Critically Evaluate how ICT is applied to the Tourism and Hospitality Industry

INTRODUCTION
Tourism and Hospitality are two major industries of service sector. Basic concept of tourism and hospitality is depending upon providing customer services. Both the industries are co-related with each other. In this global environment ICT (INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY) plays a vital role in any industry. Hospitality and tourism industry are also applying ICT in their industry. ICT helps the industry each and every aspect of business. In this competitive environment it is very important for the companies to update and develop their skills to run the business smoothly. ICT has applied it in all industries whether the industry is small or big. ICT refers to the interaction of audio visual and telephone networks with computer network through link system (Buhalis, 2003). Global establishment of business is very important. With the invention of Internet scenario of business has expanded a lot.

Now each n every step of business ICT is required. Hospitality and tourism industries are the largest industries in the world both industries are related with each other. Both the Industries provide product and services to customers. With the emergence of ICT companies can market their products globally. Therefore all the tourism and hospitality organisations market their business online. It saves time and money of the company. Companies usually design their web sites to provide all the detailed information. Customers use this information according to their requirement without going anywhere. Marketing is vital part of any business now with the development of ICT companies are marketing their products and services now customers have choice to choose the product and service according to their requirement. ICT also make the industry so competitive thatevery company make their marketing strategies effectively.

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Responsiveness of customers has also increased so every company offer and promotes their product and services in the best manner so they can attract customers and increase profits. Awareness of companies and customers both has increased because of ICT. It has made customer services easier to companies now customers not only get information about the product and services but also they can book and enquire about the product and services. Customers can get any information at anywhere at any time. ICT has decreased paper work and cost and time of any product and service. If the company launch any new product or service it is informed globally. With the use of internet customers can get latest information of product or services because companies update their web sites time to time. Use of ICTeffectively and efficiently is important in any industry to get advantage of it if it is not used properly it decreases the advantage. ICT is providing new business opportunities in tourism and hospitality industry. Companies can expand their market to know the market. Companies are developing new aspects of ICT to run the business smoothly. ICT has become KEY determinant of competitiveness and also helping companies in internal working. New devices (for ex. Tab, smart phones,and laptops) also have become strength of ICT in providing services anywhere.

ICT (INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY) IN HILTON GROUPOF HOTELS Hilton hotel is an international hotel chain which includes luxury hotel and resorts. It was established in 1919 by Conrad Hilton. Hilton bought his first hotel in Cisco, Texas. In 1943 Hilton hotels became first Coast-to-Coast hotel chain of United States of America. Hilton hotels are internationally spread all over the world with 530 branded Hilton hotels. This chain of hotels covers 78 countries across six continents. Hilton has become a brand name in hotel industry. Hilton hotel is a luxurious chain of hotels in the industry. Hotel offers the best quality service in customer’s services. Hilton hotels are a well established brand in hospitality industry. Innovative products and services provided by the hotel makes it the best with its competitors. Hilton hotel won BEST “CUSTOMER FOCUS” AWARD in November 2005 the UK national business award. Hospitality industry depends upon customer services provided by them so Hilton group of hotels always improve their customer services (Buick, 2003). Good customer service results in customer satisfaction. There are various ways to know customer satisfaction the purpose of this finding ensures that customer will visit again in the hotel and company always want that customer’s feedback should always be positive. Hilton hotel always adopt innovative strategies to market their product and services this is the reason of being always on top in the industry. Hilton hotel always concentrate on customers’ needs and requirement and accordingly satisfy its customers by providing products and services whether it is related to furnishing the room in modern way or to offer new meals. Expansion of any business means the business is doing well but when it comes to hotel industry expansion is difficult because it is delicate business.

Hilton hotels are doing it exceptionally well; we see their performance in expansion of their business internationally around the world. Technology is important part of any business. Businesses that want to stay in top have to comprehend technology. Hilton hotels have adopted innovative technology to lessen employee’s workload and improve services. Hotel also adapted hiring their employees through internet which they refer to a web base solution. Anyemployee who meets the standards set out of web. Hilton hotels are one of its kind they never had a problem in making profits. This success largely depends upon team work. Employee working in the company is hard working, loyal, sincere and trained they satisfy the customers by providing excellent service. Hospitality is the industry where employee’s polite behaviour and customer service results in customer satisfaction. Value of Hilton can be described as H say hospitality (they are passionate about delivering customer services),I says Integrity (do all the right thing all the time), L says leadership (they are leader in hotel industry),T says teamwork (they works as a team), O says ownership (they are owner of their action and decision), N say now (they operate with a sense of urgency and discipline). In late 2010 Hilton worldwide announced the new name Hilton hotels and resorts with a new logo design ( HWN, 2011).

