Big Data

Constance Hotels, Resorts and Golf connects islands of data using IBM Cloud

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Constance Hotels IBM CloudAs the poet John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island.” To understand an individual, you must understand them in the wider context of their relationships.

The same is true of data. What you can learn from a single source of data in isolation is limited. When you combine that data with other data sources, you can unlock much more interesting and useful insights.

That’s why Constance Hotels, Resorts and Golf wanted to analyze operations not only at the level of each individual hotel, but also at the group level. The issue was that the data was siloed within separate property management systems at each resort.

When most companies talk about islands of data, they mean that their finance system isn’t connected to their HR system, but at least both systems live in the same data center. Our problem was harder: our data is literally on different islands, because our resorts are scattered across the Indian Ocean.

Trouble in paradise

Island life may be idyllic for vacationing families, but it poses some tough challenges for businesses. We wanted to build a centralized data warehouse for group-wide analytics, but a lack of communications infrastructure made island-to-island connectivity unreliable.

Moving large amounts of data between Mauritius, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Madagascar and Pemba, Zanzibar would have been too expensive, and response times for users would have been too slow.

Hybrid cloud as a hub for analytics

The answer lay in the IBM Cloud. Designing a hybrid architecture enables a “hub and spoke” approach, where all the individual island systems send their data to a central data warehouse in the cloud. By running data from the data warehouse through analytics tools such as IBM Watson Analytics and IBM Cognos Analytics, managers at each resort can gain new insight into the data and make smarter operational decisions.

The hybrid cloud approach avoids the use of point-to-point connections between islands and makes both data loading and analytics much faster and more responsive.

Finding the right questions

Constance Hotels, Resorts & Golf has already deployed the IBM Cloud solution at both of its resorts in Mauritius, and the plan is to bring the rest of the group online over the coming months.

Although there is a long way to go, the early results of group-level analysis have been promising.

For example, recently, the company’s management team was looking at some data about types of accommodation at the different resorts. Watson Analytics suggested that opening a family villa at one of our hotels in the Seychelles would increase revenues at that resort.

The exciting part was that none of the team had specifically asked that question. Watson Analytics automatically looked at the data, noticed a pattern, made the inference and highlighted it as a possible topic for further investigation. That really opened people’s eyes about what Watson Analytics could do.

Seeking success, whatever the weather

Completing the global rollout is Constance Hotels, Resorts & Golf’s top priority, but the company is also excited about the future of the hybrid cloud analytics solution.

For example, there is significant potential to integrate weather data from The Weather Company into analytics at the resort level. Since many resort activities are very sensitive to weather, and island weather can quickly change, the ability to predict weather patterns and forecast guest volumes and staffing levels could be very valuable.

Once the rollout is done, the plan is to establish a center of excellence for analytics in Mauritius, where we can explore these ideas, foster innovation and ensure that Constance Hotels, Resorts & Golf stays ahead of the competition.

Read the case study for more details.

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