An evaluation of information technology uptake by hotels : a case of Nairobi County
Sustainability of hotels in Nairobi County are threatened by low levels of adoption of technology in their operations compared to their peers in the developed countries. If they can reach comparable levels of IT uptake then they will be exposed to the same level of technological potentials and advantages. Information Technology offers them a chance to quickly catch up and close this gap and ensure participation in a more equitable playing field and access new and lucrative global markets as they will benefit immensely from increased operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction, reduction in the degree of inefficiencies and uncertainty and achieve higher profitability and better management of their products. The purpose of this study was therefore to analyse the barriers/factors that are causing low information technology uptake by the hotels in Nairobi County and to develop/validate a framework that can be adopted by the hotels. The study used the descriptive survey research design method through use of mainly questionnaires to collect data. The major findings of the study are that although most of the hotels have established IT departments (89.6%), others outsource partly (54.2%), and IT resources was found to be insufficient (64.6%) in many establishments. The study also revealed that the areas that majority of hotels have adopted IT to a large extent are in security systems such as in using an integrated CCTV system (97.9%), intrusion detection security systems (58.3%) and biometric identification system (54.2%). The study further showed that among the processes that the hotels have integrated IT to a high extent are mainly in all core business processes such as process of check in/check out of guests (97.9%), process of information/data exchange (89.6%) and process of Food and Beverage control (83.3 %). Finally, the study showed that the main barriers to adoption of information technology in the hotels are high cost of implementation (35.4%) and difficulty in making returns on investment justification (20.8%), reluctance/fear of change (12.5%), lack of strategic management (10.4%), lack of clear vision and objectives (10.4%) and lack of corporate executive level support (10.4%). The results of the framework developed and validated show that 50% of the hotels sampled had a low score implying least readiness/willingness to adopt ICT. Based on the findings of the study, hotels must clearly define their business aims and objectives, then develop a strategy to most effectively use technologies that will enable them realize these objectives and invest an appropriate amount into infrastructure and applications as well as provide support to top management and IT skills training for employees. Focus must shift from adopting IT to mainly support operations to assisting management in strategic decision making and thereby help transition to a knowledge industry. They must aggressively embrace technologies such as smart systems and applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Property Management Systems, and Activities Management Systems to enhance their competitive edge.