Why tech jobs will dominate the hospitality job market in 2017
The hospitality industry is investing heavily in tech not only to improve operations and efficiency, but also to attract America’s 80 million millennials who are now spending the most on travel. In 2017, those born in the 1980's and 90's are set to outshine Baby Boomers by spending $200 billion each year. Because millennials are typically tech-driven and love personalized experiences, and nearly 85% of them already own a smartphone, mobile apps and smart controls (using your phone to control other devices) appeal to them.
For those of you already working in technology careers, the hospitality industry is offering plenty of excitement by investing in cutting-edge solutions where you can hone your skills and have fun doing it. According to Hospitality Technology's 2016 Lodging Technology Study, 54% of hotels will increase spending on technology this year, focusing on payment security, guest room tech, bandwidth and mobile engagement.
Advance your Tech Career in Hospitality
With increased investments in technology aimed at attracting and retaining guests, now is the time to consider advancing your career in the hospitality industry. Mobile solutions such as mobile keys, accepting mobile payments, mobile bookings and check-ins as well as GPS-based technologies are at the top of the list for capital investment. Also high on the list are branded custom apps, improving security and data accessibility.
New and cutting-edge technologies are also high on the list for enhancing and expanding the guest experience.
Here are 7 Areas of Innovative Development:
1. Guest room technologies: The biggest challenge here is to boost bandwidth to support the content and devices guests bring in with them. Also, bigger and better TVs that communicate with guest's devices and offer a spectacular viewing experience.
2. Network Improvements: Guests are frustrated when the WiFi doesn’t work reliably. Coverage and bandwidth are top priorities and capture the largest budget increases for improvement. Fiber optics or fiber/copper hybrid networks are becoming the standards for new properties and retrofits.
3. Security: Hackers are becoming more sophisticated every day. Payment and data security along with guest privacy is a growing challenge with the widespread use of mobile and social channels.
4. Virtual Reality: Guests can take a virtual tour of a property and "try out" various, exotic locations. VR is also making it possible for businesses to tour conference spaces and guest rooms before booking. In the future, holograms may be used as property concierges or guides.
5. Living or Interactive Walls: Another futuristic technology will provide interactive digital displays that are gesture- or motion-controlled. Using motion detectors, projectors and 3D cameras, the walls will interact with and respond to guests in real time and in public spaces to provide directions, information, schedules, entertainment and more.
6. Robotics: Robots are already taking their places in hotels around the country delivering extra towels, toothpaste or supplies to a guest's room, performing routine tasks and greeting guests in multiple languages. Robotics is a specialty, along with artificial intelligence, that is growing rapidly in the hospitality industry.
7. IoT (Internet of Things): This advanced technology is already available in Disney's MagicBands and guest room control systems. Simplified, IoT means connecting anything (any device, machine, component, bracelet, pen, etc., embedded with electronics or sensors) to the internet so it can communicate with other "things." This technology will eventually expand to enhance a guest experience by providing information about a guest's unique needs or preferences, unlocking individual earned bonus rewards or providing admission to a show or tour.
Become a Certified Hospitality Technology Professional
The Hospitality Financial and Technology Professional Association (HFTP) is a global, non-profit group headquartered in Austin, TX. It is an expert network providing research, conferences and certification programs and is the recognized representative of the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry. This group offers a continuing education course and exam resulting in a Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designation specific to hospitality combined with technology.
"Earning the designation requires one to not only have a general background in IT, but also know the ins-and-outs of the hospitality infrastructure. With the CHTP, I am immediately identified as the one with the know-how," said Doug McCurdy, CHTP, Regional Director of IT, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
Those who have attained certification report higher salaries and better career advancement opportunities. Almost every industry is undergoing a technology-driven transformation and hospitality is a fast-changing, dynamic segment that is pushing the boundaries of guest experience and customer service.
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