Management Information Systems for Tourism and Hospitality

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Introduction to Information technology

Information technology plays an important role in tourism & hospitality industry as it helps them in maintain their records & transactions electronically (Govardus and Heijden, 2009). These companies are using It to attract new customers by promoting their services and products online. This report specifies role of MIS in tourism & hospitality industry and how these system can be used to achieve competitive advantage. Different options of database and data warehouse for this industry are specified here. Use of MIS and ecommerce in achieving long & short term goal of organization are described in this study. System requirement for designing IT system in this organization are specified here. Benefits of CRM and ERP in tourism & hospitality industry are described. Various security & privacy issues related to IT system in this company are discussed in this report.

Role of MIS within Tourism and Hospitality industry

In an enterprise management information system is a general computer system term which provides information of a business operation. In order to gather relevant data continuously, computerized systems are used from both external & internal environment of an organization (Leffingwell, 2011). The objective of management information system is to design & implement routines, processes & procedures which provide appropriate report in consistent, accurate and timely manner. MIS application in travel and hospitality industry is used to keep record of all employees & customers related to that organization & it keeps detail information of all the activities performed in that particular company. In order to track information of cash flow and notifying them against waste & inaccuracy, MIS is used in this industry. As tourism and hospitality is very busy industry therefore this application assists managers & staff to maximize schedule of individuals (Oz, 2008). As it is an application of computer system therefore it is used to manage primary components of computer devices such as software, hardware, using of information & data for decision making, documentation & development of data in form of organization, groups or individuals and procedures for design. MIS is used to define how organizations, groups or individuals design, evaluate, utilize, manage & implement their systems to generate such information which helps them in improving effectiveness & efficiency in decision making. MIS is related to systematic & organized collection, distribution, organization, storage, analysis and managerial control of data for performing business operations in an organization. In hospitality & tourism industry MIS is focusing on certain areas which are described below:

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Organization wide information: A big picture is provided by MIS related to overall information in an organization which is generally focused on customer such as hospitality & tourism (Powner, 2011). The information which is strategically important for an organization is stored in form of reports & data sheets.

Decision making process: This application generates information in form of reports which is used by companies to help them in decision making process. MIs is used by organization to prepare themselves for taking decision related to upcoming business endeavour.

Computer based system: Effective & swift services to customer are provided by tourism & hospitality industry if they have implemented MIS in their organization (Smith and Correa, 2005). This application provides real time information of company which helps them to cater needs of customers in better & effective way.

Analysis & managerial control: Insight to overall managerial process is provided to manager in TUI travel plc by better integrated & formulated information & data. With help of MIS in an organization a firm control over managerial processes & activities is enabled.

Information regarding decision support management is enabled by management information system in hospitality & tourism industry. This system supports all level of management in an organization and helps them to achieve organizational goals in efficient & effective manner (Taylor, 2004). TUI travel plc can identify their weakness through this system as it generates employee performance report, revenue report, sales report and various other reports. This company can achieve competitive advantage with help of MIS as it provides strategic reports at real time which allows them to address weakness at that particular time. Managers in TUI can prepare themselves against emerging challenges addressed in reports generated through this system. Strategically formulated report has opportunity to maximize benefit from external environment and prevent effects from harmful events. Ineffectiveness & delays regarding customer preference & taste can be eliminated (Brown, 2011). This system helps in managing customer data effectively which organizations in tourism & hospitality industry can use to perform various promotional & direct marketing activities. Information provided by MIS helps an organization in management control, transaction processing, strategic planning and operational control. MIS plays important role in hospitality & tourism based organization like TUI travel plc in managing their operations & administration effectively.

Information technology within TUI travel plc can manage function of various departments properly & it helps them in maintaining relation globally to their clients. In order to enlarge its services to customer this company uses numerous IT components such as customized software & hardware components (Dogru, 2010). With this application organizations can automate large section of distribution and it also helps them in performing various promotional activities. Millions of customers all around world are benefitted from various technological improvements such as application & network consolidation. After implementing Information system in an organisation various opportunities can be gained.

