First class hospitality

In the first of a new monthly series, Arabian Computer News sits down with leading IT bosses from a variety of industry verticals to find out what the major issues affecting that market is. This month, the roundtable focuses on the region’s hospitality sector.

Tags: HospitalityInterContinental Hotels GroupKempinski Hotels SAShangri-La International Hotel Management LtdTourismUnited Arab Emirates
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First class hospitality
By  Imthishan Giado Published  January 23, 2012

How do you approach senior management with your requirements?

RQ: We have to give a business case of course, they don’t understand the technical things. If you are conveying the requirements to the management, they are more likely to understand compared to finance.

HN: There is one thing we are all delivering the same – we are supporting all the departments and guests and ensuring that they are happy, whether they are reporting to finance, engineering, it should not make any difference when it comes to our duties.

At IHG, we used to report to finance. Now the group sees us as a strategic department that is no longer just a cost centre. It’s about technology, guest experiences and so on. I attend the revenue meeting, the yield meeting which is more than just preparing a budget.

PR: Finance looks at it from the scope of money rather than services. If you don’t have influence with senior management and simply go to finance with a request to improve services, you have to show ROI, which again is not always easy. When you report to the GM or corporate IT, you have the ability to put a business case across which they understand. On the other hand, GMs in today’s world are not traditional in their way of thinking. They are more technology oriented, they have seen the other parts of the world where people are interacting with the technology. When you report to a general manager, you can convince him by explaining where the world is moving. When you talk to finance though — after all what has changed in finance in the last ten years? The way of functioning has remained the same since the 1990s.

In 1992, your system administrator was looking after database backup. Today this has been transformed from a support department to a strategic one which can position your hotels at the next level.

SN: I disagree with that. Nowadays if they are looking for a CFO or director of finance, they look for somebody who has technical savvy.

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