There is reason for optimism in the hospitality & tourism industry. The 2010 Soccer World cup is expected to bring a flood of tourists to South Africa. The intense media interest will stimulate tourism. This will in turn translate into a cash injection for the hospitality industry. This bodes well for IT investment in this cash-constrained industry. For the IT supplier, it is useful to understand the factors that influence the IT usage patterns in the hospitality industry.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The Strategic Use of ICT in Marketing and Distribution
This interesting article investigates the factors that influence IS adoption and IS use in hospitality firms.
The study was undertaken in Sydney. Eight hotels participated in the survey. A qualitative approach was used.
At the outset the author quotes from a number of previous reports, which indicate that ICT has not been implemented effectively in the hospitality industry.
The outcome is that the following factors are associated with ICT adoption in Sydney hotels (the strength of association is indicated in brackets):
- Security concerns are diminishing as sites have become safer (strong)
- Web advertising strategies that incorporated marketing on the web (strong)
- Hotel managers are not knowledgeable about ICT and the Internet (strong)
- Education and training of hotel manager (weak)
There was no association between ICT adoption and the size of hotel, chain affiliation status, age of manager and the management status (i.e. professionally managed).
The following factors inhibited ICT use in Sydney hotels:
- Limited management and staff time
- Little understanding regarding benefits of ICT
- Lack of technical expertise and training
Factors that played no part were the age of senior management, the size of the firm, its chain affiliation status and limited financial resources. Mixed results were obtained w.r.t. the lack of a strategic marketing plan incorporating the use of ICT channels and also the lack of commitment from top management.
Some interesting additional points are:
- The mode of Internet bookings is an important determinant of their success. A lot of Internet booking systems generate a booking in email format rather than integrating into the hotel’s reservation system online. This obviously limits the usefulness of these systems.
- Use of ICT technology will be most effective if a hotel also reegineers its business processes.
- There was low level of strategic thinking regarding the use of ICT, and the Internet was generally viewed as little more than an electronic billboard for the hotel’s brochures.