Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MGM Mirage Nightmare Continues!

It seemed the MGM Mirage mess was winding down yesterday and Micros CEO Tom Giannopoulos told me the system had been “substantially restored.” Micros makes the Opera Reservation System. He told me:

“It’s not a product issue, it’s directly related to the environment. We are trying to find out exactly what happened. There could be many reasons from degradation of the data to a virus that may have come into the system.”

But from what I'm hearing, today was worse than yesterday in some spots. All information had to be taken down manually from guests and double-booking rooms was frequent. That is, it's harder to know if a room being issued is already occupied, so folks are walking in on one another or the original room occupants are finding their key cards stop working.

Normally the Bellagio allows guests to check in as early as 6 a.m. if their rooms are available, but today they told everyone not to check in until 11 a.m. Then, at 11, they told everyone to wait another hour. Guests were getting extremely rankled and many have had their first nights and some meals comped to make up for it. At Bellagio, they've got servers roaming the lobby to sooth ire with trays of free bottled water and coffee; at the Mirage it's so bad they're actually taking cocktail orders!

The front desk crews are miserable, too. At Bellagio, they brought in a very elaborate espresso machine for clerks to enjoy.

The Opera system, by the by, is used by the Wynn Las Vegas and Macau as well as the Four Seasons and the international arms of Marriott, Hyatt, Intercontinental and other places.

Meanwhile, it's been five days and not a syllable on any of this in the local papers or the local TV stations with the exception of a paragraph in Norm Clarke's column in Sunday. Norm's website also linked to the coverage provided here.


Maxine Weiss said...

You'd think they would be smart enough to back up their files. And, it is kind of annoying....the complete blackout on anything negative whatsoever about the casinos.

Clearly, MGM Mirage and Harrah's control the local media.

Won't stop me from staying with 'em, though.


Anonymous said...

hard to say the local media is in the casinos' pockets the way tehy've gone after harrahs for the permitting problem of late, huh?

Anonymous said...

We checked into the Bellagio on Saturday, and it has been a very unusual experience to say the least. You can read about it at here

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've been following this of course - actually, we have a thread about it on my blog as well:

Since I'm a 'tech guy' by trade, this story is where my two main interests intersect and thus very interesting.

I'm familiar with OPERA. Actually, it's a pretty standard system that is used all over but it's not like MGM Mirage is using an off-the-shelf package where they can simply install some 'updates' and move along.

Software at this level, in any corporation, is likely highly customized to meet each customer's requirements. That makes change management very difficult and even tracking and fixing bugs requires a test cycle, etc... It takes time to do it right and I know they don't want to make it worse.

Still, this is a major catastrophe for MICROS. MGM is a huge customer and I'm sure everyone in hospitality is watching this closely. I'm sure MICROS has had people onsite since this happened.

MGM Mirage has a pretty crack IT team and setup (actually, most of their IT ops folks came from Mirage Resorts) - I've been downstairs at Bellagio and seen the server cages - very Ocean's Eleven.

Literally everything in that building is tied into a centralized system - lights, HVAC, slot machines, player tracking, bar equipment, the door key system - EVERYTHING. Plus casinos have heavy NGC audit requirements - they have to be able to provide audit data within a small window if asked. A modern Strip casino is actually an amazing feat of coordinated and integrated technology.

Steve - thanks for covering this. When I saw Norm's little Sunday mention, I had no idea it was this big of a deal. No doubt the local press seems to know where their bread is buttered.

Anonymous said...

Oh, let me also say kudos to Bellagio's staff. They are working in a near-impossible environment and are keeping it together.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, this is what a good blogger is good for, isn't it? It is surprising that the locals don't care. I agree with Gina - they did beat the crap out of Harrahs over the permits thing. But it seems maybe it's just straight-up professional jealousy here -- if they cover it now, they have to credit a -- uggh -- blog?!?!

Unknown said...

People manage systems, so it sounds like poor planning and execution by the IT gurus at MGM. They're opening a property in Macau in December, so it will be interesting to see what happens there.

Anonymous said...

I work room reservations for one of the MGMMirage properties and it has been a nightmare for the last 5 days. Most people don't understand what "our system is down" means. They keep asking us the same questions over and over. The question of the week has to be "are you up yet?" and unfortunately the answer of the week is "No". Our hands hurt from manually writing all the reservations and then hoping we'll be able to get them into the computer sometime during the day or early evening. It has been insane and to we're exhausted is an understatement.