Lodging Industry To Spend $4.4B On Technology

NATIONAL REPORT? It should come as no surprise that the hospitality industry is increasingly committing more of its resources? financial and otherwise? to the adoption and application of information technology throughout virtually all areas of day-to-day lodging business operations. However, what may well raise more than a few eyebrows is the lengths to which the industry is purportedly prepared to go in the course of putting its money where it feels its mission is.As noted within the context of Hospitality 2000: The Technology? the third installment of an on-going industry study mounted by Arthur Andersen LLP, New York University?s Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Travel Administration, and Austin, TX-based Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP)? not only has hospitality industry-related technology evolved to the next level, so too has the industry?s awareness and appreciation of it. Certainly, the perceived worth of technology is reflected in the outlook of Arthur Andersen Director of Hospitality Consulting Services Roger Cline as he maintains: ?In the year 2000, the industry?s spending on technology should amount to $4.4 billion, or 4% of projected U.S. industry revenue of some $110 billion. If averaged over 3.8 million rooms nationally, this spending would equate to [a figure nearing]$1,200 per room.? With reference to findings rising out of an industrywide survey central to the technology study, Cline contends conventional wisdom holds that ?the lodging segment lags behind other industries when it comes to adopting and implementing information technology.? This perception may well be evidenced by the admission that a definitive focus on information technology is?at this time?not yet a major part of lodging operation mission statements. ?This would seem to indicate the lodging industry has considerable room for improvement,? he claims, explaining information technology?by necessity??must have a place in hotel business plans. Similarly,? Cline adds, ?information technology must continue to grow as a vital part of the hotel/customer relationship.? On this latter point, one might be tempted to advise Cline not to worry. After all, survey responses further demonstrate that customer focus remains an inordinately high priority with lodging interests at all levels and in all locations. To this end, customer focus rests right up near the top of virtually every hospitality industry respondents? mission-critical acknowledgements. Underscoring these revelations is HFTP Executive VP/CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE, who affirms: ?It?s clear that hospitality technology has evolved to the next level, and that the focus is increasingly on the customer as hospitality organizations are finding new ways to use technology to provide better, customized service to their guests.? In short, Wolfe adamantly maintains: ?Technology has moved to the front of the house.? Clearly, much has been said?and most likely just as much has already been read?about the impact of the Internet on the travel and hospitality industry. However, Wolfe believes it bears noting that the Internet is, in fact, ?helping the lodging industry get out on the cutting edge.? Obviously, the key in this case would seem to be the greatly facilitated distribution and exchange of information…particularly as pertaining to sales and marketing functionality. In the estimation of Dr. Mark Warner, director/graduate programs with the Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Travel Administration at New York University: ?It?s clear that the essence of the hospitality industry is customer service. Similarly, it?s clear the industry will inexorably leverage [advances in]technology in order to offer the best possible customer service.? In line with results gleaned via the aforementioned industry survey, the academician attests that the accent is ?definitely on customer-oriented focus and relationships. As such,? he notes, ?advances in [applied]technology will surely provide the

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