A preview of the 2016 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Survey offers a rare global insight into the type of person working in the hotel IT sector and their responsibilities.
NB This is a viewpoint by Tanya Venegas, executive director of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Americas Research Center
The professional field for hospitality technology professionals is a growing segment within the hospitality industry as it coincides with the prominence of technology in hospitality operations and guest services.
In 2002, HFTP began gathering compensation and benefits information on hospitality financial and technology professionals on a biennial basis. The technology landscape has changed dramatically since then, but some challenges remain constant - data security, network security, electronic payments and in-room technologies were talked about in industry publications over a decade ago and remain relevant today.
The 2016 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Survey was distributed this February to the HFTP membership and other industry professionals working in hospitality financial and technology. Overall, there were 483 responses to the survey with 10.8 percent of these responses coming from those with the primary job function of information technology or information systems.
Nearly two-thirds of the responses came from individuals based in the US (67.3 percent), Canada (9.6 percent) and other countries (23.1 percent). To get a deeper insight into the technology respondents, analyses were done by gender and age range. An overwhelming majority of responses came from male respondents (95 percent) and those in the 35 to 54 age range (72.5 percent).
Current Position and Previous Job Experience
Consistent with the survey conducted in 2002, the majority of responses in the 2016 survey were from individuals with the title of IT director or manager of IT (40 percent). Other responses in the 2016 survey came from those with c-level or corporate job titles (16 percent), regional/area IT managers (8 percent), and information technology project managers (8 percent).
Overall, technology respondents have been in their current position for 8.2 years. When analyzed by age range, there is a significant jump in longevity in current positions between those who are under the age of 45 (5 years) and those 45 or older (11.1 years).
Some would say this disparity can be explained by the Millennials - those aged between 19 to 35 - because they move from one job to next more easily than other generations. But compared to previous HFTP surveys, this stereotype does not hold up.
Over the years, those in the younger age groups (34 or younger) averaged approximately 3 to 3.5 years in their current position. Most individuals in entry-level positions tend to change jobs frequently to expedite their climb up the corporate ladder. The true test will be to track Millennials as they move into more senior level positions and determine if they continue the trend of changing jobs every few years or stabilize like past generations.
When questioned about prior experience, half indicated that they spent their entire career in the hospitality industry (50.4 percent). Technology professionals who started outside the hospitality industry stated they previously worked in other industries such as construction and manufacturing, retail, banking and finance, insurance, and education.
The most popular previous positions included IT director (33.3 percent) and regional/area information technology manger (21.4 percent).
Those responding to the 2016 survey were asked about their job responsibilities - such as number of employees, properties and departments supervised - in order to provide better salary comparability between organizations.
Those working at the property level and overseeing a single property tended to either have no supervisory responsibility (30.4 percent) or supervised 3 to 5 employees (34.8 percent).
For individuals overseeing multiple properties at the regional/corporate level, most respondents did not have any supervisory responsibility (30.8 percent) or they supervised 3 to 5 employees (23 percent).
At the regional/corporate level, managers indicated they supervised a wide range of properties (three to 400+ properties) and employees (30 to 20,000+ employees).
Respondents were also asked about the departments as well as their participation in any on the executive committee. Nearly eighty percent (78.9 percent) of respondents indicated they supervised the technology department. In addition to technology, several individuals stated they are also responsible for the marketing department (7.7 percent) and security (7.7 percent) at their property or within their organization, depending on their level within the company.
It is interesting to note that 36.2 percent of individuals who indicated they have the primary job function of accounting and finance also supervised technology at their property/company. There is certainly some overlap with accounting and finance employees, especially in the club environment where there typically is not a dedicated IT manger.
Overall, those with technology positions averaged slightly higher salaries than their accounting and finance counterparts - $103,822 compared with $102,172. But the contrary is true when analyzing overall bonuses, with accounting and finance personnel ($16,520) edging out their technology counterparts ($15,059).
This averaged to a net difference of $189, with techies barely beating out those with accounting and finance jobs.
For a more detailed analysis of this survey, look out for the 2016 issue of the HITEC Special Report, set to be released in conjunction with HITEC 2016 and available on the HITEC Bytes site.
NB This is a viewpoint by Tanya Venegas, executive director of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Americas Research Center. It appears here as part of Tnooz's sponsored content initiative.
NB2 The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference 2016 (HITEC) takes place from June 20-23 in New Orleans, La., USA. It offers attendees essential education on the industry's leading topics, access to world-renowned experts and hundreds of hospitality technology vendors, networking opportunities with peers from around the globe and countless resources. Register at www.hitec.org.