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Hotel operators focusing on management informatization
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-11-07 09:15

A group of figures in the authentic statistics report 2008 China Hotel Industry Study caught public attention: The single-room profit ratio of five-star hotels with three management models, namely international brand, domestic brand and self management, is 1:0.86:0.77, among which the difference is really great. Han Ming, president of China Hotel Association, expressed that the application level of hotel informatization technology was a key reason for this difference. The application level of hotel informatization technology in China is putting important impacts on hotel operation.

Hotel industry is one of the vigorously developing industries in recent years. From 2000 to the end of 2006, the number of star-hotel in China increased from 6029 to 12751, with an annual increasing rate of 15.3 percent, which was quite influential in the world. Up to 2007, there have been 361 five-star hotels and 1631 four-star hotels. It's estimated that from 2006 to 2010, the investment in the hotel industry of China will be 340 billion Yuan. The World Tourism Organization forecast that till 2020 China will become the world biggest tourism reception country. On that occasion, the total number of guest rooms is expected to be 9 million, which will make China the country owning the most guest rooms.

With the rapid increase of hotels, the competition is becoming more and more fierce and the profit will be shared by more. The latest statistics from Swiss Bank has reduced the RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increase and EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) anticipation in China hotel industry. In 2008 and 2009, the anticipated EBITDA will fall by 3 percent to 5 percent.

Under this circumstance, it's quite important whether hotels will establish scientific informatization management system.
Compared with the informatization application in other companies, the application scope of hotel informatization is wider. It is divided into management and operation, each playing its specific functions. Besides the internal computer management of the hotel, the digitalization technology has extended to weak current, energy management and wider fields, including door lock, elevator and kitchen equipment management, etc.

Informatization technology has also become an important way to save energy and reduce consumption. Hotels are one-hundred-percent big energy consumers. The sentence "Several ammeters and one confused account book." was once a classic description for the high energy consumption of hotels. Now the digitalized node control can even manage one water tap and one air conditioner and can avoid waste to the biggest extent. The application of UPS (uninterrupted power supply) has greatly improved the electricity safety in hotels.

Han Ming expressed that as a whole, now the hotel informatization in China held a high level in hardware development. The advanced hardware technique of informatization product offers good material basis for hotel informatization development. At the same time, influenced by their own features, such as the synchronism between the renovation and redevelopment cycle and the information technology development, the hardware equipment renovation is also fast in China. There is little difference between hotels with the same star-level.

Then why do domestic hotels with different management models have great difference in operation profits rate? Under the circumstance of little alienation in IT demand, the application level of the management software is the reason for this difference. This indicates that there is still great profit increasing space for most domestic hotels especially independent hotels.

Standardization and individuation has always been a topic in industry informatization. A fantastic phenomenon appeared in the hotel informatization process in China: Foreign companies didn't provide any individualized services, while domestic companies took individualized functions as a selling point and could meet nearly all the requirements proposed by the hotel.

Why is there such a phenomenon? Fan Guangyu believed that this was directly related with the pressure put by hotel managers on domestic companies. In China, with the fast development in hotel industry, investors from all circles stepped into this field. These "non-professional clients" only have facial understanding about the business relationship between each department; as a result, it's hard to push forward exact demands clearly to software companies. Deng Jianpeng said when he was working in hotel consulting company, he could often see engineers from domestic software producers amending programs on site for the clients. "In China this will probably be regarded as humanized service. However, in foreign countries this action will be complained by the hotel because it cannot guarantee safe application and renovation. What's more important, management software is a collection of management experience. It should guide the clients to increase operation efficiency, but not simply transfer the manual work onto the computer."

How can people change the current non-professional situation? It's commonly agreed to push forward the necessary standardization development. In fact, standardization recommendation and informatization application is quite common in foreign countries. Foreign hotel management group always apply the same set of system onto all the branches throughout the world. Each independent hotel is even forbidden to bring up demands to these companies directly.

In China standardization development can push hotel informatization in two aspects. In terms of outside environment, a certain standard will make a threshold for entering the industry, which will refuse some software producers without required qualification and professional knowledge.

What's more important, certain standard will offer guidance for hotel investors and managers. Related hotel management personnel said frankly that at present hotel seniors had different levels in software knowledge and valued it differently as well. Many hotel managers even had to ask the secretary to send emails for them. On the other hand, personnel dealing with hotel informatization had no say-so right on business. Therefore it was hard to program hotel informatization from the very foundation. 
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