News Feature | June 13, 2014

Biggest VAR Mistake In The Hospitality Vertical: Ignoring The "Human Touch"

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

VAR Tips For Hospitality Vertical

IT has made deeper in-roads into the hospitality industry; however, solutions providers have made some miss-steps along the way. In his article “Do ‘Hi-Tech’ and Hospitality Belong in the Same Sentence?” featured in Hotel Business Review, Rob Rush, CEO of LRA Worldwide, stresses that the hospitality industry is ultimately about people and that though the move toward increased use of IT is unavoidable, companies should not let technology replace the “human touch.”

He writes in the blog “One of the foremost elements of our point of view on the customer experience is that in any organization, people, process, and technology must be aligned around a shared vision and delivery of the optimal customer experience,” adding, “In my mind, however, the experience is more valued — for any type of hotel guest — if the technology stays behind the scenes and the most meaningful touch is a human one.”

When asked for their opinions of mistakes VARs and MSPs make integrating IT into the hospitality vertical, industry leaders’ responses related to the issue Rush addresses in his article.

Andre Nataf, senior business development manager, Digital Dining says a common mistake is not knowing what your prospects need to create the best customer experience. “The days of just being a great salesperson are done. You have to be a consultant that can quantify the benefits as well as the total cost of ownership. That means you have to be or have expertise in all facets of their business from restaurant marketing to kitchen management and everything in between.”

Terry Cruikshank, senior marketing manager, industry marketing, OKI Data Americas, comments that IT not only impacts people visiting the restaurant, but also the people who work there. “It is important for resellers to keep in mind that the restaurant hospitality industry experiences a high-turnover rate. Ease of use and the need to continually train employees who may not be technology savvy is important,” Cruikshank explains.

Joan Morales, director of channel marketing, Axcient, comments, “The mistakes we commonly see VARs, MSPs, and integrators making are related to focusing only on the hyped technologies instead of taking the time to review the basics — foundational technologies like network infrastructure and backup and disaster recovery. When approaching hospitality customers, IT service providers would do well to take a step back and discuss the client's IT needs, future vision, and how technology can enable better service.”