Impact of Technology on Travel and Hospitality Sector
Today, technology is advancing at a rapid pace which none could ever imagine. Even micro-enterprises and start-ups are pro-actively using technology to help them catapult into new markets with new growth opportunities. Though technology plays an integral role in strategic decision-making, the hospitality industry has only been able to utilize the technology superficially and has not been able to integrate its functions with other business operations of the hospitality. However, the adoption of technology in hospitality has been comparatively slow. The hospitality sectors have been less enthusiastic about the technology and the tools, but now, gradually waking up to the benefits which technology can bring, the industry is gradually agreeing to the fact that, when the right technology tools are applied correctly, then a Revenue Manager can achieve visible revenue benefits and is empowered to stimulate the growth of the company in line with the market evolution.
A study by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) testified that almost 80 percent of companies believed that technology plays an indispensable part in their plans for growth, helping businesses to up their game and to reach larger audiences.
In a competitive business setting, organizations are majorly looking at two things: Revenue Enhancement and Cost Reduction. These two factors together build winning businesses. Organizations take different approaches to achieve these two goals. However, one thing consistent in any business strategy today is the use of Information Technology. IT comprehensively includes all types of technology used to exchange, store, and use or create information. Information Technology is a fundamental requirement of most modern business operations in any industry.
Among many other revenue related benefits, the way IT has improved organizational and business communication is amazing. The electronic based communication system used to disseminate routine and critical business information in a quick and efficient manner which has increased the productivity of businesses many folds, by allowing better business decision-making and eases an organization’s expansion into new territories or countries.
Information Technology systems have greatly helped companies to automate their routine tasks by making data analysis easier and store data in a manner to retrieve it easily for future use. Coming from an Industry that serves Hospitality and Travel Technology needs, the use of IT and IT tools in this industry has helped businesses to reach a new level altogether. The complete operations of hotels and revenue management are run on technological tools which are capable of handling a myriad of things like Demand Forecasting, Rate Shopping, Price Optimization, Online Inventory Distribution, Guest Feedback or Online Reputation Management, etc.
Companies are increasingly using IT as a first-mover strategy to create new products and services, differentiate their products from the existing market or enhance their customer services. IT has not only helped organizations follow a low-cost product strategy to reduce their costs through increased productivity, but also eliminated the need for employee overhead. Businesses are continuously innovating to build an information technology to their products that make it hard for customers to switch platforms or products.
With the increasing importance of the role of websites in hospitality, the channel no longer only serves as a platform for sharing information and facilitating transactions between customers and hotel companies – it also enhances service quality. Hotel companies are attracting a lot of direct business through their brand website. Social media is another effective way to build stronger relationships with customers, while also making a positive impact on the prospects.
Another major technological development that has benefitted hospitality industry is the increased use of mobile technology. Various researches have estimated that there will be more people accessing the Internet through smartphones, than through desktop computers. That is a substantial fact, both for you as a mobile phone user, and for your customers, who will be visiting your site for business. Making your website mobile friendly is one thing all businesses should consider including travel and hospitality.
However, it is inevitable that some hotel practitioners fail to appreciate the benefits of technology and its applications, as the hospitality industry is customer-oriented and service-oriented. Some managers do not have adequate knowledge of technology and thus do not rely on their applications to business practices and daily operations. Many more such Revenue Managers feel that their priority should be on maintaining an alluring property and good guest relationships. Of course, these are profoundly important, but both guest charm and good service increasingly rely on technology, and failing to keep up with latest in technology must inevitably lead to a fall in ratings.
In order to remain competitive in the current business environment, hospitality managers have to understand the potential advantages of technology applications, and devote their time and effort to taking advantage of new technologies and tools.