Implementation of information system helps TUI to gain competitive advantage & strengthen its core competencies. Globalization can be achieved through IT systems and customers can be targeted all over the world. Operational cost is decreased as it makes communication quicker, efficient & cheaper. Cost effectiveness to business process has been bought up by computerization and it helps them in attracting more customers which lead to rise in profits (Hall, 2010). IT system fills cultural gap between individual from different culture as it allows them to communicate with each other effectively and help them in exchanging their ideas & views to other individuals. With these systems business can be opened for 24 hours a day and it is used as an important weapon by TUI to survive in market of tourism & hospitality industry. Customers from all around the globe can access services offered by this company at any time through these information systems. Competitive advantage & an edge can be provided to enhance the customer services with installation of sophisticated & modern IT systems. Internal & infrastructure performance of this company can be enhanced with modernization of information system. This helps in creating new streamline channels & integrating multiple channels. The concept & issues related to these systems are evolving from time to time (Margetts, 2012). Now these systems can be used to enhance knowledge of employees by implementing online training & information sharing. Organization can build better customer relationship with their customers, employees & other stakeholders as it helps in establishing a strong rapport. There are several uses of information technology system in an organization of hospitality & tourism industry which can be used by them to achieve competitive advantage.

Different types of databases used in tourism and hospitality

A variety of database according to their advantages & disadvantages can be used by an organization in tourism & hospitality industry (Rahimi and Haug, 2010). Organizations select their database according to their need, cost involved, amount of data to be stored and size of the company. These databases are described below:

Hierarchical database: It is one of the oldest database which is used by tourism & hospitality industry for storing and organizing data such as making travel reservation. Data in this type of database is organized in pyramid fashion where a tree like structure is formed (Kimball and et. al., 2011). Top to down structure is used by hierarchical database and it is used to form both higher level & lower level records. In order to search information in this type of database, search is conducted from top to down of the pyramid until appropriate information is found. The major advantage of using this type of model in tourism & hospitality industry is that data can be updated & accessed rapidly because relationship & structure between records is defined already. In order to add new record, entire database must be redefined.

Network database: There are lot of similarities between hierarchical & network database but main difference is that structure of this database look more like interconnected network. Network database is more useful and flexible as it allows more connections among different types of data stored (Malinowski and Zimanyi, 2008). This type of database must be defined in advance and lower data can be connected to more than one level of higher data in network database. The number of connections which can be made between different types of data is limited in this database model.

Relational database: Different files in relational database can be connected to each other with help of key fields or common data elements. This model uses table to store data and each table has its own key which help in identifying a particular row or data. This database model is more reliable & flexible as it allows searching of data in real time with help of unique key specified to database table. Relational database is more appropriate for tourism & hospitality industry as it allows individual to link specific information of preferences or needs with customer information and it is easy to search information in this type of database.

Object oriented database: This type of model is more complicated than other databases as it uses variety of media sources to store information such as photographs, graphics, audio, video, etc. The output generated from this type of model is in multimedia format which can be helpful for hospitality & tourism industry (Plattner and Zeier, 2012). Most of the organizations are not willing to use this model as it is costly than other database model.

Role of data warehousing in tourism and hospitality

A relational database which is designed for analysing and obtaining information for database rather than transaction processing is called a data warehouse. Data which is derived from transaction data is stored in data warehouse and it can also store data from other sources. Data is consolidated from various resources and it helps in separating transaction workload from analysis workload. There are different types of databases which can be used in tourism & hospitality industry. Database in an organization is used to store data & information in appropriate manner and whenever individual needs that information can be obtained easily.

Use of E-Commerce & MIS in Hospitality & tourism industry

Information is the most important part of an organization as it allows them to communicate easily with customers & employees. For success in both sort & long run, organizations are focusing on collocation & use of information in appropriate manner. In tourism industry a lot of useful & appropriate information is required therefore companies are focusing on attaining quality information of both external environment & customer domain (Dholakia, 2002). In tourism & hospitality industry, development of internet services has helped in providing valuable information to customers. E tourism provides various opportunities regarding global access & speedy communication with organization at minimal expense. There are various benefits of using management information system & e commerce within an organization. Hospitality & tourism industry is most affected by their use as they are dependent on distribution of information of their products & services on these technologies. E commerce tools & techniques use internet to collect and record information about numerous stakeholders of their organization such as customer, employees, public, government & media. E commerce is a modern information technology which is used to execute, manage & conduct business transaction within an organization (Plant, 2000). With help of internet all elements of a commercial transaction such as purchase, advertising, delivery of services and payment can be conducted. This technology provides interaction with more than one person in multimedia environment and it is relatively low cost system which is unconstrained with space & time. With help of e commerce system buying & selling of services in tourism & hospitality industry is conducted over electronic systems such as computer networks & internet.

