Overcoming the IT challenges in hospitality operations 

by | May 8, 2024

Digitalisation is not a new trend within hospitality operations in 2024. In fact, technology adoption and smart solutions has been the backbone of successful hotel operations in the last few years, changing how guest needs are met. Technology plays a key role in streamlining service delivery within hospitality. Technology integration within office operations is also pivotal in ensuring the smooth functioning of hospitality businesses.

However, the convergence of smart technology and hospitality operations does not come without challenges. While technology enhances employee capabilities and redefines hospitality operations, it also leaves key areas to consider.

Key challenges of technology adoption in businesses

Technology acts as a catalyst for revolutionising back-office functions, automating repetitive tasks, and streamlining complex processes. Next-level enterprise resource planning solutions integrated with Property Management Systems (PMS), reservations modules, housekeeping solutions, inventory management and guest engagement applications serve as the centre of hotel operations. These systems empower employees by providing real-time data, facilitating efficient decision-making, and enhancing operational transparency.

With the rapid adoption of technology, the several challenges have emerged:

  • Lack of IT training among staff
  • Lack of communication and collaboration
  • Scattered and siloed data
  • Cyberattacks and data breaches

How can hospitality businesses overcome the above challenges?

As technology becomes integral to a hospitality establishment’s back office, the following key elements must be considered.

1. Empowering employees with technology training

Building positive synergy between technology and employee skills is pivotal to maximising the potential of technology within hospitality, especially with latest reports claiming that one of the that skill shortage amount to 69% of most severe staff issues in the hospitality industry. Further, 87% of millennials are expressing that training and development is crucial to a job, especially as tech adoption occurs faster than ever.

For example, technology training programs equip employees with the necessary technological expertise to navigate sophisticated systems and leverage their capabilities effectively. This will also help employees approach innovation with the right attitude, stay productive amid digital transformation and be ready to meet the needs of digital audiences. Choosing technology solutions providers who give comprehensive training is the first step for hospitality establishments to try the technology for the first time. A strategic approach to technology can enable productivity within hospitality operations, allowing even the less tech-savvy employees to approach changes comfortably. this also

2. Communication and collaboration tools

Digital solutions can make all the difference between effective collaboration and miscommunication within hotel operations. ERP system helps different departments within a business work together more effectively by sharing information and resources.

Full-stack solutions that are integrated suites of tools and individual modules that easily integrate with third-party systems with open APIs allow multiple systems to work in synchronisation and eliminate any bottlenecks. Navigable web and mobile applications allow employees in different departments to access the same real-time data so everyone has the same information and can work towards a common goal. It also fosters seamless information sharing, task delegation, and teamwork. Cloud-based solutions facilitate remote access, enabling flexibility and efficient communication, which is vital in today’s dynamic work environments.

3. Centralised data management

Despite smart technology and data management tools being a rapid development across various industries, only 22% of business leaders claim their teams share data well. Businesses using multiple disconnected systems often find information and data scattered across different departments, applications and databases. When different teams have different versions of the same data or work from outdated information, this interferes with the quality of the service and operational accuracy.

To overcome this, it is essential to have a single source of truth, in other words, a centralised database that is accessible across all departments. A centralised enterprise resource planning solution that integrates all operations improves team communication and collaboration, making it ideal for modern businesses operating across regions, in time zones, and virtually. The ability to share information such as reports, analytics, and performance metrics facilitates more informed decision-making and increases responsibility and accountability within teams.

4. Enhanced cybersecurity

As hotels gradually adopted technology across all operations, they became more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity is also reported as one of the key IT challenges faced by hotels in 2023; nearly 31% of hospitality organisations have reported a data breach in their company history.

As an industry that deals with personally identifiable information and financial data, the industry is often at risk for threats such as identity theft and data breaches. Building a secure digital architecture is a must so that core systems and confidential data remain secure. Staff training on cybersecurity and technology management, regular software updates, multi-factor authentication methods, data encryption, GDPR compliance and PCI compliance remain some of the major steps businesses can adopt in the digital age. Reliable private cloud hosting can offer enhanced security and control over guest data, making it easier for businesses to maintain better security, comply with data residency laws, and improve data backup and recoverability, auditability, and transparency. As hospitality businesses move into cyberspace, necessary precautions need to be taken to build a secure operational network that does not compromise the quality of the service offered.

Be smart with smart technology

To create a symbiotic relationship between technology and hospitality, business owners must consider the above areas so that the transition from traditional operations to digital occurs without minimal disruptions, negative side effects or bottlenecks. A harmonious interplay between technological advancements and employee skills, communication and security, attitude, communication, and support represent the cornerstone of success in modern hotel operations. Embracing this synergy empowers hotels to deliver unparalleled guest experiences while optimising operational efficiency.

Nandika Udupihilla | IDS NEXT


Nandika Udupihilla

Vice President & Country Head, Indian Ocean – Sales

Nandika is responsible for the Sales and Operations of the Indian Ocean Region, looking after Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius. His years of expertise in IT and strategic management have helped contribute to streamlining the technological needs of IDS Next's global clients.