Over the next six months Barnes says he plans to complete projects initiated before his arrival. These include front-of-the-house technology for soon-to-open locations in Frisco, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; and Atlanta, that "need a little extra push over the goal line.” He also plans to purchase and implement a CRM system and will improve the company’s existing reservation call center, business intelligence and financial reporting capabilities.
“The CRM piece could give us a large advantage of having a 360-degree view of our guests, to be able to tailor their experience and to be able to market to them properly,” Barnes says. “We don’t want to send someone who has never golfed before a golf package for [Omni’s resort in] Barton Creek, Texas.”
He says his greatest challenge will be getting acclimated to the organization and making sure that Omni’s operations team is on board with his proposed changes.
Being both a business and IT leader
Barnes is taking caution to strike the right balance between IT leader and business leader, ensuring that enterprise technology initiatives are aligned with the business. He says that while maintain an insatiable appetite for technology -- Starwood and others are allowing guests to check in and enter rooms with their smartphones -- Omni still needs to provide good service in a clean, friendly environment. Guest satisfaction, above all else, is the No. 1 priority at Omni and he says that attitude permeates the corporate culture.
"I want to make sure IT is an enabler of the business, but not leading with technology as the answer to everything," Barnes says.
Barnes joins Omni from GuestTek Interactive, where he served as the senior vice president of global services. Prior to that, Barnes spent 22 years at White Lodging Services, most recently serving as vice president of information technology. The hotelier had 17 locations when he started but had grown to include more than 170 by the time he left in 2015.
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