Outsourcing a High Speed Internet Access Project: An Information Technology Class Case Study in Three Parts

By Platt, Richard G.; Carper, William B. et al. | Journal of Information Systems Education, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Outsourcing a High Speed Internet Access Project: An Information Technology Class Case Study in Three Parts


Platt, Richard G., Carper, William B., McCool, Michael, Journal of Information Systems Education


OUTSOURCING A HIGH SPEED INTERNET ACCESS AT THE HILTON SANDESTIN BEACH GOLF RESORT & SPA (A)

1. INTRODUCTION

It was a glorious summer day in the summer of 2007. Mike Chouri, the general manager of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, stood on the top floor of the main resort building and surveyed the property. Off to the south, the sugar white beaches reflected the sun almost like the whiteout of a blizzard, leading his vision on out to the shimmering blue green of the Gulf of Mexico. Down below the main hotel building, Mike could see the spot that would soon become the new executive suites wing of the resort and he contemplated the changes and new options it would bring. He could also see the lower rooftops that held the last of the antennae used as wireless repeaters and connection points for the wireless broadband network that had formerly been used by the resort. Standing there, Mike reflected on the problems that had been created during the implementation of the high speed internet access at the resort over the last three years and considered what lessons had been learned and how these lessons could be shared with others in the hospitality industry.

2. OVERVIEW

In early 2004, the Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) required that all of its hotels have High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) available in all guest rooms by June 2004, a very short lead time for a complex project affecting more than 2,300 properties and almost 400,000 individual guest rooms. Other than issuing this mandate, HHC did not provide any guidance to its properties or establish any standards for implementation. Thus, the exact methods and technologies that would be used to accomplish this directive were left up to the individual properties.

One of the HHC properties affected by this strategic corporate decision was the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa located in Destin, Florida, on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the time frame established by HHC, the management of the Hilton Sandestin Beach (HSB), along with the hotel's IT staff, had to make rather quick decisions regarding how to implement HSIA including determining the type of service (wired or wireless) to provide, the hardware and software which would be best suited to its particular physical layout, the needs of its guests, and how to qualify and select which vendors to use.

3. HILTON HOTELS CORPORATION HISTORY

Conrad Nicholson Hilton was born in the New Mexico Territory in 1887 and entered the hotel business by buying the Mobley in Cisco, Texas, in 1919. This hotel catered to oil field workers and, after observing their work habits, Hilton began renting rooms to them for eight hour periods that coincided with the shift schedules of the oil companies. This greatly increased the revenue stream from the hotel and, in 1925, Hilton used these revenues to build the first hotel to carry the Hilton name in Dallas, Texas. By 1943, Hilton had expanded his hotel properties to the point where the brand became the first coast-to-coast hotel chain in the United States and, three years later, the Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) became the first hotel chain to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (University of Houston, 2009; Funding Universe, 2009).

The Hilton Hotels Corporation continued to grow both by the construction of new properties and the acquisition of existing hotels including the Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco, The Plaza and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, and the Palmer House in Chicago. Furthermore, Hilton quickly saw the possibilities of world-wide expansion and believed that he could contribute to world peace in the post World War II years by using his hotels to promote global economic development. As part of this philosophy, Hilton built hotels in such places as San Juan, Madrid, Istanbul, Havana, Berlin, and Cairo; and the Hilton name thus became a world-wide brand (University of Houston, 2009). …

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