Is our industry lagging behind due to a lack of proper education?
— 17 experts shared their view
Hospitality HR experts estimate there are 100,000 open IT and digital marketing positions in hospitality in North America alone. This labor shortage and lack of adequate investments jeopardize the introduction of the latest technology applications and best practices, curbs new implementations and stifles technology innovations in the industry. Is the lack of proper education - hospitality technology degrees and courses at hospitality schools, and professional development opportunities on hotel IT and digital marketing - the reason for this labor shortage and for the industry falling behind from a technology perspective? What's your take?
Changing a university-level curriculum requires governing approvals with likes of an academic review committee, a board of regents, accreditation board and even state filings, plus faculty cooperation and coordination. So the lag is often just inertia, self-imposed hurdles, or unwillingness to jump on a trend until it becomes mainstream. So in some respect, we have created this problem.
However, not all universities are the same and NYU has championed progressive behavior in recent years embracing and reformatting their curriculum to serve the greater good. I posed the HospitalityNet question to Lynn Minnaert, Academic Chair, Clinical Associate Professor, Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality at New York University.
Here at the Tisch Center we have implemented in the past few years:
- Launched a hospitality technology course taught by Max Starkov
- Increased our focus on technology in a wide array of courses, for example, revenue management, customer relationship marketing, and marketing strategies- hosted a range of events around technology and entrepreneurship
- Strengthened our ties with HFTP and started a student chapter- started fundraising for an entrepreneurship lab that will be strongly focused on technology- submitted curriculum proposals on the graduate level with concentrations in hospitality/travel technology
Moreover, many schools will offer students the opportunity to expose themselves to additional technology content via minors and double majors - some of our students, for example, are taking a minor in Web Programming and Applications.
A question we could ask ourselves too is whether hospitality, as an industry, is doing enough to appeal to students in Computer Science - some technical positions that are open would perhaps be more appropriately filled by students of that major. Are salaries for those positions on par with what other industries are offering? We have recently launched a minor in hospitality for students in other majors, which we hope will drive more interest in hospitality employers.