The Challenges of Navigating Through the Hospitality Supply Chain - Part I.
This is the first of a multi-part series on the Hospitality Supply Chain.
The saying a chain is only as strong as its weakest link especially holds true within the Hospitality Supply Chain. Traveling, working or just trying to navigate through the channels of hospitality is fraught with challenges, and some are beyond our immediate control.
So what are the ‘links' that you may encounter within the Hospitality Supply Chain? The following list is neither in any definitive order, nor can I project on how or which link(s) you may access, but I would bet that we all have used one if not all of the links in the past.
Hospitality Supply Chain Links:
Direct phone call to Airline, Hotel, Restaurant, Spa, etc.
Travel related books
Travel Information Websites (ex. magazines, travel portals, blogs)
Country, City, Region Travel and Tourism Website
Internet Booking Agent (ex. cheap tickets sites, Expedia, Orbitz)
Specific Hotel Websites
Hotel Website Portals (ex. multiple hotels for an area, listing of similar category hotels)
Specific Restaurant Websites
Specific Spa Websites
If you just glanced at the list, the size alone would lead you to believe that there may be a few challenges in successfully navigating through this list in planning and enjoying your holiday. I would define ‘successfully navigating' as there is consistency in what you read, hear, and finally experience. This may be a brief definition, but by and large we all have taken the information journey during our planning and decision process with the results ranging from the holiday being beyond our expectations, to being exactly what we had expected, or a disaster. The poor results may stem from poor planning, and unmanaged expectation, while the superlative results may stem from excellent planning, the serendipitous encounter along the way and/or the excellent hospitality received.
Regardless of the outcome we still have the Hospitality Supply Chain to deal with and with the advent of the Internet the consistency of information has become suspect as well as abundant. In many cases there is a loose relationship that is strung across the various links of the Hospitality Supply Chain. The passing of reservation information or communicating special requests to a hotel, the scheduling of a time to enjoy a museum, or the availability of a special attraction are all critical elements at the core of the Hospitality Supply Chain. Behind each element and each link there is still a human touch required, we can not leave it all to the computers and software to carry out our communication. So I beg to ask the question - "is the weakest link in the Hospitality Supply Chain due to software, the advent of the Internet, too many touch points, or is the weakest link due to a lack of follow through by the service provider to the end customer to ensure that the information that they are using is up-to-date and accurate. Are we becoming sloppy at the cost of the end consumer? Are we letting the less formal and less mature Internet medium rule our decision process, and in some cases the end result?"
I do not exclude any of the links listed from the questions I have raised. Having utilized each of the links numerous times, I can personally say that each has its flaws, as well as each has its positive points. A supply chain is a relationship between entities with the more effective supply chains containing an understanding, a formal process, and a formal communication infrastructure to ensure the success of the product and process being handled within the supply chain.
The most important element to navigating through the Hospitality Supply Chain is hospitality; either in how the on-line websites interact with you, or the human interaction. I know that I expect the experience to be straightforward, informative and professional, and the facts and information to be accurate.
I have posed a few questions and would appreciate hearing from the readership on what you feel are the difficulties in navigating through the Hospitality Supply Chain. I will provide my views as well as the inputs I receive over the next few months.
May your navigating be safe, rewarding and fun; until next month!
I thank you for your continued support of Luxury Experience magazine, and as always, your comments are welcome, so please send comments to
© June 2006. Luxury Experience. http://www.luxuryexperience.com/. All rights reserved.