As one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, Marriott has over 3,500 lodging properties in the U.S. and 69 other countries and territories, and a daily workload of over 750,000 new reservations. Transaction throughput must be rapid, unfailing and 24/7. If problems arise, failover must be swift and absolute.
Simultaneously, business intelligence systems must be able to "right fit" pricing and accommodations for customers during transactions--and the systems must have the ability to extend the "reach" of Marriott's reservation community from the company-hosted Website and systems to the Websites and systems of worldwide channel partners that sell Marriott reservations along with other services.
"One of our goals is to increase the number of distribution channels for our inventory," said Misha Kravchenko, Vice President, Global Enterprise Mainframe Systems for Marriott International. "As the Internet continues to take off, there are more and more niche players, such as travel agencies, that do the bookings. This is the "long tail" of our distribution network, and we want to be a part of this."
Marriott also wants to optimize the customer experience. This means not only instantaneous order fulfillment at any time and from any point, but also best pricing for any given location, coupled with the ability for Marriott Rewards customers to capitalize on the special qualities of that relationship. It also wants to optimize occupancy rates for its accommodations.
As part of the effort, an average of 1,500 transactions per second are processed, offering multi-lingual capability to customers in both single-byte format and the double-byte format that is used for Asian languages that employ ideographic characters. Ninety-nine percent of all transactions take less than one second, regardless of where you are in the world. "Many of these transactions come in through Internet threads that are parallel-processed," said Kravchenko. "We've seen an eighteen percent jump in Internet shopping over the past year, and we expect that trend to continue."