Case Study: Whittlebury Hall & Spa Switches to Parallels RAS

Whittlebury Hall & SpaWhittlebury Hall & Spa switched to the award-winning virtualization solution Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) to empower their sales team. Parallels RAS provides the sales team with user-friendly mobile access to a Windows-based property management application on Apple® iOS mobile devices. After struggling with Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp)—which was slow to load and difficult to manage—the company decided to elect for the simplified, easy-to-use solution provided by Parallels RAS. Now Whittlebury Hall has streamlined access to all relevant hotel data and Windows-based management applications from any device, anywhere.

The Customer

Based in rural Northamptonshire, UK, the award-winning Whittlebury Hall Conference & Training Centre, Hotel & Spa opened in 1999. Whittlebury Hall excels in conference, training, and meeting facilities for up to 500 delegates. It boasts 20 principal training suites supported by 28 fully serviced syndicate rooms, six spacious meeting rooms, an executive boardroom, and three secluded private dining rooms. The hotel employs over 300 staff and offers 254 double bedrooms, including five individually designed suites.

The Challenge: Delivering Windows-Based Property Management Application on iPhone and iPad devices and Windows-based laptops

The Whittlebury Hall sales team uses a mix of both Windows-based laptops and Apple iOS iPhone and iPad devices. To perform their work, the sales managers need to use the property management application Agilysys Visual One PMS to manage their client base, add enquiries and bookings, and perform other daily tasks. Additionally, the sales managers require access to the property management application from a variety of device interfaces when they’re in other parts of the hotel or travelling for business, including reception laptops and iPhone and iPad devices.

Before switching to Parallels RAS, Whittlebury Hall relied on Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp). However, neither the sales managers nor the IT department were satisfied with the solution. The sales team complained because loading virtual applications was very slow and accessing hotel data from mobile devices wasn’t particularly easy or intuitive. Furthermore, the overall virtualization solution was quite difficult to manage, requiring a large time investment from the IT team. Over time, the Citrix solution became more and more complicated to manage and use; the IT team decided to look at other options to provide their virtual application delivery solution. 

The Solution: Employees Become More Productive with First-Class, Native-Like Experience on Apple iOS 

Whittlebury Hall decided to implement Parallels RAS. Currently, the hotel is using the most updated version, Parallels RAS v15.5. Unlike competitors at Citrix and VMware, Parallels RAS is the only solution that enables Whittlebury Hall sale managers to use familiar native touch gestures on both the iPad and iPhone. With Parallels RAS, their employees can finally be truly productive on mobile devices.

Today, sales managers using Parallels Client can access all the hotel’s relevant data from any device, anywhere—no matter where they are in the hotel or traveling in the world.

“Fantastic client. So simple. I haven’t found anything that doesn’t work.” —Jeremy Stafford, IT Coordinator, Whittlebury Hall Conference & Training Centre, Hotel & Spa

Key Benefits: Straightforward to Deploy and a Much Faster End-User Application Loading Over the Network

The first key benefit of Parallels RAS was that it was quite straightforward to install and deploy. With streamlined installation wizards, Parallels RAS significantly reduces the time spent by IT on setting up the solution. After it was installed on their network, IT coordinator Jeremy Stafford said that Parallels RAS was “ready to use within an hour.”

Furthermore, employees were thrilled with the switch to Parallels because it meant less time waiting around for applications to load. According to the sales managers, Parallels RAS loads applications in “less than 3 seconds.” The employees are very happy that Parallels RAS is able to launch Visual One PMS faster than Citrix Receiver.

Parallels RAS not only provides a superior virtualization solution, but it also costs less to run than Citrix.

“Parallels RAS was very easy to deploy; it took much less time than Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp).” —Jeremy Stafford, IT Coordinator, Whittlebury Hall Conference & Training Centre, Hotel & Spa