Industry Update
Opinion Article17 July 2015

Utility and Disruption: Technology for Entrepreneurs in Hospitality, Highlights from the 2015 Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable

By: Mona Anita K. Olsen Ph.D. and Kelly McDarby

By Mona Anita Olsen, Visiting Assistant Professor, Assistant Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship

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Executive Summary: The inaugural Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable brought thirty leading tech professionals and entrepreneurs to the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration during the spring 2015 semester. Participants examined the growth of the cloud and the resulting opportunities for entrepreneurs to break into established markets, notably by using mobile devices in remote and shared office spaces, streamlining documents and systems to prevent redundancy, and decreasing operating and switching costs while minimizing the need for established infrastructure. Given the economic flexibility afforded by renting assets, rather than owning them, consumers and entrepreneurs have driven the expansion of the so-called sharing economy. The support of venture capital has been critical for such entrepreneurial technology in the hospitality and travel industry. Technology is also key to the growing customer desire to have a personalized travel experience, which can become a challenge to established brands. Many of these tech-supported enterprises are disruptors that respond to consumers' desire for options as they travel. To counter the disruptions and re-emphasize their standing, brands need to use market analytics when engaging with customers and to plan for using predictive analytics.

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Mona Anita Olsen

Mona Anita K. Olsen is a visiting assistant professor and the assistant academic director of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. Olsen teaches courses in entrepreneurship. She is the recipient of a Small Private Online Class (SPOC) Grant from the Office of the Vice Provost for her course Technology for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship, and of the Zalaznick Teaching Assistantship Award.

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