With an expanding portfolio of hotels and brands in Southeast Asia, Accor wanted to reduce hardware footprint and to be ready to scale their services across hotels in the future.\nSo\u00a0the French hospitality group began its cloud migration initiative for hotels in Southeast Asia at the end of 2019. Although \u201cthe majority of hotels in ASEAN are still with on-premises servers today, the focus is to open new hotels mostly with cloud technologies and progressively migrate existing hotels to the cloud,\u201d says Khang Nguyen Trieu, group chief technology architect at Accor.\n\n[ Stay on budget with these 6 cloud cost management tips, learn the 5 fundamentals of effective cloud management, and beware hidden cloud migration gotchas. | Get the latest cloud computing insights by signing up for our newsletter. ]\n\nAccor manages more than 5,100 hotels in 110 countries around the world. In the Asia-Pacific region, Accor has 1,200 hotels in 22 countries. It operates multiple brands, including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, and Ibis, with a mix of company-owned properties and properties owned by others.\nThe company started their initiative with new hotels, deploying property management systems in the cloud in 2020 in Thailand and South Korea.\nThe challenges of legacy systems and a diverse business footprint\nExisting hotels will be migrated based on a case-by-case assessment with hotel owners of the ROI; many hotels are still amortizing their existing on-premises investments. The on-premises approach does come with its own costs, which a move to cloud can reduce. With on-premises systems,\u00a0\u201cyou end up with a patchwork of systems across all hotels over time, increasing the overall cost of maintenance and the risks of security,\u201d Khang says.\n\u201cMoreover, some hotel owners push for local applications where there is no guarantee it can work well over time with hardware and operating systems compliant with Accor\u2019s standards, making discussions sometimes more difficult,\u201d he says.\n\u201cUnlike Europe, the US, or China\u2014which are at a large scale with pretty much homogeneity in terms of currency, regulations, taxes, connectivity and languages\u00a0\u2014 ASEAN is super diverse on all these aspects,\u201d Khang says. \u201cThis makes the adoption of a solution, rollout, and maintenance more complicated: [requiring the] configuration and localisation of the solutions for each country, as well as the deployment process to be localised for each country.\u201d\nSwitching to cloud-based hotel applications can alleviate many of these challenges, by providingcommon hardware, operating system, and applications hosted on the cloud.\n\u201cRollout of a new solution will become simpler when localisation\u2014in terms of currency, tax management, language, and others\u2014is done for one country,\u201d Khang says. That localisation then \u201ccan be applied across all hotels without the burden to manage physical setup in each hotel.\u201d That\u2019s what happened in 2020 in Malaysia, when Accor implemented a cloud-based property-managementapplication for a hotel in the country.\nLegacy issues remain and are mostly handled through an end-of-life approach on hardware and software, Khang says. Rather than renewing on-premises hardware at their end of contract or end of life, \u201cwe advise hotels to migrate to cloud solutions when there is a cloud version of the application,\u201d he says. \u201cIn other cases, there is no cloud alternative, so we\u00a0are working on proxifying [creating a proxy service for] the legacy applications and making them available through Microsoft\u2019s Azure App Proxy.\u201d\nBut \u201cwe will need to consider exceptions where connectivity may be an issue; for example, resorts in remote areas,\u201d Khang says.\u00a0\u201cEither by continuing to provide on-premises solutions or by having continuity plans to allow a hotel to temporarily work offline. With the continuous progress on connectivity worldwide and the development of 5G, this should be an issue which will reduce over time.\u201d\nThe incremental path forward to the cloud\nFor now, the cloud migration at any hotel occurs in stages, not all at once.\nVarious stakeholders are involved during a cloud migration, and a lot of fine-tuning is done to suit the IT environment of the country or particular hotel. When introducing a cloud-based property management system, there is a preliminary assessment to identify the impacts on the IT environment like connectivity.\n\u201cIt is really more a progressive rollout of the different applications needed in a hotel until the point when the hotel can be 100% on the cloud. \u2026 There is no Big Bang approach, but a pilot approach on different hotels with a test and learn method,\u201d Khang says.\nAccor is also working to create a standard, global \u201chotel in the cloud\u201d offering which will package both cloud and noncloud applications. That package should start to roll out in \u00a02021.\u00a0\u201cOur ambition is to reduce for hotels by potentially 80% the server-side hardware as we increase our cloud offering.\u201d\nCurrently, Accor is using different clouds, include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. That multicloud strategy will likely remain. \u201cWe are currently firming out our strategy to accelerate our move to cloud and choosing when to use which cloud,\u201d Khang says.