The Rise of the Integrated Resort: Creating a High-Tech Hospitality Experience
With advancements in IT infrastructure taking center stage, the hospitality world is currently in a time of innovation. For instance, South Korea’s Paradise City, an integrated resort profiled by Forbes Insights, is championing high-tech hospitality by making technology a major part of the visitor experience.
IT Infrastructure: More Than Hardware and Databases
For Paradise City, strong IT is not just about service quality — it is a part of the enterprise’s corporate strategy. To that end, the integrated resort, which is scheduled to open in 2017, is being designed as a premier global travel, convention and gaming destination that meets the best international IT standards.
This high-tech, Korean-pop-themed resort will focus on customer retention by creating an experience that drives repeat business. According to Forbes, plans include 3-D holograms of popular singers and an interactive hospitality system that allows guests to check in faster, control lighting and interact with theme park amusements via their smart devices. The visionaries behind Paradise City hope to make this happen by leveraging IT to maximize the customer experience both on the front end and the back end.
Hospitality Struggles With IT
Many resorts are struggling with the number of systems needed to run their properties, as well as the growing need to move large quantities of data from one system to another. This need has made the ability to manage complex integrations one of the most in-demand IT skills in the hospitality industry. Ultimately, the goal of this industry is to create comprehensive IT systems that further the customer experience, provide valuable data insights and drive repeat business.
Today’s hotel guests charge everything back to their rooms for convenience and to take advantage of their rewards programs. As such, all systems — maintenance, room services, food and more — must be connected. Supply chain management is huge, but so are the sets of data hotels collect on guests to create more targeted marketing.
Data mining can help properties be more proactive in their marketing and customer service efforts, but it requires continuous data captures. For instance, without a constant data flow, much of the high-tech, high-touch environment that Paradise City has planned would not work. Success will require dramatic realignment of the IT function. To that end, Paradise City plans to shift IT priorities from facilities management and software updates to creating and operating the type of guest experience envisioned for the resort.
In the hospitality industry, downtime equals disaster. This means integrated resorts must ensure world-class security and resiliency. One of the first steps for Paradise city was to consolidate its piecemeal system, which was made up of seven small and midsize data centers operating on different standards and hardware with varying levels of redundancy and resiliency.
IT Outsourcing Aids Integrated Resort
To overcome this challenge, Paradise City chose to work with a third-party partner to bring data into a fully secure data center close to the resort location. As Paradise City’s partner, IBM will also help with the following:
- Handling the move and providing end-to-end infrastructure management services;
- Providing critical backup in case of an outage, with full redundancy and a remote recovery site;
- Providing application services for core applications.
By outsourcing select functions, Paradise City’s IT talent will be able to focus on the core activities of designing and running a customer-focused, high-tech resort. The partnership with IBM has also allowed the company to develop agility in terms of how it creates a better customer experience.
For integrated resorts, IT infrastructure is not just about improving hardware standards or saving money — it’s about process and governance. Working with an IT support services partner allows hospitality companies to build structure with longevity, be responsive to market trends and improve service quality and speed to market.