May, 2019 - The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC) was held April 9-11 at the Melia Palma Bay Hotel in Palma de Mallorca / Spain. At the conference, AETHOS' London-based Manager Nina Gold spoke with Todd Montgomery, Program Lead for Business & Hospitality Management at Oregon State University, about the impact of technology on the labour market in the travel and tourism sector.
Montgomery has over 23 years of industry experience. He started his career with Hyatt Hotels and later joined Starwood Hotels as the Corporate Director of Revenue Management for Asia/Pacific. In 2006, he joined one of the largest pricing and analytics software companies in the world, PROS Pricing, as a Sr. Consultant & Director of Asia/Pacific. During this time he led the design and implementation for several multimillion dollar revenue management initiatives. In 2012, Montgomery joined Oregon State University as an Executive in Residence and Instructor and in 2016 was appointed as the Robin and Curt Baney Endowed Professor.
To this day, Montgomery continuous to work closely with the industry and seeks insights from sector professionals on wide ranging topics, including employee retention best practices, service automation and labour shortage. The latter, in particular, is a 'hot topic' for the hospitality industry as it continues to impact the sector's ability to grow and to serve customers.
In a conversation with Montgomery, AETHOS' Nina Gold commented that it currently is "a candidates market". The travel and tourism sector continues to expand and emerging brands, new hybrid concepts, white label operators as well as other people-driven businesses, such as the co-working space, are all vying for experienced talent coming from the hospitality industry. This fight for talent, as Gold points out, is heightened by the fact that the investment community is increasingly taking things into their own hands, wanting to manage in a more hands-on fashion their own assets - thus building up in-house hospitality teams themselves (and consequently putting further pressure on the already tight labour market in the hospitality industry).
Asked what the impact of technology is on employees within the hospitality sector, Gold points out that "organisations are excited about the prospect of what technology can bring to the table. […] We are not at a point where technology replaces people." Instead, she points out that companies are using automation and efficiencies gained to 'free up' back-of-house staff and to move them into front-of-house positions, eager to enhance the overall guest experience by improving the touch-points and interactions between the employees and the guests. The advice given by Gold as it relates to technology in the workplace is to "embrace it, don't ignore it and to not see it as a tool but as a means for positive transformation."
Watch the video here.