Hotel re-branding leads to IT upgrade

Taking over three hotels in June 2010 may well have been the key for the Pan Pacific Hotels Group to enter the Australian market, but the quick entree ended up turning into a meal for the company’s IT department.

IT environments at the hotels in Parramatta, Darling Harbour and Perth were in need of replacement in order to handle a 24/7 operation and comply with Pan Pacific’s international IT standards.

Local system integrator Applaud was employed to conduct the upgrades, as the hotel chain did not have IT staff on the ground in Australia.

Applaud had to migrate the overall structure of networked users into the Pan Pacific Hotels Group environment at each hotel, which required reconfiguration of client machines, as well as central migration of accounts from one environment to another.

Replacing the IT infrastructure at ParkRoyal Parramatta included installing a new environment, encompassing everything from active directory to enterprise backup offerings.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group vice president of IT, Mark Fancourt, said there were many long nights involved to get the Parramatta and Darling Harbour hotels up to scratch – the Perth hotel IT replacement will commence 5 January.

“We still have a lot of work to do because the environments in these properties were, by our standards, substandard,” he said.

“We took the opportunity to migrate the property management system to our brand, which required a brand new installation along with a database migration program and upgrades to the business application.

"That was a significant part of the overall scope of the project in the Parramatta and Darling Harbour hotels.”

An added problem at the Parramatta hotel was that Applaud was unable to gain access to the systems or carry out any work prior to rebranding.

“We were not sure what type of environment we would find upon takeover,” Fancourt said.

Despite this, the project was completed within four days with the outcome of the projects being a more robust, integrated and better-designed IT environment.

There are plans to acquire more hotels in Australia, and Fancourt said he plans to employ Applaud again on future IT projects.

He also said the Pan Pacific Hotels Group is about to roll out Sharepoint 2010 to its Australian hotels to complement the Windows 7 operating environment.

“Our approach to desktop technology is to deploy the latest operating system and in a year’s time, we will retire it and upgrade,” he said.

The rollout follows a similar project by the Hilton Group which deployed Sharepoint as part of its Innovation Collaborative project.

Singapore-based Pan Pacific Hotels Group operates over 30 hotels in Asia and North America.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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