Term Paper: Hotel and Motel Management and Operations

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Hotel and Motel Management and Operations: Current Trends and Technology

Introduction to the Hospitality Industry

For hotel and motel management and operations to be comprehensively understood, they must be considered within the context of the hospitality industry as a whole. Within this framework the management and operations of hotel and motel's is best understood and analyzed (Gray & Liguori, 1993). The hotel industry has existed since the dawn of time. At one time or another all men traveled, and in the course of travel needed to find adequate lodging of some sort. Traditionally this lodging came in the form of a room or bed in the home of a stranger. The travel and tourism industry in fact emerged from the need of man to travel (Gray & Liguori, 1993). From the earliest times there is evidence that man sought out refuge from people and hospitality; as early as in Biblical times and in ancient Greece and Rome in fact there is evidence that people offered hospitality to traveling strangers (Gray & Liguori, 1993).

Since the early times the hospitality industry has changed significantly. Just as the manner in which man has traveled over time has changed, so too have the demands that new travel have placed on the industry. Man is no longer limited to travel by foot or horse, but can now fly thousands of miles and seek out accommodations in distant lands.

Accommodations are now all inclusive, offering consumers and travelers the conveniences of home from a motel or hotel. One cannot travel to a city large or small and not find some sort of hotel or motel operating for the convenience of travelers. Hotels of modern times are influenced by innovative architecture that is appealing; extensive public areas, "function space" and even convention faculties are more the standard rather than the exception to the rule in most modern hotels (Gray & Liguori, 1993:4). Today hotels are located even in remote locations, no longer along major travel ways only.

Along with the changes in the landscape and availability of hotels and motels in the United States and abroad have come operational changes to the industry in modern times. Technological advances have allowed great advances in the travel and tourism industry. Today technology has in essence changed the shape of the industry, and that shape is ever changing as new and more efficient advances are discovered and implemented almost daily.

The primary focus of this paper will be current issues in hotel and motel management and operations as well as the travel and tourism industry in general, specifically the utilization of technology as an asset in hotel and motel management and operations.

With changing times have come a shift in the emphasis among citizens utilization of hotels and motels. In response hotels and motels are changing the way they manage and operate. The advent of technology has resulted in a change in the way that hotels are managed. Technology allows labor-saving administrative changes that can affect the speed with which information is obtained, stored, manipulated and transferred (Rutherford, 2001:2). Hotel and motel managers now have the ability to rent rooms at the speed of light and even provide virtual services to guests.

Current Trends/Issues Technology

Technology utilization is among the most pressing current issues related to the field of travel and tourism as well as hotel and motel management and operations. There is almost no aspect of the industry that hasn't been touched by technology in some way. Engineering, accounting operations, human resources functions and general management have all been influenced by technology in some way (Gray & Liguori, 1993). Technology has afforded operations managers the convenience of efficient operations and travelers the benefit of quick and efficient service.

With the advent of technology has also come an expectation from consumers that they can expect and demand the best at all times from the travel and tourism industry. Typically most modern hotels have been able to keep up with this expectation and demand. The face of hotel and motel management has responded step-by-step with the changing demands of consumers in most cases, thus has thrived for decades, becoming one of the largest and most profitable industries represented globally.

Perhaps the biggest impact technology has had on hotel and motel operations is the streamlining of many business operations processes. With technology comes the ability of hotel and motel managers to invest in enterprise resource systems which can streamline processes and improve overall hotel and motel management and efficiency. From reservations to sales, from accounting to human resources, hotel and motel operations managers have the ability to look at all aspects of hotel management from a much broader perspective.

The reservations system is the primary system most people consider with regard to hotel operations (Gray, 1993: 70). An centralized reservation system is often utilized to confirm, check, forecast, overbook and maintain relations with other departments (Gray, 2001:80). Thanks to modern technology the reservations system can now be linked to other hotel management systems via an 'enterprise resource system' allowing greater efficiency and quality of service.

In addition many other aspects of hotel management and operations are now influenced by technological advances. For example, meetings and conferences can be scheduled with the click of a button rather than manually, and more and more customers are becoming accustomed to the instantaneous satisfaction of scheduling such affairs themselves via unique online services.

Hotel information systems have the ability to help improve operational efficiency, improve guest loyalty, centralize processes, maximize yields and provide timely information regarding operational knowledge and reporting (HIS, 2004). In addition hotel enterprise systems may help managers leverage it investments and "transform transactional data into strategic intelligence" which may provide information for developing future business directives and improving an organizations overall profitability (HIS, 2004).

Hotel general managers, front desk managers, payroll and HR managers, sales managers and even financial managers can now work together to compile comprehensive reports that detail trends and utilization as well as the organizations overall productivity and profitability at any one point in time due to this 'strategic intelligence' afforded by technology.

Among the data that hotel and motel operations managers need regularly analyze and collect include information regarding room occupancy, average room rate, supply or actual rooms available vs. rooms sold and room revenues (Rutherford, 2001:8). Room revenue per available room or RevPAR is considered among the most critical data available, providing an easy to use measure of the relative performance of a hotel over a given period of time (Rutherford, 2001).

For hotels to operate efficiently they must maximize the efficiency of their computer information systems, which will require a fully automated and integrated database that will track reservations, transactions, bookings and other aspects of hotel management smoothly and efficiently (Gray & Luguori, 1993; Rutherford, 2001).

Typically a hotel will have a reservations system, front office system (used to check in guests and interface with the reservations system), back office system (used by finance to track receivables, payables, purchasing and the general ledger), point of sale (tracking food and beverage purchases), sales and catering automation (to track group sales and contracts, event scheduling), and guest history to make note of frequent stay programs and other perks (Rutherford, 2001:28). All of these utilize technology in a unique and efficient manner.

Other critical aspects of data tracking that might need be managed include payroll, engineering maintenance, networks with other hotels and affiliates and any telecommunications associated with hotel management including the telephone switch equipment, guest room phones, voice mail and PABX consoles (Rutherford, 2001:28).

Still other aspects of a unified system may include payroll, income control and accounting controls (Gray, 2001).

Travel and Tourism: Current Trends and Issues in Technology

Hotels and the field of travel and tourism are intimately related. Technology is just as influential in the hotel and motel operations industry as it is to travel and tourism in general. In fact the hotel and management business fall into the industry of travel and tourism, which is often considered the world's largest industry with more than $2 trillion dollars in annual sales globally each year (Muehsam & Tarlow, 1992). The travel and tourism industry as a whole is influential in many realms including the business, recreational and entertainment industries.

There are a number of technological advances that have not only enhanced hotel and motel operations but have also promoted mass travel which has given the tourism industry a substantial boost in recent years. In fact the tremendous growth of the motel industry, trends toward franchising and the "facilitation of free trade zones" have all fueled increased business and recreational travel the world over (Gray, 1993:331).

Another factor impacting the future of travel and tourism and current trend to note in the industry is the aging population. According to the American Hotel and Motel association travelers over the age of 60 make up more than 32% of all room nights sold in the industry, and this population is expected to continue to grow far into the future… [END OF PREVIEW]

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