, they are both Wi-Fi enabled which gives us the flexibility to move them around to use in different areas to meet our business needs. They are still connected to a till drawer, receipt printer and an integrated PDQ terminal. 

“The design and size of the NINOs make them very versatile units and give us added flexibility within our business. With CheckOut’s support to adjust the programming when necessary, all of our EPOS units have enabled us to run a totally integrated POS network that is fully integrated into our back-office system.We have had to develop and expand our IT network to enable us to take advantage of this functionality, however it has been well worth the effort.” 

About Herm Island

Operated by Herm Island Ltd, Herm Island is a privately-run holiday resort located three miles off the coast of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Open to the public all year round, the main season runs from April to October. Facilities include the 40-bed Whitehouse Hotel, the Mermaid Tavern pub, restaurant and snack bar, 20 holiday cottages and a campsite, beach cafes, a grocery store and gift shop.

Tourism provides the island’s only source of income. Despite only being accessible by boat, Herm attracts around 80,000 visitors every year, many of whom are regulars drawn back by the idyllic scenery and first-class service. For more information, visit www.herm.com.

About CheckOut CI

CheckOut CI is the leading provider of electronic point of sale solutions in the Channel Islands. With offices in Jersey and Guernsey, it supplies a range of innovative and technologically advanced hardware and software solutions for the retail, hospitality and distribution industries, backed up by unrivalled local support services.

The company delivers bespoke installations for companies of all sizes, covering fashion retail, jewellery shops, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafes and more. It is the exclusive Channel Islands distributor of some of the biggest EPOS software and hardware brands, including AURES. To find out more, please visit the company website.