APPLICATION OF INTERGRATED MIS IN A SERVICE BASED ORGANISATION (HOLIDY INN KINGSCROSS) LTD
The purpose of this assignment is to critically evaluate the application of integrated MIS in a service based organisation i.e. Holiday Inn Kings Cross / Bloomsbury in context of information flow across various departments that will ultimately facilitate decision-making in the three tiers of management and how the organization manages its whole business process with the efficient use of its current information system.
The use of information technology in the hospitality industry has grown tremendously over the past 20 years. This journey has not always been smooth, but it has become clear that information technology is now a critical competitive weapon in the industry. 1
Information technology was first used in the hospitality industry in the 1950s, when multinational hotel chains began experimenting with the developing field of computer sciences. Despite all challenges hospitality industry at large has pioneered many information system innovations.
Go and Pine (1975:307) define a channel of distribution as one that provides ‘sufficient information to the right people at the right time and in the right place to allow a purchase decision to be made, and provides a mechanism where the consumer can purchase the required product'.
In general it would give an insight of an intangible organization within the organisation that is Information System. It would also elaborate that how an organisation uses its flow of information for decision-making.
System theory is the foundation of a truly general understanding of the world; the concept 'system' is a universal analogy for any 'thing' at all regardless of its particular properties, origin or substance, thus it provides a unifying or synthesising force to counter the fragmenting or analytical aspects of science and empirical knowledge. With the use of this analogy one can consider aspects of things and phenomena that are applicable to any and all things and phenomena. It may be used to translate and unify concepts across the many fragmented and often estranged fields of knowledge. 2
Every system is composed of information and it also processes information, regardless of what form that information takes, whether its medium is computer files, light rays, particles of matter and so on. Information is simply discernible difference and may thereby manifest in any medium whatsoever. The name Information System Theory has previously been used to describe theoretical computer science, whereby a computer is a system that processes information, but information is far more general that just the contents of computer files or data structures.
A management information system (MIS) is a subset of the overall internal controls of a business covering the application of people, documents, technologies, and procedures by management accountants to solve business problems such as costing a product, service or a business-wide strategy. Management information systems are distinct from regular information systems in that they are used to analyse other information systems applied in operational activities in the organization. Academically, the term is commonly used to refer to the group of information management methods tied to the automation or support of human decision-making, e.g. Decision Support Systems.
One should not get confused with the term information system and information technology. Information system is acronym used for decision making on the provision of information by using different tools and information technology is one of the tools which an organisation uses to obtain and process data. In olden days when IT was not in use this data was produced manually but now with the help of IT an organisation can enter, process and manipulates data for managerial purposes efficiently.
Any tool of IT cannot make decision itself as it just can provide data to the management for an effective decision-making, planning, monitoring and strategic implementations. MIS allows the ease to the employees in collection of the data and is significantly useful for manipulating data analysis and can be used as Management by Objectives. Objectives are set using SMART ratio: that is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-specific.
Holiday inn introduction
It all started in 1951 when the founder, Kemmons Wilson, went on holiday with his family. Everywhere he went he found either very bad or expensive accommodation and he always had to pay extra for the children. On returning home he decided to build a motel, which the average man, with his family could afford.
Each Holiday Inn offers well-appointed rooms with big comfortable beds, colour television, direct-dial telephones, individually controlled air conditioning, private bathrooms and many other attractive facilities for the guests, in particular leisure facilities.
Perhaps the system's best-known policy is that of making no accommodation charge for children under 19 years of age when they use the same room as their parents. The first Holiday Inn opened in Memphis in 1952. The Holidex computerised reservation system was introduced in 1965. 5
Holiday Inn is the world's largest single hotel brand with over 2,000 hotels in 60 countries. Firoka (Kings Cross) Ltd opened the Holiday Inn Kings Cross / Bloomsbury in 1992. The largest Holiday Inn in Europe. Firoka (Kings Cross) Ltd commenced work on the building of a Holiday Inn in the City of London in 1997 and opened it in 1998.
Holiday Inn offers an exceptional standard of bedroom, together with a full range of traditional facilities and services. Designed to meet the needs of business and leisure guests, as well as conference delegates, these hotels provide excellent value throughout a worldwide choice of strategic locations.
Effective distribution is especially important in the hotel industry. GDS system in the hotel provides direct access to the travel agents to access to the hotel products. GDS allows agents to see real time availability/pricing information and to make instant bookings. GDS system is used more than 95% of travel agencies worldwide and it is essential for the hotel to sell its products through agents to the customers.
