Tell us about the year 2018. What changes/evolution did it bring to your thinking or mindset as a CIO/IT head?
Year 2018 was very crucial for me and my team to have the pre-approved budget released for various upgradation process and projects. Many properties refrained for upgrades or new initiatives, from both the owners and operators perspective. This made me put on my ‘innovations hat’ to ensure the objectives for the management and the services required for the guests are met within agreed frame of work & limited resources. And thereby giving a superior experience to our guests and customers. All this was done by not compromising on the quality of service offered by the hotel.
Were you able to stick to your New year resolutions? Did you achieve/over achieve/ under achieve?
Sometimes situations and varied technology requirements don’t let us keep the resolutions. And only experience, innovative thinking and hard work can deliver superior service and thus meeting the service level expected by our guests. My New Year resolution was to achieve the set objectives in view of the market scenario. At the same time, someone said, hard work pays! And I think it did very favourably for me and my team, where in we over achieved our set targets through innovation and unquestionable hard work. With both ups and downs in various projects, we managed to maintain a fine balance throughout the year.
In brief, which technology of 2018 attracted you the most? Have you planned to implement the same in your organization?
We have been talking about the Cloud Computing since the time it hit the market. The technology as a whole has evolved in no time. Although not new, but we are on the path to implement cloud-based technologies in our esteemed property soon. Hearing about the similar implementations by other major hotel brands gets me more excited and motivated to achieve the same. Many a time, an initiative as such will have dependency on Corporate IT, but I am pleased to say that we are heading to the finish line, steadily moving ahead – one step at a time.
In contrast, which technology of 2018 did you find futile/ non-relevant for the present and why?
We as hoteliers do come across several IT solutions and services tailor made for hospitality industry but looking at the purpose of some, it becomes more of an investment than a value add. In the recent times IPTV is one such technology which I personally do not see adding any major benefit/s to the industry. Primary reason for me to point this out is that guests actually want their personal content to be viewed in the hotel room TV than watching television channels! For the travelling guests, TV’s for them is a media to view or play their personal content from their mobile device. Having said that, as a hotel operator, we still have to have an international bouquet of HD channels in hotel rooms with state-of-the-art backend system running the service. I believe there is a need to review this by the industry itself.
How active are you as a CIO/IT head on social media platforms? Do you find them a good platform to share knowledge or has it become too monotonous?
I am a regular social media visitor and even keep myself available for such platforms at all times. Sharing knowledge on any media is one of the best ways to serve the human race provided the information is accurate and reliable. These days, social media is taking the top spot to spread knowledge, it educates people and keeps them aware of the possible disaster recovery options as well in some cases. Monotonous is irrelevant in this fast-paced IT world. And, we see constant changes being made to the way social media behaves from segment to segment and helps several professionals. This in itself is a great move by the industry experts.
What is your 2019 resolution? (if at all you are a ‘Resolution-making’ person) What goals do you have for your organization?
I am a resolution maker and have a wish-list for year 2019 to enhance my department and its services as the IT Head. Like any other organization, ours also needs a regular facelift. I have planned to upgrade and change few guest interface systems and infrastructure of the hotel to meet the latest industry standards and to make guest check-in’s smooth and seamless. This also makes sure we are at par with the competitors because guests these days do compare a lot from the last hotel that they stayed in or the best guest experience they have had at a hotel. Presence of any new service gives any hotel a different experience from the others especially when it’s IT based. Hope 2019 fulfils my wishes!