The travel/ tourism and hospitality industries are considered to be amongst the most active in so far as the adoption and application of ICT is concerned. The obvious system evolution that underpins the vast majority of processes and procedures that define operations in these industries is evidence that technology has- and will continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of consumers. It is a mega-trend that local managed ICT service provider, Integr8, has been quick to recognise and leverage off.
Given that tourism and hospitality are high-growth areas of commerce and contribute substantially to the economy, they represent a natural and logical target for technology manufacturers, service providers and suppliers.
Reports suggest that the South African tourism sector is well on its way in achieving its goal of becoming one of the top twenty destinations in the world. South African President Jacob Zuma announced a 10.2% growth in international tourist visitors to the Country in 2012.
The Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has been quoted as saying, “With the recent launch of our Nothing’s More Fun than a Short Left campaign, we anticipate positive domestic tourist growth ratings as South Africans hit the road and explore the country.”
Stakeholders have witnessed how businesses from tourism agencies to hotels to car rental companies have eagerly sought to invest in mobility, social networking and automated, converged frontline service systems to remain competitive.
Major operators like Club Travel, a member of the Thebe Tourism Group, the Ambassador Hotel Group and Amadeus Southern Africa, have all invested in infrastructure upgrades and convergence on systems to maintain dominant positions in the market.
“From my side it is all about staff having the best tools to operate at the best speeds with no downtime. Managing your IT service provider to deliver on these and then accept responsibility and hence penalties when they don’t deliver. Without these speeds and uptime our business is affected which means our income,” explains Gary Mulder, Financial Director, Club Travel.
“Process efficiency is critical. Our clients expect it in their businesses and we need to prove that through efficiencies we can reduce our costs and hence charges to them. We must embrace systems to reduce the reliance on paper generation where we can and streamline internal processes from bookings right through to back office invoicing and audit processes,” he adds.
According to Peter Long, CEO at Amadeus and long standing client, “technology is developed and designed around people and not people for technology.
Therefore Technology should adapt as people’s needs evolve. This is top of mind for Amadeus. The pace of the change is much faster now than ever and it takes real determination to keep up with the constantly changing environment in different markets and cultures.”
Being the preferred ICT services provider to these high profile clients has helped to raise Integr8’s general profile in this competitive space.
The company’s joint CEO, Lance Fanaroff, suggests that part of the reason why technology continues to have such a profound impact on these industries is because of the immediate value derived by consumer.
“Like ICT, tourism and hospitality is dependent on the buy-in of consumers. Technology is constantly being used to deliver services to the consumer, to make the user experience exceptional – from having reliable wireless connectivity in hotel rooms right through to mobile apps and digital applications to enhance travel situations,” says Fanaroff.
According to Fanaroff, operators in these industries are compelled to adapt and adopt technology for the sake of client service. “Otherwise, it is simply a matter of time before they become obsolete.”
Renewed and continuous global interest in this rapidly developing sector is at least one reason for service providers to remain ahead of market developments and technology uptake Fanaroff adds.
As an example, he refers to an online article 52 Places to Go in 2014,, published by the New York Times, which ranks Cape Town as the number one destination on the list.