CRS is an acronym, used for Central Reservation System and is adopted by hotel to allow the customers to access hotel's products worldwide.
The OPERA Reservation System (ORS), a true centrally managed central reservation system, is at the heart of the hotel industry's first enterprise-wide room inventory management system. This comprehensively managed central reservation system offers reservations agents and global sales staffs the tools to maximize bookings and increase revenue in any size chain or multi-property environment. ORS easily handles all types of reservations — individual, group and party, company, travel agent, multi-legged, multi-rate, and waitlisted. 7
A great way to evaluate the information system in Holiday Inn can clearly be evaluated by SWOT analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
Information system was required by hotel that could deal with complexity of user specification in order to be user-friendlier interface. Users around the world could access it without any intermediary. Users specifications were to access the hotel and make the reservation in less time.
ORS has been developed which connected the brand hotel in a chain that even a user can reserve in any hotel round the world. Information is updated with real time sharing concept. So the travel agents and the end users have easy access for the packages and deals available within the hotel. In-house guests have access to the concierge desk for any information they need in order the make their stay more valuable.
Upon the receipt of information disseminated by customers to the hotel through ORS, the front office staff is able to expedite the process. The staff has already got the information through the system and is ready to receive the guests as the list of check in is updated on daily basis. Registration cards are handed over to staff by the shift leader, which reduces time consumption for check in process. Further this information is posted to EPOS and to main database through Opera System that is latest version for managing hotel information system relating to TPS.
ORS has the flexibility to allow users of different languages to operate efficiently. Additionally, it accepts payments in different currencies.
The rates are dependent on occupancy and duration of the stay, which helps the travel agents while making reservation.
Block booking allows the hotel staff to allocate a certain number of room adjacent to one other. This also fulfils the requirement of the guest that stay in groups.
It is very convenient and less time-consuming to search for a room using ORS in this particular hotel or sister hotels.
There are certain weaknesses still the company is facing resulting in limiting the use of technology-based system. A lack of understanding of the strategic role of computer based information system.
It also limits the scope of what information system is used within in the company.
Implementing the computer-based system is cost effective and the companies with easy access to capital can benefit from its applications.
There is a scope in the current information system that the company uses to attract customers using e-distribution and suppliers and/or contractors using e-procurement. This will benefit the company compared to its competitors. This potential ORS paves the way to develop new markets, as this technology is accessible with the development of World Wide Web.
Current information system the company have got the potential to bring for the competitive benefits by facilitating with customer (e-distribution) and the suppliers (e-procurement), transforming their scope into one of strategic importance.
The use of different channels of distribution has become the norm. In order to reduce cost and make the system more effective hotel is emphasising the direct electronic route. Company have the easy access to the capital to develop and maintain routs to the customers.
The reports generated by ORS allow you to examine your current position that leads to exploration of opportunities arising in the industry.
The resistance to information sharing amongst hotels in a global context restricts the potential growth of the industry. Hotels are reluctant to provide their information to the competitors resulting in lack of understanding for the end-user.
The unavailability of substitute information system as a contingency plan in case of failure would lead to a chaos in the hotel.
The provision of insufficient training to operational level staff may lead to adverse effect on the whole operation if the information is not entered precisely.
Information system is used for decision making by all three levels of management and it is linked to the overall business activities. Certain decision made in different tiers of management vary from one other based on the scope of the work and level of authority. Executive support system uses this information for strategic planning in the long run. This information is also used for budget forecasting and the product developed is emphasised. This information is produced in form of reports and graphs covering facts and figures over a particular period of time.
While looking at compiled produced by middle management executive level of management in Holiday Inn then analysis the current situation of the hotel within in brand. The weak areas need to be improved in order to get substantial market share. To make the strategies to compete with the competitors for instance, Premier Inn, Travel Lodge, Hilton and Marriott.
The role of middle level management is also vital in this case as it gives input in the decision-making process for thorough understanding of the situation as they hold detailed information. The information held by the people in the second tier of management enables them to make recommendation for better performance, as they are mostly concerned with the analysis of the data. The data might be of any kind including price, research, progress, competition and so on. They also suggest possible solutions for certain problems and corrective actions in case of deviation. The middle level management obtains numerous sets of reports that include relevant data for analysis using ORS.
