In focus: What your IT department is actually addressing

Frank Wolfe
Frank Wolfe

Frank Wolfe

I am not about to make a big reveal in regards to how pervasive the use of technology is within the hospitality industry. It’s an everyday reality for all of us in this modern world and is key to our operations. But, I realize that while many of us use specific technologies to support our work functions, you might not know the overall trends and issues our hospitality IT colleagues are facing.

To help bring in focus on what the IT department is concentrating on, I am going to cover some of the themes discussed at the recent Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC), produced by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). I’ve been with HFTP since 1991, and this was my 23rd HITEC—giving me a direct view of how the industry’s technologies have evolved. Let’s see what was covered.

DATA, DATA, DATA

We collect and record all sorts of information about our guests now. The focus on the IT side is how to manage it.

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We need to primarily make sure this information is safe from outside parties and cyber criminals.

The other Big Data conundrum is how to harness all this data. The buzz term is Big Data—large and complex stores of data. Well we’ve got it, but how do we use it? The practice is building as marketing teams and IT departments are organizing the information to reach the right guests with information specific to individuals.  

CONNECTIVITY

In-room entertainment used to be a big draw, providing guests viewing options that they might not get at home. Now guests travel with their own media, and on our end, we must offer a smooth connection, without blips.

With personal media, or BYOD, comes a great opportunity to reach guests with messaging before, during and after their stay. This adds value to a guest’s stay by providing information that improves their time in your property.

Obviously this is just a brief overview of what hospitality IT departments are facing. I would like to offer you the opportunity to get more in-depth information via the HITEC.org website. If you are intrigued, consider attending next year’s show, June 15-18, in Austin, Texas—home to HFTP Global headquarters.

With that said, tell me how much you interact with your IT department colleagues?