Amazon was fair enough. In hindsight, it was obvious that you could use the internet to sell books, CDs and other small, robust, non-perishable goods. But surely some industries were immune? How on earth could you have an online supermarket, or taxi, or whole apartment for the night? Then Ocado, Uber and Airbnb came along – and we began to think that anything might be possible.
And now things are now really stirring in the hospitality industry too. Smart operators are having revolutionary conversations with their technology suppliers. Instead of buying single clever products, they are asking them to help transform their business.
This digital transformation isn’t about bells and whistles: it depends on building an integrated technology framework that allows you to automate your systems and analyse data, so you operate more efficiently, understand your business better and make the right strategic decisions.
For example, it shows how investment in one area of the operation affects sales in another. This is a big step from the discrete technology solutions that we have traditionally opted for. It breaks down silos and enables us to see and act upon what our data is telling us.
Christian Berthelsen, CTO of Fourth, says that the hospitality industry often sees IT as an unnecessary cost: “We need to raise our eyes from day-to-day issues, such as keeping the tills working, and design an IT architecture into the business plan so technology actively supports the operators’ strategic ambitions.”
Digital transformation is a big change, but it rests on simple principles: your IT department must understand the business strategy; and your operations and finance teams must understand how new technology can make it happen.
“My main piece of advice is to keep it simple,” says Christian. “Get the foundations right first. Once you have a solid technical platform, you can try new things.”
The good news is that operators who move quickly will gain a huge advantage over their competitors. Why not start by downloading our complimentary white paper?
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