 Organizations in this industry use various technologies such as electronic fund transfer, mobile commerce, internet marketing, electronic data exchange, online transaction processing, automated data collection and inventory management system to perform their operations effectively & efficiently (Zongqing, 2004). These technologies are further used in linking consumers, communities & business in selling, buying & delivering of products & services. E commerce helps this organization in optimising & integrating various operations within this business. MIS is used by various organizations as it provides information about their business operations. With use of this system individuals in a company can perform their task faster and take appropriate strategic decisions. The major objective of this system is to provide detailed report of procedures & processes in an organization which can be further used in preparing future plans and taking preventive actions against harmful events. MIS can help TUI travel plc in achieving both short & long term business objectives. Routine business transactions can be performed quickly & flow of information can be increased with use of ecommerce technologies and MIS system in this organization (Smith and Chiozza, 2001). These systems are helpful in generating reports on activities of customers, monthly expenses and other activities within this organization. Some of the benefits of these technologies in achieving long & short term objectives are described below:

Expand geographical reach: This Company can attract customers all over country and across the world with help of e commerce & MIS system. There is no limit of e commerce application as customer from anywhere in world can use their services. TUI travel uses MIS to store information of customers all over world and contact them on timely basis to use their services.

Open 24*7: With e commerce application of this company, customers can use their services 24*7. More customers are attracted toward this technology as they can access to services offered by tourism & hospitality industry irrespective of location & time constraint.

Increase customer satisfaction: MIS and ecommerce application of this company will provide an extra access of services offered, prices, billing information & shipping details to customer (Plunkett, 2009). Individuals can book their trip or rooms from anywhere in the world and with these applications purchase, booking and shipment will be faster. This allows them to build more customer satisfaction among customers.

Build customer loyalty: MIS will help this organization to generate reports about customer preference and needs which can be further used in their e commerce application to proved them better & effective services. This unique way of providing services will help them to build more customer loyalty.

Increase brand or product awareness: E-commerce will help TUI travel plc to perform various promotional and marketing activities over internet (Gray and Zappala, 2012). Through this effort made by company more customers would be attracted and awareness of individuals toward their brand will increase.

Increase overall business sales: With help of information system an organization can become global provider of its products & services and allow more customer to us them. The sale of company will be increased automatically as more customers use their services which are available via its internet portal.

Create new relationship opportunities: MIS & ecommerce technologies allow an organization to build relationship with stakeholders & customers as it provide access of their services to customers. Ecommerce application will help this organization to approach various business partners such as travel operators, hotel owners & others for providing better services to customer.

Facilitates easy dissemination of information: Decision support system is used by TUI travel plc to take logical & valid reason (Clair, 2005). They use customer information stored in their database to generate report for planning future objectives.

As mentioned above there are various advantages of both MIS & e commerce systems in achieving long & short term organizational objectives. Therefore it is important for an organization like TUI travel plc to implement various these new ecommerce & Information system for performing their operations effectively and better way.

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System design requirement for Tourism & hospitality industry

Requirements of a system are defined by system analysis and these requirements are fulfilled by creating system design (Puus and Mets, 2010). In order to implement identified requirements in system analysis next step which individual uses is system design. It is necessary to design a unique management information system in TUI travel Plc. There are various system requirements for building system design for an organization in tourism & hospitality industry. These are explained below:

Input: There is need of input in order to perform an operation or process. The quality of output depends upon quality & nature of processing systems & inputs. Every information system demands for input and in relation to this industry input is related to information needed by customer for organizing a trip. These inputs must be kept in mind while designing information system.

User interface: It is essential that organizations should have an easy & interactive interface between company & customer. User interface must be easy to use, error free & logical (Stroud and Nagy, 2011). User must not face any problem while using designed information system of company. Customer satisfaction is decreased when there is sophisticated or complex user interface. E commerce system of this company must be easily accessible & easy to navigate.

Design of database: Database is used in an organization to process meaningful information from large volume of raw data. Logical data model is used in a company to design database. It is very easy to store raw inputs in database but it is very difficult to maintain this database and derive meaningful information whenever necessary (White, 2000). In order to manage data in future it is essential to arrange & sort input in tactical way. The database of TUI should contain all the information related to travel location & other facilities which this company is providing.

