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An IT leader is an extremely important role in the hospitality industry. They must possess strong management and interpersonal skills, as well as multitasking skills because their role and responsibilities are incredibly varied. They must be able to stay on top of innovation trends, program software, the set up and management of networks, and ideally have knowledge of mobile applications.
In this article we’ll look in closer detail at what an IT leader is, their role and the main skills they must have in order to carry out their job effectively. Having a capable individual managing the information technology sector of your hotel is key in order to stay “in the know” of the latest technologies and trends in the sector, which can ultimately give your hotel a competitive edge.
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What is an IT leader?
An IT leader is in charge of managing a hotel’s infrastructure relating to information technology, software and technological resources. Technology plays a crucial role in the hospitality industry, and the person leading this department must be capable of carrying out the hotel’s objectives relating to this sector. A strong IT department ensures operations run smoothly, that the hotel is able to stay on top of innovation and execute their strategy accordingly.
What is the role of a hotel's IT leader?
The role of a hotel’s IT leader is to direct innovation as it relates to communication, reservations, guest services, and the overall guest experience. They are there to oversee the whole digital journey from the backend, ensuring that it is smooth from the time guests make a reservation until the time they check out, and assigning team resources to fix problems when they arise with the booking platform. They manage the PMS for IT leaders or other systems used by your hotel.
Through their tech expertise, they can facilitate and motivate their team to make the changes necessary to have a good workflow and smooth-running operations. They delegate tasks, monitor the activities of the team, and ensure that hotel staff have the tools necessary and work correctly to do their job. They also closely monitor cybersecurity and network problems and fixes to ensure the safety of guest data.
Find out how to improve hotel security.
The main skills every IT leader should have
An IT leader plays an important role at your hotel to ensure that the whole information technology system is in place and is functioning well on a constant basis. For this reason, it’s important for them to have a certain skill set that allows them to oversee this process, which consists of both hard and soft skills. Let’s take a look at some of the main abilities required.
An IT leader should be innovation-oriented, with the curiosity and the desire for their hotel to become among the world’s most innovative hotels. Keeping ahead of the latest technological trends is a must in order to give your hotel a competitive advantage, so it’s crucial that the person who leads this department be innovation-oriented. They must constantly research new market trends relating to technology to help give your hotel brand an edge.
They must also be innovative in looking for solutions to problems that arise in terms of software, hardware and cybersecurity, constantly monitoring the network to detect vulnerabilities, which could negatively impact your brand. Furthermore, they must also stay on top of necessary software updates and innovations to protect how data is managed and stored.
A natural leader
As the name of the role implies, an IT leader must possess strong leadership skills to manage the team and create a positive working environment. They must also take the lead on important technological decisions that could have repercussions on the business. To do this, they must have a deep understanding of how the hotel works and what is needed to optimize processes.
They must have the desire to impart knowledge and train employees to be equally vigilant on issues like data security, cyber threats, how to use systems, and how to optimize tools to meet business goals.
Information technology is a role that requires a lot of patience. You have to take difficult concepts and translate them into digestible bits of information that even someone with no tech knowledge will be able to understand. You also have to be patient with your team as they try to assess a tech problem and find a solution, which is not always easy.
Programming and coding are an important part of the job. Hotels deal with different software and systems on a daily basis, and the person leading this department must know how the different applications work and be able to troubleshoot with different departments when technical issues arise. They must be able to guarantee that the whole ecosystem is working as it should, and do the necessary programming in case something fails.
A hotel’s systems work on a network, and for each department to carry out their daily functions seamlessly, that network must be working perfectly. Networks provide the means for business communication and to carry out processes smoothly. The IT leader must have an understanding of how to set up and improve this network and lead their team to maintain it and ensure its safety, both for employees’ and guests' cyber safety.
Because machines aren’t perfect and they are bound to break down, an IT leader by nature must be problem-solving. They must be capable of asking the right questions to understand the issue and find the solution, while keeping track of results.
They must be able to break the problem down into digestible pieces so they can divide and conquer the work with their team and be able to explain the problem to the responsible department. They must manage the teams handling the problem, and step in to help find a solution when their team is unable.
In this article we’ve looked at the role of an IT leader in the hospitality industry in depth. We’ve seen what their role and responsibilities are and the main skills they must possess in order to carry out the job function to the best of their ability. Without a doubt, having a smooth-running IT department with a leader that is capable of carrying out the hotel’s strategies and objectives is key to a successful hotel, and to serving the business needs as it grows.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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Mews Data Dive 2023