Industry Update
Opinion Article20 October 2016

Converging Perspectives on Elevating the Role of IT Managers in Hospitality

HITEC Amsterdam Perspectives

By Mihaela Lica Butler , Reporter for Hospitality Net

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HITEC Amsterdam will bring together the best of hospitality financial and technology professionals next March, in an event that will show advances in the trade with access to innovative resources, industry experts, and vendors. The European version of HITEC (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference) which takes place in North America every year, HITEC Amsterdam is a premiere on the continent and promises to be the hospitality event of the year, with some 60 booths exhibiting advanced solutions and innovative industry-specific technology. In anticipation of the conference taking place next year, Hospitality Net conducts a series of interviews with HITEC Advisory Council members discussing relevant industry issues and offering expert insight on key technology topics.

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Among these topics, the first to be addressed is the role of the IT manager and what steps the industry should take to educate owners and operators, as well as what steps individual system administrators should take to raise their profiles, as their roles now include SaaS SLA, cybersecurity, data privacy, guest technology support, and so on. So far the function of the IT manager remains locked-out of the operational decision-making process, but as the industry evolves, perhaps is time for this role to be elevated to a broader undertaking.

Stephen Minall, Owner of Moving Food Ltd., believes that elevating the role of the IT manager should be a challenge to all hotels, and Michael Levie, CitizenM Hotels founder and COO, considers that today's system functions and requirements are of strategic nature for the survival of companies, and, in his words, "need to stand central in the commercial and operational tracks of hotel organizations." He goes on explaining that "local IT managers deal mostly with plugs, office enabling and support, but mostly don't have the capacity to deal with the strategic decisions. The problem is, however, they often are convinced they are and leading, and directing unknowledgeable hoteliers leads to major disasters."

Whether IT managers will be integrated into the decision-making process remains to be seen, however, their roles are increasingly more complex as new technologies emerge. In fact, it is safe to say that their function is vital for business growth and the bottom line. This topic remains open to debate as professionals in the industry continue to define new standards, shifting paradigms. Stephen Minall goes as far as to ponder, "does marketing play a role too?"

Crucial in maintaining organizational effectiveness and efficiency by defining and supporting strategic plans for improving IT operations, IT managers may not yet have a role in policymaking, but they certainly influence the process. It is no longer enough for such professionals to overview the technical aspects of their work solely, but they also need to implement information technology strategies and policies, and they need to evaluate and anticipate industry trends. Collaboration with professionals in the field is mandatory to achieve these goals and attendance to events like HITEC Amsterdam enables it. Participating in the conference will give IT managers in hospitality the tools, resources, and network to raise their profiles.

Planning for HITEC Amsterdam is in full swing with guidance from an advisory council representing eight European countries. The council is chaired by Carson Booth, CHTP and vice-chaired by Derek Wood. For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP) and Instagram (HFTP_HITEC). For more information about HITEC Amsterdam, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at [email protected], +1 (512) 249-5333.

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HITEC AMSTERDAM

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RAI Amsterdam Exhibition and Convention Centre — Amsterdam - The Netherlands
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Mihaela Lica Butler

Mihaela Lica-Butler is the founder and senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues (BBC News, Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Epoch Times and others), with an experience of over 12 years in online PR. When she doesn't work, she enjoys writing children's books and developing recipes.

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