The Changing Role of IT in the Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry has always been primarily focused on quality of service. This service encompasses a variety of areas including customer service, service and product quality, and efficiency of service. Today these factors have been radically affected by the changing role of hospitality information technology. The role of hospitality information technology continues to evolve and change as new software and hardware is incorporated into the industry.
The leading factor in IT change is the fast creation of software languages (Tesone, 2006). The development of computer languages has allowed for the evolution from proprietary systems to open platform systems of information management. This evolution links systems that were once inaccessible to one another and has allowed for the creation of new management tools and processes. These new management tools include transaction processing, information communications, and decision-making support technology.
In order to understand this change in role for IT, one must understand the evolution of the software systems. Proprietary systems were once the standard before rapid development of computer languages that could communicate with one another efficiently. These proprietary systems were systems which were separated from one another might include systems such as, “property management systems, point-of-sale systems, catering systems, and accounting systems (Tesone, 2006).” Within the proprietary system, these areas of process could not communicate with one another and this created large amounts of redundancy and work. Employees would need to check sales systems against reservation systems. The proprietary system was plagued with errors because of this redundancy of work.
As new computer languages were created that could communicate with one another with greater ease; proprietary systems began to evolve into open platform systems (Tesone, 2006). An open platform is a generic program which allows for the adding of application software that is able to communicate with one another and operate in harmony. The open platform system links not just software but also hardware systems such as electronic cash registers. The open platform system allows the systems which were once proprietary to operate together. For example, the point of sale system would also be able to communicate with the accounting system, while both of these systems would be accessible by the management system. This is best seen in the example of a popular management system known as the digital dashboard.
The digital dashboard, like its automotive counterpart, is designed to give the manager broad overview of the different systems and processes. Digital dashboards provide critical information on processes, performance, and progress toward goals using visuals that may include charts, graphs and other at-a-glance displays designed to impart knowledge quickly (CLICDATA, 2021). Managers can establish warnings and alerts in the event of poor performance, and drill down detailed data (IBM, 2012). The effectiveness of a dashboard relies on the comprehensiveness of its data (O’Brien, 2002). These open platform systems are effective because they are capable of consolidating data from other systems and utilize it to form a comprehensive view of enterprise performance.
Open platforms have allowed for an evolution in the role of IT in hospitality management because the speed and efficiency of these systems adds to the competitive advantage of the organization. The greater the degree of communication between systems, the less redundancy there is within the work process. For the customer, this means increased speed of customer service and more efficient service. For the organization, the role of IT lowers costs of labor and increases productivity by allowing employees to concentrate on other tasks. The continued growth of IT systems is an ongoing change in the role IT within hospitality management. For example new information technologies and platforms such as mobile applications for cell phone are rapidly increasing in use. Wireless devices such as cell phones could be used to book reservations. As well, handheld devices such as barcode readers allow for staff to service customers more efficiently throughout the business. For example, charges for services could be entered anywhere allowing for expansion of the point-of-sale. Perhaps the best benefit of new role of IT in hospitality is the ability for personalized marketing. The ability of IT systems to database information allows for the organization to create marketing specials which are targeted to consumers based on their needs and purchasing history.
The changing role of IT in the hospitality industry continues to create new competitive advantages and opportunities. Today, IT is vital to this industry because it allow new management process and reduces costs of operations. The continuing evolution of IT will no doubt continue to benefit and enhance the hospitality industry.
CLICDATA (2021) Hospitality Dashboards https://www.clicdata.com/solutions/industry/hospitality/
IBM. (2012). Executive dashboard. Retrieved from http://www- 01.ibm.com/software/analytics/cognos/executive-dashboard.html
J. A. O’Brien. (2002). Management Information Systems: Managing Information
Technology in the E-Business Enterprise, 5th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Tesone D.V. (2006) Hospitality Information Systems and E-Commerce. Ch. 3 Wiley, John & Sons