It’s rare for a brand to gain critical mass globally and still maintain its authentic spirit, but Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas has succeeded in delivering experiences of a lifetime.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is famous for its music scene (Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Incubus and Nine Inch Nails have all performed there), state-of-the art gaming tables, the hottest slots, lavish accommodations, gourmet restaurants and floor-to-ceiling rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.
Las Vegas is a popular place. More than 42 million people visited the city in 2015 and spent $6.3 billion in gaming according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, many of them staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
What drives success at the world-renowned resort? It begins with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas’ mission: Create authentic experiences that rock.
“Our number one priority is delivering exceptional guest experiences, and we cannot begin to contemplate having critical services offline, such as our bars or the casino floor,” said Kevin Ragsdale, Director of IT for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. “Whether guests are listening to live music, playing slots, eating in our restaurants, attending conventions, relaxing by the pool or shopping in our boutiques, we make sure their experiences are stellar.”
To deliver that level of service, the IT systems supporting guest experiences must be available 24.7.365, such as keycard access to hotel rooms, automated minibars, casino e-cards and hundreds of point of sale (POS) systems throughout the resort.
“Let me paint you a simple picture of how critical IT is to our operations,” Ragsdale said. “We are moving to a virtualized mini-bar system, so when guests consume products from their mini-bars, the IT system automatically takes an inventory and bills our guests for what they consume. If the system goes down, we’re not able to bill customers, and that can cost us a huge amount of money, so availability in that respect is a big issue for us.”
When the IT systems supporting guest experiences were threatened by agonizingly slow recovery, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino wasted no time fixing the problem. With a busy convention season approaching (January, February and March), just one hour of downtime could destroy guest experiences, diminish their loyalty, and damage Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s reputation.
Veeam® Availability Suite™ helps the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas provide exceptional guest experiences, maintain guest loyalty, preserve brand value and protect revenue.
“Veeam helps us deliver on our mission to create authentic experiences that rock,” Ragsdale said. “Even during our busiest months, when we host several conventions and hundreds of thousands of people, Veeam gives us complete confidence that our IT systems are able to support guest experiences 24.7.365.”
No matter how busy the resort gets and regardless of how large the resort’s virtual infrastructure grows, Veeam is fully capable of scaling efficiently and effectively.
“Enterprise scalability is what we like best about Veeam,” Ragsdale said. “Legacy backup had limited scalability. With our old solution, we could only back up our IT systems once a day, and recovery could take hours, which was a big headache. How do you tell casino guests to wait a few hours while you restore Microsoft SQL Server? How do you explain to the casino floor teams that we have to shut down the tables? We simply cannot. Veeam meets our enterprise needs by providing enterprise scalability. We back up more often and restore systems in minutes so guests can move on to their next stellar experience.”
Guest experience is highly correlated with loyalty and brand value, and loyalty in the hospitality sector can’t be underestimated. Research by the Harvard Business Review demonstrates that customers who’ve had the best experiences spend 140 percent more compared to those who’ve had poor experiences. While guests are rocking out and playing hard, Veeam is saving the resort $150,000 each year.
“Legacy backup was too expensive,” Ragsdale said. “We paid $100,000 in annual licensing renewal plus $50,000 in specialized hardware. “Saving $150,000 every year gives us the opportunity to consider additional technology initiatives that will help ensure optimal guest experiences.”
Ragsdale said his next project is mastering Veeam Availability Orchestrator.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas has disaster recovery (DR) plans in place, but for more enterprises, testing, executing and documenting these plans is complex and cumbersome. This can lead to untested and outdated DR plans, putting compliance — and Availability — at risk.
“We’ll use the Veeam Availability Orchestrator to validate and substantiate our DR plan,” Ragsdale said. “We’ll also use it to expedite gaming audits.”
Each year, the resort must demonstrate reliable data storage, retention and recovery to meet regulatory requirements in the gaming industry. Ragsdale said Veeam will streamline and shorten the auditing process by several hours.
“Veeam makes our job easier,” Ragsdale said. “Veeam rocks.”