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Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group moves to the cloud

Posted by Jeremy Ward, Senior Vice President for IT, Kempinski Hotels

Editors note: Today we welcome guest blogger Jeremy Ward, Senior President for IT at Kempinski Hotels. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Kempinksi Hotels, we believe we are personally responsible for creating rich and meaningful experiences for each of our guests. As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, it’s important to us that we provide perfection for our guests, whether that’s planning their wedding or just making sure they’re comfortable in a city they’re visiting for the first time.

As we began planning our five year strategy in 2010, we recognized the need to free operational resources from IT and find ways to work together across 70 hotels in 30 countries to continue providing best-in-class guest experiences. We found that moving to the cloud would allow us to reduce the overall cost of ownership and IT administration at each individual hotel so they could focus on driving efficiencies out of applications instead of just maintaining them. Quickly moving all of our properties to the cloud became a key part of our broader business strategy.

After considering cloud email platforms from Microsoft and Lotus, we found Google Apps to be the most mature solution and would allow us to collaborate easily across hotels and offices around the world. With the help of Google Apps Reseller, Cloud Technology Solutions (CTS), we transferred existing messages, appointments and contacts from GroupWise to Google Apps using their CloudMigrator multi-platform migration suite.

Now that we’ve fully migrated our 5,000 employees, we feel like we have an email platform that allows us to easily scale our business across each location, adding and removing users in a matter of minutes. We’re excited about being on a platform that continues to innovate and release features like instant translation in Gmail, Google+ Hangouts in Gmail, and document storage and collaboration using Google Drive. Moving to Google Apps was key to reducing the overall cost of ownership and cost of administration to the hotels, but we believe that the true benefits will come from the creative ways our employees use these tools to work together and provide an even better experience for our guests in the coming years.