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If Carlsberg made Managed Services – Here is what Forest Holidays had to say…

Nicola Moss

Head of Marketing at Node4

Does anyone else remember the Carlsberg advert showing their customer complaints office? Filled with cobwebs and clearly never used?

When IT Systems Manager, Nick Danson, from Forest Holidays, was kind enough to come and talk at our great TRANSFORMIT – your fabric of the future event, that’s what he reminded us of.

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He said he could talk about bringing us onboard, his challenges beforehand, what we have achieved, but didn’t have any comments about how we deal with any issues, because he’d never had any… well that’s fine by us.

Forest Holidays is a luxury holiday company, part-owned by the Forestry Commission. Since 2016, they have added one new site per year and plan on three more this year.

Despite their rate of growth, they constantly remain above 96% occupancy. New sites are booked up before the lodges are even built and every cabin now has its own hot tub.

“It was this growth that really made us think we needed a new IT provider,’ Nick said. All information was still held on a single SQL server and because of its set up, if it had gone down, we would have been unable to take any bookings.”

The provider they were with wasn’t offering the scale of service they needed so they started speaking to Node4. They needed a team to support their business.

“The first great thing I noticed about Node4 was that everything was bespoke. They got to know us and then tailor-made a set of solutions to suit our challenges, goals and future aspirations,” Nick said.
“It was so seamless. All aspects of the project were outlined on Basecamp for us. We could share documents and collaborate with such ease. We also had a weekly update call, which didn’t last that long because we were always on track. They also helped us with comprehensive UAT testing.
“The end result was that the website was down for a couple of minutes at the most and then we were on with Node4. It’s been absolutely great ever since.”

Other aspects of the solution included private cloud with Netapp storage, Cisco USC and Nexus switches and Fortigate firewalls. As well as a VPN from the head office to our Tier 3 data centre.

Being able to relax about the aspects of IT that Node4 takes care of, has freed Nick up to do some other attractive projects for Forest Holidays. With some lateral thinking and a bit of innovation, he has brought WIFI to a beautiful remote loch. This is a great addition as it means guests can get away from it all, but still connect if they choose to.

“My final thoughts”, Nick said, “are that we set out to get a reliable system and that’s what we got. We also got a partner we have confidence in and the wealth of knowledge they bring to the table.”

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