Online from: 2009
Subject Area: Tourism and Hospitality
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Article citation: , (2010) "How has the use of technology in the US hospitality industry affected human resource practices and guest satisfaction levels in the industry?", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 2 Iss: 1, pp. -
How effective is the use of technology in the hospitality industry is a question that practitioners need to review on a constant basis in order to determine the value added of the investment in technology and the benefits gained through its use. If technology use changes the human resource practices in an organization, this could change the culture of an organization. Also if the use of technology impacts the guest satisfaction with experiences that they have in the organization, that fact is influential in the determination of budget allocation regarding funds use. There are overall strategic questions that relate to how the technology will be used and who will use it. There are questions of how interconnected organizations will be and how the wireless technology will help or hurt the industry that relies on guest interaction as an integral part of the overall transaction.
The use of technology has changed the way that the world does business and the role of technology in the hospitality industry has changed the way that practitioners do business, the way that academics teach about hospitality operations, and the way that guests perceive of and deal with organizations. Despite the fact that technology has become an integral part of the way that organizations operate, this theme issue was put together in order to illuminate the changes in the lodging and restaurant segments of the hospitality industry related to technology.
In first paper, Christopher Muller sets the stage by asking the question: how has the use of technology in the US hospitality industry affected human resource practices and guest satisfaction levels in the industry? He presents his perspective through years of work and research in the area of food and beverage. In this paper, technology is defined in the traditional sense, along with hardware and software uses in the industry. Regarding HR practices, technology allows HR practitioners to focus on the people development side of things and causes less demand on the HR department to maintain paperwork as many of the recruiting tools are online. The paper also explores how the guest interaction has changed and how technology can focus on guest interests. The paper also discusses how technology was adopted and what the future holds for its use in the hospitality industry.
In the next paper, Leonard A. Jackson discusses in more depth the lodging industry and how technology has impacted the resource planning and allocation of resources in that industry. This paper reviews the fundamentals of enterprise resource systems and discusses their practical applications in managing the human resources function of lodging enterprises. The integration of company-wide day-to-day human resources administrative tasks through the use of enterprise resource systems results in both tangible and intangible benefits for lodging organizations. These include: improved productivity, reduced cycle times and availability of timely information. The paper suggests that the use of enterprise resource systems to consolidate and integrate routine human resources functions will continue to grow and prudent lodging executives should pay close attention to this trend so that they can adopt the technology into their operations and enjoy the benefits it offers. Both practitioners and educators will benefit from the information presented in this paper as it communicates information and provides insights about a relatively new form of technology.
Expanding on that, the paper titled “Key issues for ICT applications: impacts and implications for hospitality operations” takes a close look at the impact of technology in the lodging industry related to guest satisfaction and the changes that have been occurring in that industry. The practitioners interviewed for the paper give an insight into the landscape of technology and how it is related to the HR issues and guest satisfaction in the accommodations sector. The findings will help industry practitioners to understand several key issues regarding technology strategies for the lodging industry. The qualitative interviews that were conducted with hotel practitioners helped to explore issues and generate hypotheses for future research regarding information and communications technology (ICT) applications in the lodging industry.
A critical change in the hospitality industry over the past few years has been the need for organizations to have effective websites in order to capture the guests where they live, online. The next paper by Amy Gregory, Youcheng (Raymond) Wang, and Robin B. DiPietro creates a model for evaluating the effectiveness of restaurant websites in the casual dining sector. The study evaluated the websites of casual dining restaurants and found that restaurant websites appear to be fairly strong in providing information in a technologically savvy environment. The areas that were found to be lower in efficiency were communication, relationship building with the consumer, and the ability to facilitate transactions through the websites. The three lowest rated individual attributes of the websites studied in the current research were the use and functionality of reservations and language on the websites.
Amir Shani and Dana V. Tesone look at how technology has been integrated into the human resources of organizations and how these systems have evolved into an internal form of e-commerce. They discuss how human resource practices have been looked upon as antiquated and less strategic than other areas of the operation. The term human resources information systems (HRIS) is introduced and described as integrating technology into the HR function in order to help provide value to the organization by allowing the HR staff more time to perform strategic decision making and planning. HRIS is a systematic procedure for gathering and utilizing data needed by organizations, and Shani and Tesone present a thorough analysis of how this technology has changed the way that HR practitioners do business.
Duncan R. Dickson and Khaldoon Nusair present a practitioner focused paper on the role of resume scanning in this digital age. They look at the changing role of human resources in the search for talent on a global scale. They interview industry practitioners regarding the use of resume scanning and identify the pros and cons of the systems from an industry perspective. The paper presents an industry perspective as well as an academic perspective regarding the need for schools to prepare future employees of the hospitality industry for the changing role of HR and how important key words are to scanning systems. Without the appropriate key words, many HR departments will not see the potential future employees.
Doug Doran, the Senior Vice President of Operations at Romano's Macaroni Grill discusses his perspective on the changing role of technology in the foodservice industry. As a lifetime employee and executive in the restaurant industry, he is able to discuss the many changes that have occurred in the restaurant industry. He takes his experience and knowledge and discusses how the changes have made guest satisfaction a priority, while paperwork and duplication efforts are virtually gone. He also discusses how the role of technology has helped decrease and track costs – of both labor and food and beverage. He also shares some of his perspectives regarding where technology needs to go in the future to help restaurants continue to improve practices for employees and guests of the operations.
Finally, from a practitioner's perspective, Kelly Warren, an Assistant General Manager and Banquet and Catering Director from Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurants in Orlando, provides a comprehensive but critical review on the adoption and application of biometrics technology in the hospitality industry. The paper focuses on three broad areas of biometrics technology applications: verification, identification, and screening. The paper goes further to include such technology applications in the hospitality industry by highlighting the pros and cons of current applications of such technologies as well as the future possibilities in the hospitality industry. The author emphasizes that executives in our industry need to weigh the pros and cons of each type of biometric measure and its use, including its accuracy, customer aversion, integration to an individual property, cost, and effectiveness. The paper also points out that giving individuals the choice to opt out of participation by maintaining both traditional and newer practices in concurrence may be an important aspect to the beginning stages of biometric implementation.
Through these articles, there are many discussions of the changing roles of HR and guest satisfaction. It is clear that there are more questions about the future of technology and where it is going than answers. It can be seen that in only the last 20-30 years, the role of technology has taken on a life of its own in the lodging and restaurant industries. This presents an academic and practitioner perspective on the role of technology from the past, present, and where it is anticipated to go in the future.
Robin B. DiPietro and Youcheng “Raymond” Wang