Evolving Technologies to Drive Competitive Advatage in Hotel Industry

Topics: Client-server, Hotel, Server Pages: 6 (2336 words) Published: June 29, 2009
 Evolving Technologies To Drive Competitive Advantage in Hospitality Industry
In today's fast paced competitive and cut-throat marketplace where no other quote would be more apt than 'Survival of the fittest', tour & travel companies, travel agents, hotel distribution companies, hotel chains, airport transfer and car hire companies are grappling with how to bring convergence between their brick and mortar and the emerging technologies that are multiplying and growing as if they are coming from an assembly / production line. The debate over "high-tech" or "high-touch" is largely a thing of the past in the hospitality industry as emerging technologies drive unprecedented change in the way hotels operate and serve customers. It is clear that investments in technologies can generate greatly improved operating efficiencies, higher hotel revenues and enhanced guest services. The pace of change, however, has been so extreme as to leave many hotel organizations uncertain about what types of technology to adopt and the best ways to create a seamless integration of systems company-wide. Today the technology life cycle provides a model to assess how and when companies and individuals adopt new technologies. Pioneers are generally the first to acquire new technologies and take the greatest risk. A second category of technology users -- leaders -- adopt relatively unproven technologies, but the risks are known and accepted. Obsolete technology at the other end of the spectrum may seriously impair a company's ability to compete. In terms of costs and benefits, the best balance appears to be with the leaders who invest significantly less than pioneers and incur reduced risks, yet their technology investments can yield similar benefits. Finding a balance in technology investment is critical today for hotel operations, as it helps to fulfill the desire of operators to improve the guest experience and also gives a potential to improve operating efficiencies. This is demonstrated through faster check-in and check-out, more timely response to service requests and a myriad of other opportunities to enhance services. Hotel operators are seeking ways to reduce staffing requirements, cross-train staff, reduce the overall general and administrative expense, and explore opportunities for centralizing some functions while at the same time distributing other functions more widely. Implementing technological advances promises the potential for greatly enhanced guest services to meet rising customer expectations, improved cost control, more effective marketing strategies and expanded opportunities for hotel companies and properties to achieve a competitive advantage. However, technology is only as good as its application by an organization, and therein lies the challenge for hospitality companies‹weighing how best to invest in technology, as well as train employees and implement its use. A retrospective view of how high technology has been used in the hospitality industry reveals the depth of change wrought in hotel operations during the past four decades. Accounting and financial systems were introduced during the 1960s, but exclusively as mainframe-based systems operated by the largest hotels. Systems oriented to property management were introduced in the 1970s. During the 1980s, systems were ported to mini-computer and micro-computer based platforms. Accounting, financial and property management systems finally became available even to the smallest operators. Sales and marketing applications were developed to provide a competitive advantage for properties. The 1990s was marked as the decade of integration, driven by powerful networking capabilities offered by client server technology. This technology brought no less than the dismantling of the management information system (MIS) paradigm as we have known it, more completely democratizing access to information than at any time in the past....
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