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New committee to guide hotel industry in adopting technology for productivity gains

A NEW committee will be set up by year's end to steer the local hotel industry in adopting innovative technologies, as hoteliers here strive to find ways to sustain growth amid a manpower crunch.

At the same time, the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA), the umbrella body for hotels in Singapore, will be prescribing benchmark indicators to guide hotels in improving efficiencies in business operations.

The announcement on plans to set up the Hotel Innovation Committee (HIC), and the introduction of the Sector Specific Productivity Indicators (SSPIs) were two of the five recommendations unveiled at the Hotel Industry Expert Panel Report that was launched on Tuesday.

Led by SHA, the committee will oversee the industry's implementation of innovative solutions to raise productivity. One possible strategy the committee will look at involves adopting mobile and digital wallet payment services in hotel front offices. It aims to be the "voice of the industry", and will comprise local seasoned practitioners, relevant international specialists, solution providers and academia.

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Also in the report was the introduction of the SSPIs. Developed by SHA, they provide a common measure to help hotels benchmark their business efficiency and identify areas for improvement. Some of the indicators include revenue per full-time equivalent and average employee hours per occupied room.

Even though the value-add per worker for the hotel industry saw a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 per cent from 2010 to 2014, Singapore Tourism Board chief executive Lionel Yeo said at the launch of the report that manpower shortages highlight the "pressing need to shift away from manpower-driven growth to productivity-driven growth through innovation".