Technology, Financial Leadership and the Fast-Paced Race of the Hospitality Industry

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Written by: Artak Gevorgian, CHAE, MBA — Official HFTP® 2018 Guest Blogger

The HFTP 2018 Annual Convention is officially over, and I am now back to my routine in the other part of the world — Muscat, Oman. The blog I wrote before departing for Louisville, Be Prepared: Have an Action Plan for Professional Development, reflected on the educational sessions I was really looking forward to attending: The Hotel Pre-Opening Process and Alphabet Soup: An Update from the HFTP HFAC and AH&LA Financial Management Committeealong with other technology-focused sessions.

The most interesting discovery for me at Annual Convention was that, after combining all of the bits and pieces of information in your head, you consciously start thinking about the concepts of “technology” and “financial leadership” as intertwined, and not two completely separate disciplines. The alliance of technology and financial leadership can help you determine new strategies for effective data use and analysis.

Technology, both directly and indirectly, contributes vast amounts of raw data that must be analyzed and converted into usable data. The data should align with the purpose for which it was designed, while also supporting the company’s financial objectives and goals.

Transactional metrics are useful to financial leaders who understand their value to a hotel’s financial well-being and their limitations. These metrics can lead to revenue-building if you understand how to strategize using these metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) appropriately. Any new technologies implemented at a hotel provide the possibility for instructional data that can influence the company’s revenue and growth.

The majority of a financial leader’s time is devoted to descriptive analytics — what has occurred in the past such as operational reporting or reviewing KPIs. Another large block of time is spent in diagnostic or critical analytics, explaining the functions of KPIs and exploring opportunities for improvement. The question remains: how often do financial leaders use predictive analytics, and do they know how to use the technology available to them in its fullest capacity? I ask myself this question whenever I seek knowledge about technologies that could possibly replace descriptive and diagnostic analytics one day.

As financial leaders, we have to evaluate and digest each new technological option consciously and methodically, as technology becomes more complex, specialized and diversified over time. We must work with technology to help ourselves and our business stakeholders understand new opportunities. This can seem like an endless game because technology evolves and changes so quickly and so often, that it seems like it will never be done evolving, and the “race” will never be finished.

It is true that the technology race does not have an end. There are no “winners” and “losers”; there just needs to be players who are open to new possibilities and are willing to keep playing.

Based on everything I learned while attending my second HFTP Annual Convention, my new personal objective is to diversify my skill set. I am almost convinced that I need to embark on the path to earning my second hospitality professional certification — Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP). To help me make the final decision, I will attend HITEC Minneapolis in June 2019, the world’s largest technology show that brings together the brightest minds and hottest technology from around the world to one place.

All of the defining elements of the financial leader’s life — everything from education to ambition, including the mindset itself — help them excel in the professional race of one of the most fast-paced industries in the entire world. Attending events like the HFTP Annual Convention, earning professional certifications and networking with fellow players in the hospitality game can keep you on track, boost your confidence and help you gain speed in your career.

I hope you take advantage of all of the opportunities offered by HFTP — and I hope I will see you at HITEC Minneapolis 2019.

Artak Gevorgian is director of finance at the W Hotel Muscat in Oman, Middle East and an official guest blogger for the HFTP 2018 Annual Convention, which took place October 24-26, 2018 at the Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky USA. 

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