Tourism & Technology Thursday

[Slide 1] This week I present five ideas where I think the future of hospitality and tourism business is going...

[Slide 2] The first trend is that in this world, it is becoming harder and harder for marketers to control their message.   Between review sites, social media and other forms on instant communication, there is no way in which the marketing personnel can completely maintain control over an organizations image.  This means that we must find ways to embrace this new world and use the messages out there to enhance marketing credibility, improve service quality and maintain presence on the web.

[Slide 3] Inequities in the labor market are becoming increasingly a trend within the hospitality and tourism industry.  In several states there has been a large influx of union activity entering into hospitality businesses. There is a feeling among many industry insiders that the unions knowing that their manufacturing base is dwindling the in the USA in particular are now trying to enter into this industry that is large and where many workers feel disenfranchised.    If workers are perceiving that their rights are being taken away and that money seems to only flow to those in power; how does create a healthy, collaborative and productive work environment.  Given the increased level of disenchantment, perhaps the real question that needs to be addressed is, "how do companies manage their employees to create a sense of partnership among the workers and management?"

[Slide 4] This is a case of short term greed versus long term stability.  Many in the industry are going to a full revenue management model.  They are trying to maximize every dollar spent.  The challenge with this is that consumers are now often reporting that they are becoming increasingly price sensitive and are less likely to be brand loyal as a result hospitality companies consistently trying to pry every lose dollar out of the guests pockets.  Often guests are willing to pay top price once but if they do not receive what they perceive as value for money its makes them wary to re-book.  Hospitality companies are forgetting that the consumer does not seem demand curves but rather that the hotel they stayed at for $100 last month is now change $200 for the exact same room and services.  Combining with point one about controlling the marketing message, companies need to examine their revenue management philosophy to ensure that their strategies are not just short term financial greed but rather of a long term sustainable business practice.

[Slide 5] I often argue that the hospitality business is really a technological industry.  We often market and distribute our products online.  We integrate technology into our business and customer service practices. To state that technology has not become a major component of our business model would be asinine to argue. The real point however, is that for all the technology, at the heart of hospitality is relationships.  We are a relationship based business and we have to remember that as we continually move to online check-ins and the like.  We have remember that the core of our business is service.  The interaction with our staff teams is more than just about providing a product but is a much larger component of the hospitality experience. In this industry people matter and while the technology may make things easier, it should be continued to be viewed as a tool that is use to deliver the product rather than the product itself.

[Slide 6] The last part is one of a what is old is new again professional paradigm of work-life integration.  In the beginning of the last century kids often worked with their parents in their stores, restaurants etc.  Heck, I even worked for my dad at the factory he worked at when I was young.  The idea is that work/life balance is a myth.  We can not slide and dice our lives like that.  What happens at work does come home and vise versa.  The idea of work life integration is that you merge your worlds into a realistic state.  For instance, I often have Heather and Erik drop by for lunch.  I bring my kids onto campus frequently.  The idea is that I have one life, not several sub-divided lives.