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Although many hospitality firms are making effective use of their information technology resources, the value and effect of those operations could be magnified by a strategic and integrated approach to IT, called Network Exploitation Capacity (NEC). The NEC model maps an organization’s advance toward full integration of network capacity that culminates with a self-renewing or learning strategy for the firm in three areas: demand generation, multi-channel distribution management, and revenue optimization. Unfortunately, most hospitality firms are at the first step of the NEC maturity scale, “Basic,” in which one or more staff members handle some aspects of IT (often with good result), but other aspects are neglected and, in any event, the efforts are not tied together in an effective strategy. Some firms are at Stage 2 of the model, “Systematic,” which expresses an approach to network exploitation that has been codified as part of the firm’s operating system, and the firm is functioning in all three phases of network exploitation. Even if single individuals are responsible for these functions, the firm holds the knowledge of how these areas operate, rather than have the knowledge reside solely in the individual. Advancing to Stage 3, the “Integrated” Stage, a few firms are systematically fostering synergy in the three areas of network exploitation and consciously coordinate operational behavior in a consistent fashion. While no firms have reached Stage 4, the “Analytical” Stage, this stage is characterized by a disciplined analytical mindset that aims at effective operations. Firms achieving Stage 5, “Optimizing,” would add the critical element of an institutionalized process of continuous learning, re-training, and overall optimization of the network exploitation capacity.


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