Predator Ridge tackles IT challenges, labor shortage with OPERA Cloud
Sharing information with owners might not rank as OPERA Cloud's top benefit for hoteliers, but it's certainly key to making them happy.
And that's not even mentioning the work it eliminates for operators like us.
It played a major factor in our selection of OPERA as the cloud-based property management system for Predator Ridge, a resort community in Vernon, British Columbia, where one of the most-important customers is the homeowners whose units we rent. They're the stakeholders who've helped transform Predator Ridge from a premier golf destination - which hosted the Skins Game featuring PGA Tour stars such as Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples - into an expansive, active living community, offering everything from a racquet club to yoga platforms to a skating rink. Nestled in the mountains of the Okanagan Valley, Predator Ridge and its portfolio of cottages, vacation rental homes, and a lodge serve a population that's made wellness a priority in their lives.
Currently, homeowners don't have access to information about their own units; they're completely dependent on a quarterly statement that they receive from us. Which explains why they're constantly calling or emailing to find out if their unit is rented, how it's performing, etc. You can't imagine the amount of emails and phone calls we get. We get to know our owners well, but we don't need to know them that well. (Just kidding.)
With our move to OPERA Cloud, however, we'll work with an authorized third party who will allow secure access into the PMS through an owner's portal. That means homeowners will be able to get the information they need whenever and wherever they want it. Considering that we're planning to double our homeowner base in about four years, the impact of this OPERA Cloud capability will be profound.
Inherent advantages of cloud PMS
But better information management only begins to tell the story behind our decision to select OPERA Cloud. Like countless hoteliers who are realizing cloud technology's superiority every day, we did our own analysis of cloud-based versus on-premises solutions - and the advantages of cloud were too evident to ignore, such as enhanced security, easier compliance, and greater cost savings.
Just as importantly, we expect OPERA Cloud will play a central role in helping us address consumer behavior changes and new marketplace dynamics, especially in a post-pandemic environment. We believe it'll be essential, for example, in creating contactless opportunities for guests and dealing with a labor shortage that only seems to be getting worse.
A vital tool for managing the labor crisis
Increase workplace flexibility. Reduce workload. Improve efficiency. The way people work is changing dramatically, and we need to give our staff opportunities to work smarter and better. It's vital not only to maintain exceptional service but to recruit and retain employees during this difficult labor situation.
OPERA Cloud will allow staff to work remotely in a way on-premises PMS never could. That means we can have people sitting in Ottawa or Edmonton and taking reservations for us; it would be like having our own call center anywhere. That's a tremendous advantage in terms of widening the net to improve recruiting. And because of the effective way OPERA Cloud will interface with our work resources, we all can be mobile and operate with greater flexibility without hindering productivity.
Integration as the pathway to innovation
We're also looking forward to capitalizing on OPERA Cloud's integration capabilities. Speed to market is what we're pursuing, especially with contactless offerings that'll provide guests with self-service options. For example, we'll add key-card kiosks, letting guests pick up their keys and go directly to their rooms. It's just another way OPERA Cloud will help with staffing because it'll require fewer people on the front desk, which is one of the areas where we're hardest hit.
From an IT perspective, however, what's appealing isn't just the fact that Oracle Hospitality has made integration execution simpler and faster, especially with innovations such as Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP). When you look at integrations overall, Oracle is the gold standard. Its partners list is deep, and the selection process is rigorous. We know partners need to meet minimum certification standards to be considered an authorized partner, and that's reassuring for us because there's an understanding that integrity of service and security are top of mind.
Cost savings, security, and offloading IT headaches
And the latter, of course, is something we think about all the time. In the last couple of years, we've seen a huge spike in security incidents in our industry - hacking, ransomware, websites getting defaced. They all erode consumer confidence and cause long-lasting reputational damage. The big question for any decently run IT department is, who would want to do business with an organization that underinvests in security or underestimates the importance secure customer data? We would challenge anyone who is trying to make on-premises systems match the security levels that premier cloud-service providers can offer. We can pretty much guarantee that it can't be done without a considerable budget and a significant commitment to data security.
In many aspects, candidly, the ability to offload IT responsibilities to a reliable partner was a driving motivator in our decision to embrace cloud. Oracle Hospitality is simply a better option in terms of support, management, and real-time, active monitoring. At Predator Ridge, we're a 24/7 operation, but the IT department, like most organizations in our industry, has limited resources. If any organization has ventured into trying to achieve PCI compliance, they know how difficult and strenuous that activity is. Oracle has already achieved it on its end. We would rather direct our energy and resources elsewhere, where we can make the biggest difference. Importantly, we also don't want to worry about continuous software updates, Java implementations, and all those pesky, but much-needed security patches. With OPERA cloud, testing and validation of all updates and patches are handled through proper service management best practices, like change management and release and deployment management.
And when we did our cost analysis, we discovered it would be more expensive for us to upgrade to OPERA on-premises than it would be to move to cloud. We would have needed to buy new infrastructure, and the hardware play alone would have cost more than $100,000 - that's not including the cost of consulting, cost of licenses, and support contracts. If we can have cost savings - and less headaches - then we're going to go with that option every time.
We know that there will be growing pains with the transition from on-premises to cloud, but that's why you need to work with partners you can trust. With Oracle Hospitality, we know we have one who will help us iron out the details and make things work.
About Oracle Hospitality
Oracle Hospitality brings more than 40 years of experience in providing technology solutions to independent hoteliers, global and regional chains, gaming, and cruise lines. Our hardware, software, and services enable customers to act on rich data insights that deliver personalized guest experiences, maximize profitability and encourage loyalty. Cloud-based, mobile-enabled, with open APIs, Oracle's OPERA Cloud property management and distribution, Simphony point-of-sale, reporting and analytics, and Nor1 upsell solutions accelerate innovation, increase revenue, lower IT cost, and maximize operating efficiency. Our Hospitality Resource Center features an array of information to navigate challenges and seize opportunities in an altered marketplace.
Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at oracle.com.
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