Brand Chief Digital Officers Tackle Pressing Concerns and Solutions

This summer in Toronto, HSMAI gathered Brand Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) for an Executive Roundtable. Participants engaged in candid discussions, shedding light on the hurdles they face in technology, staffing, and financial realms, while exploring effective remedies. 

The CDOs discussed the rapidly evolving business landscape and the significance of understanding evolving customer behavior and expectations. They emphasized the pressure to quickly adapt to meet clients’ expectations, noting that customer patience is decreasing.  

Read on to discover the valuable takeaways.  

3 Concerns Keeping CDOs Up at Night 

1. Technology and Innovation: 

Participants were concerned about keeping up with the fast pace of advancements in technology and innovation. They acknowledged the need to stay current with developments, implement new technologies effectively, and undergo AI transformations while grappling with the associated challenges. 

Participants acknowledged uncertainty about the future and sought advice on navigating an AI-driven world and enlightening others about the future of work within this context. 

 2. Staffing and Hiring: 

Workforce issues continue to impact the hotel industry, and participants discussed challenges recruiting and retaining talent, as well as the need for different skills and capabilities than those more traditionally sought within hospitality. The focus was on finding the right people for the right roles and the potential impact on service levels if not able to do so effectively. 

 3. Business Operations and Productivity: 

Participants expressed concerns about effectively managing day-to-day operations and ensuring their organizations move in the right direction. The challenges of maintaining smooth operations and meeting responsibilities as owners, operators, or employees were paramount. Participants also expressed a keen interest in maximizing their productivity and exploring strategies to optimize their output. 

 Solutions to Stay Competitive 

 1. Focus on Strategy: 

The CDOs emphasized the need to prioritize strategic thinking amid daily operational tasks. They acknowledged the challenges of finding time to focus on strategy and the importance of organizational agility. Managing talent and elevating individuals to a strategic level were discussed as critical aspects. The participants explored ways to enhance work productivity to make time for strategic thinking, and leveraging AI and technology tools was the top suggestion. 

 2. Data and Partnerships: 

The conversation touched upon the significance of data partnerships and the potential benefits for businesses. Participants discussed the challenges related to data and the need for an overarching data strategy that includes executive sponsorship, cross-functional stakeholder buy-in, and regular governance meetings to address issues. 

 3. Cross-Functional Collaboration: 

The importance of cross-functional collaboration and decision-making processes was highlighted. Participants stressed the need to involve different teams and departments to improve worker productivity and achieve organizational goals. They discussed the need to break down silos within organizations to foster better collaboration and communication across teams and departments. 

 4. Address Legal and Compliance Risks: 

The participants discussed the legal implications of using AI and the need to address potential compliance risks. Establishing AI strategies and steering committees was emphasized to ensure adherence to existing laws and protection of IP and proprietary data. 

Thank you to Adobe and Milestone for sponsoring this impactful roundtable and to the executives from these brands for sharing their insights and expertise:  

  • Atlantis Paradise Island  
  • Blue Water Development Company 
  • BWH Hotels 
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts 
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts 
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 
  • Red Roof 
  • Sun Outdoors 
  • Viceroy Hotel Group 


Categories: Marketing, Digital
Insight Type: Articles