Outrigger Hotels & Resorts is an international chain of hotels and vacation properties. Based in Honolulu, the company’s operations extend from the Hawaiian Islands to Guam, Fiji, Thailand, Bali and Queensland.
In Australia, Outrigger once owned a sizable portfolio of hotel properties, but sold these holdings to take full advantage of excellent market conditions. Recently, however, Outrigger has again entered the local market, making a series of strategic acquisitions and re-establishing the Outrigger brand.
“With new properties in Noosa, Airlie Beach and the Gold Coast, we are embarking on an exciting expansion plan – it’s a real growth stage,” says Grant James, Outrigger’s Regional General Manager.
To support this growth strategy, Outrigger wanted a centralised IT infrastructure that would lower operational overheads while delivering rapid roll-out capabilities to new locations anywhere in Australia. “Re-entering the market, we had an almost blank slate,” says James. “We knew we wanted to do things differently, and that meant a single system to track guests, reservations, finances and operations across each of our hotels.”
Outrigger approached Brennan IT for advice. “Brennan IT have delivered our IT needs for almost a decade,” James explains, “and we were eager to investigate how cloud computing could help us expand.”
Having examined Outrigger’s requirements, Brennan IT recommended that the company deploy a three-pronged solution: using a combination of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Private IP WAN and Managed IT Services to create a flexible cloud platform.
Now available at each of Outrigger’s hotels and its head office, Outrigger’s cloud infrastructure is delivering 100 per cent of the company’s IT services.
In addition to shared email, file and data solutions, the infrastructure also plays host to Outrigger’s Property Management System (PMS). This allows Outrigger to deliver uniform reservation, front office, point-of-sale, housekeeping, accounts and check-in functionality across its operations.
Microsoft Terminal Services delivers client services where and as needed, while strict Service Level Agreements (SLAs) guarantee Outrigger the highest levels of up-time and connectivity, with redundant wireless links in place to ensure network availability. A Managed IT Services agreement offers 24/7 support and monitoring.
Grant James says that hotel operators can sometimes be late adopters of new technology, but through a forward-thinking approach Outrigger has been able to leverage the potential of the cloud in their business.
Many of the benefits of the solution, he says, stem from the power of centralisation. “In the past, our hotels have operated more or less independently, with separate infrastructures in each location,” he says. “Now, each Outrigger property is part of the same system. That has unified our financial services, allowed us to implement business-wide changes with minimal fuss, and provided real-time reservation and other data tracking across the group.”
James says that Outrigger’s customer service has also improved. “Our guests now register once to be recognised wherever they stay across the group. For us, that’s an important way to strengthen guest relationships.”
James also points to the cloud’s rapid deployment capabilities, saying that – where adding a new hotel to the chain once meant investing in, configuring and deploying database and PMS servers before the first guest had booked – Outrigger can now ‘bolt on’ a new property with relative ease.
“Physically, we only require network connectivity and terminal clients to be placed on site,” he says. “As a result, the cloud has actually altered the cost equation when it comes to acquisitions. It’s an important advantage as we continue to grow.”
Asked about Outrigger’s relationship with Brennan IT, James says that the relationship has lasted so long for good reason. “We’ve built an outstanding rapport with Brennan IT. They are proactive and reliable, and because they manage everything for us we rarely have issues.
We also trust their strategic advice. The fact that they’ve gained experience serving others in the industry means they bring an informed perspective.” James adds that he would “absolutely” recommend Brennan IT to anyone seeking a cloud based infrastructure. “I know that some organisations can be nervous about outsourcing their systems, despite the fact that they want the benefits of the cloud. But with Brennan IT, we haven’t looked back,” he says.
To find out more about Outrigger Hotels & Resorts click here.