two workers in the hospitality industry

Navigating the Hospitality Industry: Aligning Your IT Expertise

Technology jobs have become an integral part of the hospitality industry in recent years. Although this industry has a strong interpersonal focus, there is a large need for technology in a number of areas, including automation, data collection and analysis, and record-keeping, among others.

IT in hospitality has become prominent because of its potential to enhance the customer experience and elevate it to a higher level of enjoyment and satisfaction.

Today we examine emerging roles, requisite skill sets, technological innovations shaping the industry, and strategies for successful networking and career growth in the IT hospitality industry.

Emerging IT Roles in Hospitality

The following IT jobs in hospitality have significantly emerged in the industry. 

Systems Administrator– This role oversees the technology for a single location including computer systems, upgrades, maintenance, and updates, software installation, troubleshooting and more, or for systems that serve multiple locations.

Database Manager– Data has become a major part of hospitality; keeping track of customer/visitor numbers, demographics, preferences, and the history of particular visitors. Tracking this data has led to the need of having and maintaining complex databases that need frequent management.

Data Engineer– This role is more on the programming side of data usage, including building websites and web applications to collect and house the data needed to run the operation. Knowledge of programming languages and coding is likely required. 

Web Developer– Web developers focus on the finer points of websites such as user-friendliness and attractiveness. They may develop websites for individual locations or for an entire hospitality chain.

AI and Robotics Support– AI and robotics are becoming a larger part of hospitality where they can enhance the user experience without taking away too much of the personal touch. Examples include ordering kiosks or pay stations in restaurants and automated cleaning machines in restaurants and hotels.  

Security/Cybersecurity Specialist– Hospitality can involve large amounts of customer data that needs to be protected against data breaches or other cyberattacks. Keeping customer information secure is an important part of any large or small business today.

Technological Innovations Shaping the Industry

Another major need in hospitality involves working with the technological advances being used there. Even though AI chatbots can now be used to assist customers with simpler inquiries or route them to the extension needed these bots require oversight, and the data they collect needs to be analyzed. Mobile apps are widely used by most restaurants and hotel chains to make, track and change or cancel reservations or offer special deals and rewards. 

Systems can also use Internet of Things (IoT) applications to offer a consistent look or services that can be accessed by different devices. All of these innovations have led to a greater reliance on technology and a need for more IT staff to manage it.

Skill Set for Success

Many skills are needed to handle the IT needs of today’s hospitality industry, including the following:

Cloud computing. On-site servers are becoming less commonplace, but cloud-based alternatives still need skilled IT workers. Cloud computing technology offers the ability to store data and run servers in the cloud, with virtually no chance of server failure and far less energy usage to reduce the operation’s carbon footprint.  

Coding/software development. Every capability technology makes possible must start with a computer program, website or app. Software must often be created to meet customized needs. Database managers and data engineers typically need some coding and software skills or at least an understanding of those skills in case adjustments or modifications need to be made. 

Customer service. The hospitality industry famously champions the philosophy that the customer is always right. Customer service skills need to go hand in hand with technology skills to understand what customers want and be able to develop systems to give that to them, as well as to troubleshoot and find solutions when problems arise. 

Data analytics. Collecting data is only the first step; you have to know what to do with the data and how to understand its relevance. Data analytics informs all the other skills and how they play out for each situation. Demand for these skills has skyrocketed and is expected to continue growing faster than average. 

Workflow management. Hospitality technology has many moving parts. Workflow management helps IT personnel put them all together into a cohesive whole that works smoothly within the organization. 

Many of the skills described above are part of an IT degree, and they can also be learned and demonstrated through certifications that can be completed independently or as part of coursework without a full degree. Because technology is constantly changing, it is important to keep skills updated and continue to learn as you grow in your career.

Networking and Industry Engagement

Networking with other IT hospitality personnel is important for learning new strategies and trends within the industry. Online platforms, social media groups and industry events are the main ways networking happens today in technology fields. 

Job Seeking and Career Growth Strategies

One often overlooked place to find job opportunities is a company’s website, which may also include employer branding and culture information to help discern your cultural fit. Online platforms also contain job postings and other information that can be valuable for finding opportunities. These include LinkedIn Events, Meetup, and Eventbright. Lists for larger nationwide events can be found at Hospitality Technology and to a lesser extent Agilysis.

Like most technology jobs, the hospitality sector offers many opportunities to advance as your skills grow. An established and respected workforce solution provider like GDH can help you find those opportunities.

Conclusion: The Future of IT in Hospitality

IT hospitality careers will only grow in importance as the role of technology in the hospitality industry continues to grow. Entering the industry now will give you many opportunities for tech jobs in hospitality that can help your career to grow in the future. 

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