As the hospitality industry becomes more technology-oriented, the School of Hotel Administration is looking for ways to expand its curriculum to respond to student and employer demands.
The hospitality industry has seen remarkable growth in the past 10 years, with the prevalence of online booking agencies, fast food dining and digital hotel check in process, among others.
However, according to Andrew Whitmore, a full-time lecturer in information systems in the Hotel School, “the hospitality industry has lagged behind other industries in their adoption of technology.”
Whitmore said that the SHA is orienting its curriculum around the fact that more technology companies are recruiting technically-capable hotel graduates on campus.
“Although the hotel school, in taking its cues from industry, has been a little bit slow towards adopting technology into its curriculum, I would expect the growth and expansion of IT and business analytics related curriculum, not only in the hotel school but also in the college of business,” he said.
The students in the hotel school, according to Whitmore, have also shown more interest in the Information System concentration at the hotel school and the Information Science minor.
Prof. Bart Selman, computer science, who was recently interviewed on this subject in The New York Times, studies how technology affects the workplace and claims to have witnessed a “tripling of enrollment” in his computer science classes over the past few years. He also noted that not everyone should become computer scientists.
“Students need to receive a general college education with their chosen specialization, but should possess some knowledge of computer science,” he explained.
With the increasing adoption of technology, the automation process by machines not only makes people more efficient but also decreases the demand for employees.
“Companies are driven by efficiency and cost reduction, and they only introduce technology when the cost is lower than the cost of labor,” Selman said. “As a result, only certain types of jobs will be replaced, but not very low level jobs, such as cleaning, because robots are costly.”
Therefore, Whitmore noted it may be crucial to consider whether the automation process in the long term will generate fewer needs for technology-related jobs.
“The people with technical skills would be less affected and would have a higher likelihood of retaining their jobs because companies need people to maintain and improve the technological systems,” Whitmore said. “These are the kinds of things that our graduates are positioned to do.”