Due to the complexity of hospitality industry, hotels all over the world largely depend upon ICT to compete the market. *IMPLEMENTATION OF ICT IN FRONTOFFICE OPERATIONS

Hilton hotel group is usingICT toplan, manage and market their services in the industry.There was time when hotels use BPO services to reach out to customers but now with the use of internet whole scenario has changed. Internet made business easy to run. Internet saves time, money and cost. High level of competition ignite the will for aggressive use of ICT based technologies both for its customers and to increase its operations. Tourism and hospitality industry both works for each other directly or indirectly. Hotels and travel agencies share information related product and services. Online travelling information provides information not only for travel agencies but also for hotels .customers can not only plan their travel but whole lodging and boarding. Hilton hotel apply ICT in their main information processing for marketing and distribution. Hilton is brand name in hotel industry so group of hotel always has a keen eye to improve their marketingskills and customer services.

With the use of ICT, Hilton hotel works effectively and efficiently without any errors. Hilton recruited numerous ICT trained employees in their staff. Employees’ works in different operational areas of Hilton hotel such as front office, back office and food and beverages control. The role of ICT worker is generally deal with computer or communication issue or deal with networking tasks. ICT has similar role to It but ICT covers a much broader area of business it also involves communication. According to the need of companies recruit ICT professionals. In context with Hilton group of hotels there are a large numbers ICT professionals recruited. In Hilton hotel ICT professional works from top to lower level. All the key professionals are recruited according to the requirement of Hilton hotel. *IMPLEMENTATIONOF ICT IN MARKETING, DISTRIBUTION AND SALES

The use of technology is increasingly viewed in marketing, management and distribution of hospitality industry. The success is associated with technological use of operations of hospitality management means how they provide information about their products (Olsen & Connolly, 2000). It seems that ICT and knowledge of technological issues have become a paramount in successful operations of Hilton hotel. The hotel industry is the most under automated industry in hospitality industry. Hilton hotel adapting ICT in their marketing management but there are majorly two issues occurs in implementing them. These are hotel should use ICT to re-engineering of business process and policies and secondly use of ICT in critical application for supporting and complementing their competitive strategies. Hotel has to choose the best channel for management assessment the electronic business environment is changing rapidly this is because of advancement in technology. So Hilton hotel hire best It professionals to improve its performance. Earlier distribution and marketing largely depend on intermediaries (especially travel agents) but after implementing ICT hotel has decreased numbers of intermediaries and believe in direct customer marketing. There are an increasing numbers of channels are available in distribution so hotel adopt direct business to customer marketing contact. Now hotels are directly contacting with customers for providing products and services. Hilton is using ICT in for reservations of customers this benefits not only hotels but also customers by saving time and cost. Hotel has implemented COMPUTER RESERVATION SYSTEM (CRS) to administrate a data with occupancy, rates,cancellation (Frew, and Horman,1999). CRS helps Hilton to do reservations according to the inventory. There are various functions which Computer reservation system performs is as follows: -In improving capacity management and efficiency in operations. -providing room inventory control.

-Providing data for managerial purpose.
-providing room availability information.
-helpful in tracking travel agencies and their commissions
-providing special services to regular customers.
– Direct marketing.
– Managing bulk bookings.
-Providing services to frequent regular customers.
– providing data base for marketing research and plan.
So there are some aspects which strengthen the marketing, distribution, sales and reservations of Hilton group of hotels. Group of chain hotels requires more efficient Information and communication technology to operate their business. Hilton hotel operates a PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (PMS) to incorporate their back office operations. Implementation of PMS results in improvement in marketing, research and planning, accounting, general administration, payroll, personal management, training and development of employee. Now these functions can be performed in internet. Internet facilitates in various operational functions in marketing of hotels. With the use of internet customers directly book their place in hotel (Buhalis,2003). Hilton group of hotels has their own reservation centraloffice. With the use of ICT Hilton group of hotel is managing their distribution channel with two vital components that is yield management and guest history. Guest history shows the information about the guest .this information values a lot in hotel industry. Proper data collection, segmentation and interpretation of guest history enable Hilton group of hotel to analyse the past inventory, customer information their taste and preferences. This information is valuable to hotel for planning the marketing aspect of business. Where yield management assist hotel to maximise its occupancy and room rates directly related to its profitability (Brotherton, and Turner,2001). *BACK OFFICE USE OF ICT IN HILTON HOTELS

