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The Hero Hospitality Needs

I realized several things during the production of this issue of HT. First, there is a superhero analogy for just about anything. Second, I still don’t approve of Ben Affleck as Batman. Finally, just as superheroes use their amazing powers for the greater good, so too must CIOs use the technology at their disposal for the greater good of the enterprise. 

Not a single CIO interviewed for this issue’s cover story relayed a message of IT as an island. Rather, every executive agreed that the best CIOs recognize the importance of having a seat “at the table” and understand broader business goals. 

As Brian Garavuso, CIO, Diamond Resorts Intl., shared, “IT needs to be an integral part of shaping the business strategy. Not from a technology standpoint, but as the department that bridges most aspects of the business and provides the over-arching tools.” Ultimately, this is how technology executives will be able to use their knowledge to steer decision-making, and not just IT for the sake of IT, but IT with a greater purpose.

This concept crystallizes when considering customer engagement and experience, the focus of this month’s research report, the 2017 Customer Engagement Technology Study. Sifting through data from hotels, restaurants and consumers it’s evident that the rapid growth of mobile and social has created an environment where businesses have no choice but to be tech companies. The challenge however, is how an industry such as hospitality — that is built on high-touch experiences — combines that seamlessly and comfortably with the high-tech. The winners in the customer experience game will be those that manage to exist with technology — letting it do the things mere mortals cannot, often without the guest even realizing it was there.

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