Is our industry lagging behind due to a lack of proper education?
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?
Addressing education and training is critical to any labor shortage and I believe that most marketing degrees are out of date with the actual skill set for a marketing position in today's online world. A digital marketing role should ideally cover a broad mix of data and analytics, content writing, technical SEO/SEM best practices, budgeting and brand strategy. Every one of those areas could see significant changes to best practices within a 12 month period of time based on legislative changes like website accessibility, GDPR or a new Google Algorithm update so it's no surprise that educators have a hard time keeping course content up to date! I think there's so much more scope for collaboration with technology providers and agencies who specialize in this work who could help educators to teach at the forefront of digital marketing best practices.
There are also many experienced hospitality marketers looking to pivot their careers towards a digital focus or experienced digital marketers from other industries looking to change industry and move into hospitality. Hotel industry associations should play a greater role in facilitating that career shift towards digital via training and certification programs.
If we can address the skills shortage I believe the rate of adoption for marketing technology and innovation will increase as digital marketers would be better trained and equipped to successfully deploy their marketing technology stack to suit their overall strategy and commercial goals.