Located in Virginia’s breathtaking Shenandoah Valley, the Massanutten Resort is a 6,000 acre family-centric destination. Unique in size, variety of amenities, and outstanding condo and hotel accommodations, Massanutten hosts thousands of guests to its property every year. Offering a robust ski and snowboard area, a water park, two golf courses, a high adventure ropes course, four restaurants, four retail stores, a mountain bike park, and a spa, Massanutten has earned its reputation for being a premier all-seasons resort destination on the East Coast.
Because word of mouth recommendations are so critical to the hospitality industry, Massanutten, like other resorts, pays close attention to online customer reviews. Keeping up with the comments in a timely manner, however, became a challenge that needed to be solved. The method of searching for comments and reviews, collating them into a spreadsheet, and then distributing the information once per week simply wasn’t quick enough to effectively move the needle. As such, the IT team at Massanutten knew they needed a way to evolve their processes by taking advantage of the cloud.
“At Massanutten we have four core values: we take care of our guests, our property, ourselves, and each other. To achieve this in today’s world means we must take care of our data and be good stewards of it,” said Bryan Hoskins, Database Visualization, at Massanutten. “It’s why we knew we needed a transformation, and that a modern approach to data management was necessary.”
A second driver for the company to adopt the Azure platform was an understanding of the economics of utilizing the cloud. According to Hoskins, the company had made significant investments in infrastructure over the years, but knew that it made financial sense to move operations for the cloud.
The team at Massanutten had previously worked with Quisitive, so when the time came to consider a move to Azure, the decision to partner with them again was an easy one.
“We knew we needed a bit of hand holding to get our courage to make the leap to the cloud, and Quisitive was that partner to help us through it. They gave us more than a vision,” said Hoskins. “They filled in the gaps in our vision and proceeded to step with us through the process we needed to complete from point A to point B and then to point C down the road. We came away with a much larger perspective of what’s possible.”
Taking the On-Ramp to Azure Data & Analytics
After meeting with Hoskins and the Massanutten team, Quisitive’s Managing Principal Patrick Gallucci understood the resort’s needs, and recommended using the On-Ramp to Azure Data & Analytics approach to quickly get the team to where they needed to be.
Quisitive’s OnRamp to Azure Data & Analytics approach leverages the company’s deep understanding of what works best when it comes to cloud migration, and provides prescriptive, step-by-step guidance to give organizations the resources they need to migrate and innovate successfully.
For Massanutten, this meant kicking off with a one-day architecture design session, where the Quisitive team met with stakeholders to discuss scenarios in order to engineer and build the right platform. This was followed quickly by three days of building the platform and the next 30 days working on top of the platform alongside the Massanutten IT team.
“Our process is lightning fast, but when we walk away from the engagement the client is left able to check all the right boxes. We can do this because we’ve flipped the traditional model. We built the platform, secured it, managed and operated it, all while educating the Massanutten team on core capabilities within Azure,” said Gallucci.
This approach was extremely beneficial for the Massanutten team, according to Hoskins. “Working with a partner with a prescriptive method that’s so well documented reduces our risk when it comes to being able to administer the infrastructure,” he said. “We took the On-Ramp to Azure, but it was also a big organizational on-ramp to being cloud-capable.”
For Hoskins, the hands-on approach of the On-Ramp to Azure method boosted his team’s confidence and set the project up for success. “Quisitive met me where I was and brought me to a place that was higher and more sophisticated without requiring me to learn all the intermediary steps in between.”
Results Critical for Post-Pandemic Operations
The decision to migrate to an Azure platform was made long before the onset of COVID-19. With the hospitality industry impacted by the global pandemic, having real-time access to customer data will be more important than ever.
“Having asynchronous updating of comments and data points is critical to our resort strategy and has put us on good footing,” said Hoskins. “Our data warehouse on the Azure platform, with infrastructure provided by Quisitive, means that our data is immediately available by power BI to a supervisor, that supervisor’s supervisor, and to the general manager.”
He explained that the resort uses the data to address immediate customer issues, analyze highlights and lowlights, and make directional changes in real time. This access to data in turn benefits the customers, who are heard and receive responses quickly and efficiently.
“As a platform, Azure can be intimidating, but On-Ramp to Azure Data & Analytics made it accessible to us,” Hoskins said. “It also opened our eyes to what can be done and what should be done with it. It’s turning us into a modern workplace.”