Processing: It is necessary for an information system to convert raw data into meaningful information. Processing of data takes place in database when user provides some input through the user interface of information system. There is need of some kind of processing mechanism such as enterprise resource planning, decision support system, transaction processing system or customer relationship management system to process data automatically.

Output: This is information which is generated after processing of data provided by customer through user interface in form of input. Information system uses certain value addition process to deliver asked information (Hallowell, 2001). For this company output refers to information delivered to customers regarding their trip or other travel information.

Control: In order to monitor all the above activities it is necessary to have some control mechanism. Input provided by user must be reasonable & within determined limit and it must be processed according to organizational procedures to deliver desired output.

Security: In order to protect data from various security issues such as unauthorized access, malware or intrusion attack, hackers, etc. designed information system must possess some security mechanism (Cristóbal and et. al, 2011). System should be integrated with anti spyware & anti malware programs and these system should have extensive layer of firewall so that no user for outside can access their systems,

Documentation: It is necessary to document all the processes which have taken place in designing the information system. If any problem related to system arises than only solution available with user is documentation of system.

TUI travel plc must design such information system which has unique competitive advantage and easy to use. In this world of technological advancement & competition, it is essential to have basic, easy & logical design for system interface.

Use of IT to support customer relationship management

IT system in tourism & hospitality industry helps an organization in maintaining information database regarding preferences, needs & economic capacity of customers. Information system helps this organization to identify the target customers, their locations & their choices in respect of travelling (Lubbe, 2003). With this valuable information of customers, companies are able to cater their unique needs in effective & efficient way. CRM in TUI travel plc will enable them to focus on customers and help the in achieving organizational objectives. Information technology is used by CRM in this organization to create a cross functional enterprise system which is integrated of various customer processes in customer services, marketing & sales. With help of this system company will be able to interact with their customers easily. Single common view of customers such as all aspects of customer like their status, history & account can be accessed in real time by CRM in this company. Direct marketing campaigns such as qualifying needs for targeted marketing and tracking & scheduling direct marketing mailings are accomplished by marketing professionals (Smith, 2004). Marketing professionals can manage & capture customer response data with help of CRM software and this stored data in CRM database can be used to analyze customer value of organization’s direct marketing campaigns. Data which is captured in CRM database can be used to provide appropriate information of products & services in relation to customer query. This software can be used by companies to entertain various problems faced by their employees and customers regarding their services. Real time access & service raps are provided by these software tools to the common customer database. The responsibility of customer service manager is to create, manage & assign services requested by customer. In order to identify & target most profitable & long time customers, this software is used by various companies in tourism & hospitality industry. This helps them to retain their customer for long time & generate more revenues from these customers. CRM provides customer value to individuals and strategic business value to organizations. Companies are using information technology to support customer relationship management at a speedy rate.

Role of Enterprise Resource planning within Tourism & Hospitality industry

One of the most powerful industries these days is tourism & hospitality industry and modern travel companies use ERP system to meet their demands. It enables travel organizations to maintain cooperation between different departments, give exceptional customer service, provides structured information in real time and securing daily work accomplishments (Corr and Stagnitto, 2011). Efficiency of an organization is increased & operational cost is decreased by ERP system. Every level of tourism & hospitality industry such as service, finance, human resource, investment, region planning, decision making and payoff analyzing can be managed through this system. It helps in connecting all the department of TUI travel plc to share information at real time. There are various features of ERP software which are developed for tourism & hospitality industry. Some of them are explained below:

HR management system: In order to mange human resource & capital this system is filled with integrated information which contains employee list and time sheet. This information is used to keep records of all employees and their performance in the organization.

Financial accounting module: This system is designed to keep record of revenue, expenditure & assets of company which can be used to review financial status in real time.

Report management system: It is used to keep core operational information of company such as check in/ checkout reports, employee report & occupancy report.

Enterprise controlling module: Performance indicators & company’s success factors are analyzed through this module.

Marketing & pre sales management system: In order to target new customer base and manage marketing campaigns this management is used by various companies.

