Is Hotel Technology Lagging Behind other industries?
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For over a decade I have heard industry pundits, consultants, other experts, and myself say that the hospitality industry lags behind other industries in innovation, investment, and adoption of new technologies. Is this really the case? If so, what are the barriers, issues, and conflicts that have led to this situation? More importantly, what should we do about it?
Technology Executive and Consultant & Past President of HFTP Global
The industry is behind not in technology, but in the way we think about and value technology. There is certainly modern and innovative tech out there, and through E20X we see that there is no shortage of great ideas and startups eager to implement them. Many in the industry are, however, risk-averse when it comes to modern and cutting-edge tech, and for a long time I've heard executives (even CIOs) make the claim "We aren't in the IT business." Too often, technology decisions are made by hotel operations - people that are not technical architects - and are based more on what feels safe, what has been used before, or what the majority of others are using. This is a fundamental, and circular, problem.
Unwillingness to invest properly in a well-architected solution, or take any chances with new and small companies, makes it more difficult for these new technologies to survive. Tolerating the limitations of the legacy systems we use desensitizes us and forces us to accept technical limitations as just a cost of doing business. Wash, rinse, repeat. To break the cycle, we have to change the way we invest in technology, and especially our tech people. Your technical infrastructure and software should be designed by an IT architect, and you shouldn't budget as a percentage of gross profit or force a tangible ROI for every tech project. Most importantly, don't ignore the extremely important fact that we ARE in the IT business, and must invest accordingly.