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Ithaca, NY, July 17, 2015 - The explosion of new technology has created opportunities for entrepreneurs, as the cloud opens new avenues for service operations. However, the cloud alone is not sufficient for success, according to participants in the first Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable, held at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA). In addition to the cloud, businesses need support from the crowd—that is, the business has to find products and services that meet consumers' needs. Highlights of the roundtable are presented in a report from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), "Utility and Disruption: Technology for Entrepreneurs in Hospitality," by Mona Anita K. Olsen and Kelly McDarby. Olsen, who chaired the roundtable, is an assistant professor at the SHA, where McDarby is a senior. The report is available from the CHR at no charge.

As they outlined the possibilities created by the cloud, roundtable participants examined the opportunities for entrepreneurs to break into established markets using mobile devices in remote and shared office spaces, streamlining documents and systems to prevent redundancy, and decreasing operating and switching costs while minimizing the need for established infrastructure.

Olsen cautioned that businesses must do more than just use the cloud. "We need to focus on adding value by more effectively using the cloud, making a difference by continuing to foster innovation and disruption, and remaining open to possibilities to adjust operations via cloud-based applications," she said. "Entrepreneurs and existing brands will also find ways to prosper globally by embracing mobile computing."

Roundtable participants noted that technology has supported the growing customer desire to have a personalized travel experience, and many tech-supported enterprises are disruptors that respond to consumers' desire for options as they travel. The group also pointed out that some companies, such as Chipotle, have created disruptive operational innovations that are not necessarily based on mobile technology. To counter the disruptions and re-emphasize their standing, brands can use market analytics to engage with customers. As mobile and cloud-based technologies develop, the hospitality industry will find ways to serve new market segments.

About The Center for Hospitality Research

A unit of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial, and operating practices. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit www.chr.cornell.edu. 

Contact: Carol Zhe

caz9@cornell.edu / 607.254.4504

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