Hilton hotel in period of time analyse its yield management to increase their profits. Profitability is the reason of hotel in existence in the industry. Hilton room rates are revised periodically according to their marketing strategy and future plans. Expansion is the key to success in any business. Hilton group of hotel is also expanding its distribution channel through its intermediaries. The concept of central reservation offices came in to light .hotel has its own CRO where agents has an access on property management system. CRO allows both the customers and agents to make reservations from the telephone or internet site. The regular customers book their place according to the availability of channel which is convenient to them while new customers take a look of hotel website to know the actual picture and
available facilities, after satisfying the products and services people reserve their place (Eggerand Buhalis, 2008).There is also new concept is emerged called as business to business. It is a concept where hotel allowed to other business group to give advertisement in their website. It facilitates to both the businesses to grow. For example companies are providing facilities to plan a whole travel experience which includes all airfare, hotel, leisure activates and travelling. This makes traveller to enjoy the trip without any problem. Hilton is partnering with large corporations to bring its website into their travel page with the purpose of creating business to business environment. Which benefit both the organisations from added value, special rates, offers, discounts? Hilton hotel is highly dependingon regular supplies of material and cost effective ingredients. E-Procurement is a concept where all the purchasing process is done electronically. This system is cost effective and time saving. So the excess resources can be used in other required areas. In this process hotel predict their demand with the information provided by reservation level, past data and experience then orders are delivered automatically by the hotel head. This results in requirement of less human and time. Hilton E-Procurement is done through well established e-procurement company, this facilitates in automating all the purchase process. Hilton also gives guests to share their experience in the hotel; guests are allowed to share their taste and preferences. This information allows hotel to give special attention to their guest by providing a unique service and results in satisfied and loyal customer (McDaniel,1993).Hilton is brand name in hotel industry. Hospitality technology needs become more complex these days. Hilton is collaborated with world class technology companies that are providing the Hilton group of hotels a competitive advantage. This is also the plus point of hotel to give superior service to customers. In this competitive environment adaptation of innovative technology makes Hilton group of hotels the best in the hospitality industry. Hilton hotels are the first hotel to launch a strategic global approach to high speed internet access called stay connected. This strategy enables the world to be connected with hotel twenty four hour. Hilton’s unique technological plan helps the guest to compare various brands and individual hotels and select the best one. This system enables the hotel a real time visibility to the
inventory, financial data, manages billing and payments, and simplifies front desk operations(Law &Jogaratnam,2005). *EMERGING NEW TRENDS IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ICT has brought a revolution in hospitality industry. Now the whole information about the hotel is globally known. Marketing capabilities should be used efficiently. Globally new concepts are emerging like online advertising, social media and mobile networking. This concept is providing products and services to customers anywhere and anytime. Hilton group of hotels has their own e-commerce team which is fully devoted to innovate with market leading programs, offering total support system to the owners and operators. The professional team is engage in developing websites and its management, demand generation, social media planning and developing more elaborative search engines. Property management system of Hilton management system provides information about the inventory. Inventory management is required for hotel to manage its demand and supply. A proper balance is required in demand and supply. In hotel industry demand and supply means availability of rooms (BrothertonandTurner,2001). Hilton technology helps the system to know the actual information about the inventory and management of it. Hilton’s worldwide system of innovative technology is advantage of hotel for its success and expansion of business. Quality control is vital part of hotel industry. Hilton group of hotel are rewound name in hotel industry because of its best quality of services and products. Hotel has to maintain its quality. With the advent of innovative technology hotel is able to maintain its quality. Thus hotel has large numbers of loyal customers which are true example of assurance of good quality service and products. Hilton runs program called Hilton honours. It is worldwide program that enables the hotel for guest loyalty. Hilton’s honour program is basically a guest loyalty program which largely spread around the world, due to this program hotel has won various awards in hotel industry. Hotel has 27 million loyal members which are having an experience of worth sharing. In current scenario hotels not only make relations of host and guest but also build an influential relationship. Hilton hotel always keep in mind the demands of guest according to their requirement so hotel’s operations are alway

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