Space Age Versus Stone Age

» Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Contracting for Travel Services, Electronic Travel Systems | 0 comments

I often think about the Electronic Travel Systems (ETS) that have recently been developed by contractors and implemented by the government, and I can’t help recalling the “not so good-old-days” when the less sophisticated systems ruled this environment.  Consequently, things were much more cumbersome and time consuming.

Before today’s technology the tools we were constrained to from a hotel perspective seem primitive.  Although I have never had the prodigious opportunity to utilize the ETS/DTS from an end user vantage, I believe my experience can lend testimony to the giant technological leaps and improved systems we have come to develop and implement in a very short time.  I feel the same holds true in most aspects of business and life.

Before global, web-based RFP systems and advanced lead delivery instruments existed, nearly everything in the hotel world was accomplished with paper documents via mail and/or fax.

I recall the year 1996.  It was my first RFP season and I was one of several support employees tasked with completing global, consortia RFP.  I remember the burden of literally being on an RFP assembly line that my boss later coined “the Mamba Line.”  The first step of this grueling, extensive procedure was delivering hard copies of RFPs to our entire hotel community via mail.  It was repetitive, monotonous work.

Needless to say, things didn’t get any easier when we received the completed RFPs back from the hotels.  Many late nights were spent on corrections, revisions and renegotiations.  I personally recall endless afternoons and triplicate copies at the Xerox machine

As I am quickly approaching 40 years of age, I consider myself fortunate to have lived in two different worlds; in the first I was limited to the tools and lack of sophistication of yester-year, however, in the second I have had access to the speed and efficiency of  21st century technology.

In my opinion, most Generation Y Millennials could not image life without Blackberries, cell phones, video games, remote controls and wireless internet access.  In certain aspects, I feel  fortunate to have a much deeper appreciation of the convenient tools we know today, because I can still vividly remember a time when television actually stopped broadcasting shortly after 1:00 a.m. and the atrocious confinement to only three major networks.  I also remember how much slower things seemed to crawl prior to nearly all business and government organizations transitioning to electronic systems.

In certain capacities, I believe the strides taken by U.S. Federal Government are parallel to that of what fits other businesses and our society as a whole.  I think this is especially true as it pertains to environmental strategies and corporate responsibilities.  I firmly trust our ever-evolving quest to make systems paperless is greatly appreciated as it relates to EPA expectations.

In our industry, the communication between our best customers and our hotel community seem to be growing at a healthy pace in the right directions.  I hypothesize, as technology advances, so will “adaptability” and soon thereafter “dependability” until finally the next better evolution of tool presents itself to make the system better again.

by Christopher McLaughlin

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