Technology as a Cultural Challenge in the Hospitality Industry

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Written By: Laura Resco, official event guest blogger for the HFTP Club and Hotel Controllers Conference 2018

There is one idea that permeates the sessions at the 2018 Club and Hotel Controllers Conference, and it is that technology is ingrained in people’s lives. Be it the tech-savvy millennials or the digital native Gen Z, the way in which individuals interact with each other and their environment is being continuously transformed by the evolution of AI.

But what does this new paradigm mean for the hospitality industry? And more importantly, how can hotels and clubs successfully adapt and thrive? Investing in cutting-edge hardware is just not enough. It is the culture of the companies that needs to change to keep up not only with consumer expectations, but also with the motivations of those entering the workforce.

Hot Topics in Club Technology showed that consumers expect from hotels and clubs the same immediacy and personalization that they find in the digital world. For this expectation to be fulfilled, data collection and analysis needs to become a number one priority. Business intelligence should ideally be able to accurately forecast what individual consumers will need, and therefore allow for a seamless and tailored experience. The service culture is moving away from standards and towards algorithmic predictions for unique consumers.

Fighting the Good Fight: How Merchants are Grappling with Cybersecurity and Fraud tackled the problem of keeping the gathered information safe. Human error accounts for more than 50 percent of all security breaches. Seemingly trivial oversights — like failing to change passwords periodically or lacking a phishing address reporting protocol — leave a company vulnerable to attacks. Considering that it takes between four to six months to identify a security breach, the damage done can be quite substantial. For this reason, ongoing cybersecurity training for employees is crucial and should be a part of a company’s DNA.

The impact of technology is also evident in the recruitment process. As was pointed out during the session Recruitment in a Full-Employment Economy, young people searching for their first job want to have quick and easy access to companies’ information via the web and social media. Moreover, they look for learning environments that provide future growth opportunities and job stability. Hotels and clubs therefore need to rethink their communication strategies for this pool of potential employees, and design engaging career development plans for them.

Amid the turmoil of cultural change, companies run the risk of losing sight of their core values and mission. Leadership seems to be a key component in the success of this process. That is why I am very excited about three upcoming sessions on the last day of the conference: How to Cultivate Trust and Strategic Leadership Success, Practical Ethics, and Whose Story is It?

The last day of the 2018 Club & Hotel Controllers Conference will keep challenging us with new ways of approaching our industry’s present and future. I, for one, cannot wait for it to start!

Laura Resco is a graduate student at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management and the official event guest blogger at the HFTP Club and Hotel Controllers Conference (CHCC) 2018. This event takes place June 18–20, 2018 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas USA.

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