Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,112 properties in nearly 100 countries and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and ElementSM. The Company boasts one of the industry's leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands.
Starwood Hotels has significantly increased the number of hotels it operates over the past few years through global corporate expansion, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. This has resulted in a dramatic rise in the need for business critical information about Starwood’s hotels and customers. All Starwood hotels globally use a single enterprise data warehouse to retrieve information critical to efficient hotel management, such an that regarding revenue, central reservations, and rate plan reports. In addition, Starwood Hotels’ management runs important daily operating reports from the data warehouse for a wide range of business functions. Starwood’s enterprise data warehouse spans almost all areas within the company, so it is essential not only for central-reservation and consumption information, but also to Starwood’s loyalty program, which relies on all guest information, sales information, corporate sales information, customer service and other data that managers, analysts, and that executives depend on to make operational decisions.
The company is committed to knowing and servicing its guests, yet, “as data growth and demands grew too great for the company’s legacy system, it was falling short in delivering the information hotel managers and administrators required on a daily basis, since central reservation system (CRS) reports could take as long as 18 hours,” said Richard Chung, Starwood Hotels’ director of data integration.
Chung added that hotel managers would receive the transient pace report—which presents market-segmented information on reservations—five hours later than it was needed. Such delays prevented managers from adjusting rates appropriately, which could result in lost revenue. After reviewing several vendor offerings, Starwood Hotels selected Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 HC Full Rack and Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 HP Full Rack, running on Oracle Linux.
“With the implementation of Exadata, Starwood Hotels can complete extract, transform, and load (ETL) operations for operational reports in 4 to 6 hours, as opposed to 18 to 24 hours previously, a six-fold improvement,” Chung said. Real-time feeds, which were not possible before, now allow transactions to be posted immediately to the data warehouse, and users can access the changes in 5 to 10 minutes instead of 24 hours, making the process up to 288-times faster.
Accelerated data access allows all Starwood properties to get the same, up-to-date data needed for their reports, globally. Previously, hotel managers in some areas could not do same-day or next-day analyses. There were some locations that got fresh data and others that got older data. Hotel managers, worldwide, now have up-to-date data for their hotels, increasing efficiency and profitability, improving customer service by making sure rooms are available for premier customers, and improving the company’s ability to manage room occupancy rates. Additional reporting tools, such as those used for CRM and sales and catering also benefited from the improved processing. Other critical reporting has benefited as well.
Marketing campaign management is also more efficient now that managers can analyze results in days or weeks instead of months.
In addition, the company is using Oracle GoldenGate to feed data from central reservations systems, other OLTP applications and external vendors, improving ETL times, sometimes making them as much as 100% faster. Moving forward, Starwood plans to use GoldenGate to help the company achieve near-real-time reporting.
Starwood Hotels chose Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services to deliver Oracle Solution Support Center, which provides a technical account manager and a dedicated team of advanced support engineers that work closely with the Starwood team to provide 24/7, personalized support. Finally, Oracle Advanced Monitoring maximizes availability of the company’s database products by continually monitoring and tuning Starwood’s enterprise data warehouse solution.
“We reviewed a number of vendors, but only one worked best with our architecture. Our data analysis environment requires many complex calculations, with multiple data layers. Oracle Exadata processes the information efficiently, and we have been impressed with the performance improvements. We have used Oracle products for a long time, and choosing Oracle Exadata enables us to preserve existing IT and human capital investments, particularly in our data warehouse infrastructure” said Marcello Iannuzzi, project manager, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
The first phase of the implementation involved moving data from the legacy warehouse to Oracle Exadata and involved migrating 26 terabytes of data—which equates to hundreds of billions of rows and approximately 1,500 tables from the previous environment.