Companies in tourism & hospitality industry are using each & every tool to achieve competitive advantage in this world of competition. There is no need for buying multiple software systems, as ERP system performs various functionality of an organization. It helps in collecting data more accurately & efficiently and manages contact with different hotels in order to discuss optimal conditions (Hasan, Morris and Probets, 2013). There is a real time interaction with clients and easy & quick information can be provided to customer with this system. It is more secure than any other system as ERP system can track all the transactions taken place via this system. Staff of TUI travel plc can use this system effectively as it is easy to use and helps them in generating various reports which can be used to take strategic decision for organization. ERP system supports many human resource processes such as salary to personal requirement planning, financial record keeping and execution of benefits administration.

Ethical & privacy issues on storage & use of data

Information technology in Tourism & Hospitality industry allows companies to collect, store, retrieve, interchange and integrates feasible data or information in easy & quick way. This technology has beneficial effect on effectiveness & efficiency of computer based information system in an organization. In tourism & hospitality industry a lot of both customer & employee information is stored and retrieved. Therefore it is necessary to consider various security aspects related to that system. Most of the reservations in this industry are done over a online portal and companies database store various information of customers such as their name, address, financial information, email address and so on. In recent years with increase in technology, security issues related to them has also increased (Gabbar and Suzuki, 2005). Security breaches in information system in these organizations are taking place more often. Hackers can steal personal & private information of various customers & employees, once they have access to information system of company. Major security issues in this organization are attack form malware or spyware, hackers, virus, Trojans, etc. These types of threats can damage the information system within an organization and which can further affect information of their customers.

In twenty-first century privacy has become of the most important concept in information technology. Privacy can be differentiated into various categories such as private communication and personal information. The information or conversation which user does not want to share with other individual is private communication and information which is specific to an individual is called personal information (Manzoor, 2010). Information which is stored and retrieved through information system in an organization has negative effect on privacy issues related to an individual. Some of the privacy issue related to this industry are shown below:

  • Various companies are using information of customer to market their additional business services.
  • Accessing computer records and private e mail conversation of individuals.  
  • Misuse of collected information of clients gained from news groups or internet websites.  
  • Building customer profile without their knowledge by collecting personal information such as email address, telephone numbers and other personal information is another privacy issue.

The ethical issues related to information technology in this industry can be electronic monitoring of people in work place. This technology threatens individual’s privacy in workplace and lead to create a feeling of fear from being watched. Private communication of individual is intercepted when someone read or intercepts their private e mail messages. Another ethical issues which individual faces is that when company merger personal information of client in central database without their knowledge (Lucey, 2005). Some companies obtain private information of individuals from shopping card they use as it contains a chip with all personal information of client. This information enables companies to target specific individual as personal & buying behaviour of individuals is obtained from it. Crackers & hackers are another major threat to privacy of data stored in information system. Most of internet resources such as World Wide Web, news group, chat & email are wide open source of information which contains private and personal information. There security is major concern for most of the organizations in tourism & hospitality industry. Website of these companies captures information of users when they visit them in form of cookies which can be accesses by service provider. This information can be shared further with other marketing companies to launch some marketing campaign or promotional activity.

Companies should take some initiative to control these issues related to privacy of users to protect both personal & private information. In order to protect privacy of individual there is a Federal Privacy Act of 1974 which holds these companies to share private information of users without their permission. This organization must implement some policies regarding identity theft in order to protect user’s identity & information to be safe. Most of the transactions today are taking place over internet; therefore it is necessary to prevent clients for various fraud activities where hackers use their credit card detail to purchase other items and their identity to for false identification (Stoyles, Pentland and Demant, 2003). If both client and companies are using encryption in their email than their private conversation can be protected and their message can be sent or received safely. Now companies are sending spam message to individuals through emails or phones which have affected privacy of various individuals. In order to control this privacy problem there is an act called Can Spam Act 2003 for controlling it. This act set standards for controlling distribution of commercial email and spam messages send in it. Companies can also ask their internet service providers to not reveal personal information of their user to other marketing organizations or mailing list providers.

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Conclusion

From this report it is clear that there is use of information system in tourism & hospitality industry. TUI travel plc can use management information system to gain competitive advantage against their competitors. In order to store relative information of clients & employees, company uses various database and data warehousing techniques. This facility allows member of organization to access specific information about company or customers. E commerce in this industry helps them to attract new customers all around the globe and performing their operations 24*7. MIS & e commerce helps this organization to achieve both long & short term objectives of organization. Customer relationship management helps TUI travel plc to cater specific needs & requirement off their customers to retain them for long time.

References

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