MEININGER Hotels is an international hotel operator headquartered in Berlin, Germany. Key to the company’s success is its innovative concept of combining hotel and hostel services in a single offering for the urban traveler. The hybrid hotel company has 29 properties at top tourist destinations across Europe, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, London, Milan, Paris, and Vienna. With a focus on group travel where value for money is crucial, the company employs 700 people and manages 16,700 beds.
MEININGER aims to be the leading hybrid hotel company in Europe. The group has grown its presence significantly in recent years and has ambitious plans for further expansion across the continent. While expansion was good news for the business, it also presented challenges.
Increased demand on MEININGER’s business systems had begun to impact the customer experience as well as crucial internal processes. Many guests faced a time-consuming check-in process while staff waited for back-end systems to load. Customers calling the contact center often experienced similar delays, and the company’s financial analysts, controllers, and other business specialists raced against the clock to produce key reports on time.
As we grew, we saw that essential business processes were getting slower and slower. To ensure we could offer an outstanding experience to every customer, we aimed to bring our business systems up to speed with our prospering business. To achieve our goals, we looked for a new infrastructure platform with the performance to slash wait times for our customers, the scalability to support future business growth, and the efficiency to keep our IT spend under tight control. —Rick Medford, Head of IT, MEININGER Hotels
Exceeding Business Requirements
After evaluating several different vendors and architectures, MEININGER engaged Lenovo partner DaPhi to deploy a hyperconverged infrastructure solution based on Lenovo ThinkAgileVX7520 appliances, featuring 2nd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, with Lenovo XClarity Pro management software.
Andreas Vogt, Senior Project Manager at MEININGER Hotels, notes: “We set up multiple test environments to try out different vendor solutions. Only the Lenovo try-and-buy offering enabled us to get a realistic picture of potential performance gains before we made our decision. To prepare for the evaluation, partner DaPhi had analyzed the resource demand patterns and sized the solution to meet the very specific requirements. The solution design defined the optimal processor and storage configurations to perfectly meet the demand characteristics. The in-depth performance testing process also enabled us to find the optimal configuration before we started the deployment project, which minimized our risk and the migration workload.”
The Lenovo ThinkAgile appliances integrate VMware vSAN, providing the server performance and storage capacity to run the company’s VMware vSphere environment on software-defined infrastructure. On top of the virtualization layer, MEININGER deployed its SIHOT.Suite hotel management software and Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP system. To enable flexible working for employees, the company leverages the Citrix Workspace portfolio, including Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.
Implementation partner DaPhi and Lenovo worked together closely to size the new environment, enabling MEININGER to host two application landscapes with different performance requirements on a single platform. As part of its Channel First strategy, Lenovo augmented the DaPhi team with additional consulting resources to help accelerate the sizing, design, and test and implementation process. “We were impressed by the perfectly balanced configuration facilitated by our partner DaPhi,” notes Medford. “One of our applications required high peak single-core performance. Thanks to the power 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, the Lenovo ThinkAgile VX platform meets this requirement cost-effectively.”
DaPhi and Lenovo delivered on all their promises and provided us with a solution that’s cost-efficient and meets our business needs. The expertise of both companies really shone through, and we are delighted with the result.” —Rick Medford, Head of IT, MEININGER Hotels
By deploying a Lenovo solution, MEININGER has solved its IT infrastructure and performance challenges while gaining a flexible, future-proof platform. The company has boosted the performance of its hotel management systems by a factor of two,1 empowering employees to deliver fast and frictionless customer experiences.
“From check-in desk to the contact center, we can now offer every customer a responsive, high-quality service,” comments Medford. “In our industry, reputation and customer reviews can make or break your business. Thanks to our Lenovo platform, we’re equipping our employees with the tools they need to make every stay special.”
Since moving its ERP systems to Lenovo ThinkAgileVX7520 appliances, the company is also accelerating key business processes for internal teams. “Our ERP applications are also running twice as fast,” says Medford. “For our back-office personnel, the difference is like night and day. Previously, if they ran certain reports the whole system would crash. Now the reports run with no ill effects.”
- 2x performance increase for core hotel management systems1
- 30% less time spent on maintenance and support2
We are very satisfied with our new hyperconverged infrastructure. Lenovo’s try-and-buy offering was a great way to get started quickly with minimum risk. The whole implementation went quickly and very smoothly, thanks in large part to the DaPhi team.” —Rick Medford, Head of IT, MEININGER Hotels
Looking to the Future
Business expansion is a cornerstone of MEININGER’s corporate strategy. With the Lenovo solution, the group gains a modular IT infrastructure platform that will grow with the business.
“Growth cannot always be planned in advance, and we have to be ready to move on new opportunities quickly,” remarks Medford. “We have ambitious expansion plans and aim to double the size of our property portfolio over the next few years. We’re confident that the Lenovo ThinkAgile VX platform will easily support our growth strategy.”
Today, DaPhi manages the Lenovo solution on MEININGER’s behalf. Since the company consolidated to a single-vendor solution, managed through a single pane of glass, the maintenance workload has decreased. Following the implementation, the IT Service Team at DaPhi spends 30% less time and effort on maintenance and support.2 Now, the team can spend this time to adding value by improving MEININGER’s business processes.
With the Lenovo ThinkAgile VX platform, we no longer need to worry about our IT systems getting in the way of great customer service. Thanks to DaPhi and Lenovo, we’re confident that we can continue to boost customer satisfaction, foster loyalty and continue our successful business growth.” —Rick Medford, Head of IT, MEININGER Hotels