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How the IT-Enabled Travel & Hospitality Industry Looks Like?

By Srinivasan M, Corporate IT Head, Hotel Leela Venture Limited

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Srinivasan M, Corporate IT Head, Hotel Leela Venture Limited

Technology plays a key role in the hospitality and tourism industry. Both customers and businesses can benefit from advances in communication, reservations and guest services systems. Technology allows continuous communication and streamlines the guest experience, from reservation to check-in to check- out.

Information and communication technology can be used not only for operational purposes, but also for tactical and strategic management. This empowers tourism and hospitality companies to communicate directly and more efficiently with prospective customers and suppliers as well as to achieve competitive advantage.

"Technology plays key role in hospitality & tourism in providing other facilities such as menu details (calorie / ingredients / preparation time, and others)"

For instance the Internet has a powerful impact on hospitality & tourism market. For many businesses and locations, the experience starts long before a travellerarrives; the experience begins with the first visit to the brand website. Guest views the photos of the location and gets a 360 degree view of the property (most brand website offer 360 degree view of the room guest selects) to get a sense of what to expect. In the hospitality and tourism business, effective use of Internet technologies can improve revenue. Websites, blogs, online advertising, social media, online ordering and information repositories all help convince customers to choose a location or business.Consumers in the Internet medium are more than just passive recipients in the marketing process. The Internet is an interactive medium as opposed to traditional marketing which usually allows only one-way communication from marketer to consumer.
 

May internet booking engines allow easy access to consumers and travel professionals; the systems enable individuals to make reservations and compare prices. Many hospitality industries interfaced their brand website with Travel agents to show their prices online along with real-time availability.  With the use of Kiosks in many brands guest can easily check-in to the available room of their choice without waiting for a front desk agent to greet and escort them to their selected rooms. Days of waiting in the queue while check-out are over.  Now with the help of viewing in room folio option and signing up digitally guest can check-out with a click of a button. 
 

Guest experiences not only end up with check-in / check-out using technology.  Technology plays key role in hospitality & tourism in providing other facilities such as menu details (calorie / ingredients / preparation time etc.) ordering the dishes with a click of a touch-pad, opening room key with their mobile devices etc. The guest can also use all hospitality brand services in their mobile phone too, no need to use multiple devices.
 

It is generally accepted that IT and Internet should be treated as strategic tools than tactical issues, and as concerns of general management. Senior management of the hotel chain must drive the process which determines the extent and direction of business re-engineering and take responsibility for the implementation of the plan.
 

Additionally, technology cannot be considered as acting alone,it is part of a larger environment in which other forces are at work. We rely on information itself, not necessarily its facilitating mechanisms, to assist decision making and guide actions. It is important to key in the right information’s to get the right output and that helps to make right decisions.

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