The hospitality industry is playing a crucial role in economic recovery following the pandemic – and agility, cost management and innovation will be key to success in the new environment. The industry – that covers food, beverage and accommodation and is deeply interconnected to travel and tourism – is growing at a compound annual rate of 15% plus, according to some estimates. However, businesses face challenges ranging from recruiting and retaining workers and maintaining measures to protect the health of employees and guests to understanding and mitigating the impacts of climate change and using technology effectively to drive efficiencies and enhance user experiences.
Many businesses are turning to the cloud to address these and other challenges and Alibaba Cloud has enabled some of the world’s most recognized hospitality organizations to grow, transform and acquire new capabilities.
Shenzhen JL-Tour – a provider of hotel and ticketing services for leading online travel agencies (OTAs) for many years – needed to manage petabytes of data updates generated daily by more than 600,000 hotels across 300 cities. These data updates required high concurrency and a short aging cycle, imposing stringent requirements for instantaneous, concurrent processing. Shenzhen JL-Tour required a system that could:
Shenzhen JL-Tour turned to Function Compute from Alibaba Cloud, a serverless computing platform that can ‘listen’ to a variety of data sources, monitor and process changes to business volumes and carry out adaptive scale-out and scale-in within milliseconds, to meet its need for improved processing capacity. Function Compute also supported multiple programming languages, ensuring the business’s customers did not need to adapt their programming habits to its services, as well as supporting rapid deployment and updates, real-time monitoring of resource use, log analysis integration and alert-related capability. With Function Compute, the business was able to ensure stability when allocating resources based on peak loads, enable operations and management team members to work more efficiently and reduce overall usage costs through pay-as-you-go billing.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (Melco) – a developer, owner, and operator of entertainment casino resort facilities and casino gaming in Asia – aimed to enter the China market but experienced several challenges hosting its website in the country. To resolve these issues and fulfil requirements that included dynamic infrastructure support, cost-efficiency, the enablement of exceptional customer service and stable and reliable performance, Melco needed a reliable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider. With a one-stop GoChina solution from Alibaba Cloud, Melco resolved its China web hosting issues and took advantage of a solution that encompassed Internet Content Provider filing consultancy, cybersecurity solutions, Alibaba Cloud managed security services and global network acceleration. This enabled Melco to expand its business footprint in China and take advantage of benefits such as a 200% improvement in network performance, cost savings due to elimination of the need to build infrastructure for web hosting from scratch, and an easy, six-step ICP License filing process.
Alibaba Cloud’s expertise in enterprise architecture and cybersecurity in the China market meant deployment was completed just four weeks after the first meeting with Melco, which leveraged an array of Alibaba Cloud’s products including Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and Server Load Balancer (SLB) to manage web traffic, OSS to manage the data-driven services, Content Delivery Network (CDN) to overcome latency challenges, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to deliver seamless integrated services, and Anti-DDoS to ensure cybersecurity.
In the Middle East, Dubai Parks and Resorts is the region’s largest integrated leisure and theme park destination, featuring more than 100 rides and attractions spread over three parks, a retail and dining destination and a Polynesian themed hotel. To keep up with growth and competition, the organizaton needed a cloud solution that could handle peak loads during holidays, scale vertically, had a global reach, could monitor networks effectively and offered high availability. The business elected to work with Alibaba Cloud and began by redesigning its website architecture. Alibaba Cloud’s auto scaling features helped ensure smooth response to user demand, while the location of an Alibaba Cloud datacenter in Dubai helped minimize latency. SLB helped ensure stability while ApsaraDB for Redis provided memory cacheing and high-speed access to applications hosted in the cloud.
Scalability and performance were also key criteria for PT Dwidaya World, one of the largest travel agents in Indonesia, that operates under the brand Dwidayatour. With demand for its online travel and ticketing services growing quickly, the business needed systems that could respond accordingly. As Prasetya Setiawan, Vice President of IT Dwidayatour explains, "We wanted the freedom to scale to whatever computing capacity we needed to support our services. We were also looking at an alternative cloud service provider that would offer high levels of flexibility and cost-effectiveness without compromising on quality."
Dwidayatour approached Alibaba Cloud based on a recommendation from a third party. "Alibaba Cloud offered an end-to-end service providing everything we need for a cloud-based data center. We also have a lot of faith in the stability of the Alibaba Cloud platform. This was an important criterion because we can't afford to let our customers down. Our services must be constantly available," says Prasetya.
By using Alibaba Cloud, Dwidayatour avoids concerns over the length of procurement cycles, managing a sizeable data center, or the number of IT staff needed to manage its infrastructure. In addition, because Dwidayatour can scale its Alibaba Cloud infrastructure on-demand, the company doesn't have to plan procurement months in advance, which in turn simplifies budgeting processes.
In Malaysia, leading leisure and hospitality operation Genting Malaysia turned to the cloud to execute an IT strategy designed to support growth and deliver an improved customer experience. This required a robust, dynamic infrastructure and the business worked with Alibaba Cloud to migrate to a secure environment that could manage large volumes of data and heavy traffic. Products including ECS for compute, SLB for load balancing, OSS for storage, ApsaraDB RDS to provide a scalable database, Anti-DDoS to protect against attacks and VPC to provide an isolated cloud network met the organization’s IaaS needs, while Alibaba Cloud also assisted with migration and recommendations for best practices.
Genting’s IT strategy also encompassed the efficient operation of an online booking engine that represents the start of the customer journey, and a requirement for a solution to manage reservation requests for an upcoming outdoor theme park, Genting SkyWorlds. Genting Malaysia turned to Alibaba Cloud for a cloud solution that spanned data migration, web hosting and availability in China. Furthermore, the online booking engine had to handle seasonal traffic without experiencing performance problems. Alibaba Cloud developed and deployed a Virtual Queue (VQ) Solution for Genting SkyWorlds that integrated cloud technology with a ride reservation system and helped gamify the theme park experience with incentives for visitors.
Alibaba Cloud's VQ Solution leverages AI and integrates five algorithm modules – Dynamic VQ Slot Prediction, Dynamic Gamification Management, Itinerary Planning, Incentive Recommendation as well as Crowd Analysis and Prediction, to enable more efficient crowd management and to dynamically reduce waiting times.
The solution allows visitors to download the Genting SkyWorlds' VQ Mobile App and purchase tickets online at their convenience. Once the tickets are booked, the VQ Mobile App allows visitors to plan their itinerary or provides a recommended itinerary based on their preferences. By continuously evaluating supply and demand for each attraction, the Alibaba Cloud VQ Solution allows visitors to see available VQ slots and the waiting period for each ride in real-time. Genting SkyWorlds can also generate incentives to help divert patrons away from overcrowded areas to non-ride attractions and facilities, such as eateries and retail malls. Incentives are also provided to visitors who continue to use the VQ Mobile App to reserve VQ slots and follow recommended itineraries.
With Alibaba Cloud, hospitality businesses – as well as those in travel and tourism and related industries – can access resilient, dynamic infrastructure and experienced, innovative teams that can deliver solutions designed to meet their specific requirements, positioning themselves to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the post-pandemic marketplace.
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