Information system enables middle management to enforce the plans suggested by executive tier onto the department. It also enables them to control the process and make recommendations on the objectives set by ESS tier. Making budget, regulating inventory and cost analysis are done by the middle management on the basis of information obtained from operational level of management. For example, GSTS.
The hotel to assure quality service to the guests during their stay adopts GSTS, Guest Satisfaction Tracking System. The information obtained from the guests are randomly processed and the system generates the reports and presents them in form of graphs which are used to track the areas where they think the hotel can do even better. Holiday Inn goes to great lengths to listen to its guests, and to act on their feedback. Comments of the guests are significantly important to the hotel to continue the tradition of focusing on what really matters to most of its guests. This is done by randomly asking selected guests to complete survey form, asking for their feedback on their stay. A target number of responses as a sample have to be collected and sent to the head office to be analysed. A report is produced four times per year and sent to the hotel. This is an independent survey conducted by TNS. This survey is also used for star rating and performance of the hotel that gives Holiday Inn an advantage over its competitors. Technology has been configured into systems that help manage information to improve organizational performance.
Operational level of management is involved in primary actions by laying the foundation for the ultimate decision-making process.
Holiday Inn Kings Cross has got two restaurants. When a guest comes in to dine. Cashier confirms his account status from the MICROS. If his account is not there front office has to be involved for posting the check (electronic transaction). At the end of the day this information is passed to accounts department that finalizes the transaction in order to settle the account. When guest wants to check out he simply proceeds to front desk and all his accounts details are available on the system for his further perusal. Operation level management acts upon TPS (Transaction Processing System) and is mainly involved in order processing, EPOS, pay rolls and material movement etc.
Supply chain management is concerned with managing the flow of materials and information. This flow of resources should be managed from its very origins right up to the point where the customer consumes it- i.e. when the event is put on and being consumed.
Holiday Inn is using its information system effectively for its supply chain management in order to run its daily operations. Communication with the suppliers is mandatory in order to offer the best value of service to the customers. Within the hotel there are various departments, and as per requests they have to make things available. Hotel Industry's plans pivots on forecasting. Effective forecasting is done only when system updates information frequently in real time. In supply chain management this forecasting enables Holiday Inn to plan properly about the fill rate, lead-time and model stock. So it helps reducing cost of inventory and storage.
For instance, housekeeping is the department responsible for the rooms to be made to offer to guests. This department needs various products for example, linen, cleaning products, decoration products etc. with the better use of information system it has become efficient to fulfil its needs. House keeping staff is responsible to stock take and arrange reports for head of the department to requisite more as required. Housekeeping Manager then involves purchase manager, who actually arranges the purchase. By using this information accounts department makes its transaction. If the information is not dealt accurately, purchase may not be precise in terms of quantity. Information of suppliers and the products is updated in system with accuracy and used for further process. Hotel also gets services from contractors; these contractors are responsible to arrange staff for craft level activities.
As far as the tangible tool of information technology in MIS system are concerned. Main database is connected through LAN and all computers are connected with each other. ORS is accessible from every department. Micros and EPOS are connected with main server so every event or transaction takes place in real time. Rights of any department are reserved with electronic key and password, but ORS is accessible throughout the network. This database is then connected to the Internet so the reservations made online are updated; ORS then updates its pricing strategy on risk management principal as adopted by Airline Industry. Any transaction made by any department updates the database instantly so up to date information is available at any time.
Information system is an invisible organisation within the organisation. It combines technology with the business to get people information they need in order to be updated and perform their chaos more efficient and smarter way. Information system is lifeblood for the company.
MIS depends on culture of the organisation hence it also represents the culture of an organisation. It shows how a business is organised. It unites the departments of the organisation. It is an intangible asset for Holiday Inn.
Every system is as strongest as its weakest point until it is operated with utmost consideration. Holiday Inn information system is upto date but technology changes frequently and it is mandatory to be updated with the new technology.
Adequate training is required to get better use of Current Information System and for an edge on competitors.
A Contingency plan must be introduce for any partial failure of the system so the whole operation does not get adverse effect.
1. The International Hospitality Industry by peter O'Cornnor and Gabriele Piccoli Edited by Bob Brotherton chapter 5, page 110.
5. Holiday Inn Employee handbook page 3
8. The International Hospitality Industry by peter O'Cornnor and Gabriele Piccoli Edited by Bob Brotherton chapter 5, page 116
9. Management of events operations by Julia Tum. Philipa Norton. J. Nevan Wright page 116
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