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Living and Operating in the Cloud: New Age Agile Digital Platforms for SME’s in Hospitality & Travel Sector

Dates: 29 & 30 Mar 2021
Hours: 07:15 - 16:30
Location: Online Learning
Company Visit: 4 Hours

Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus

Program Adviser

Sanjay Nadkarni

instructor Sanjay Nadkarni

Dr. Sanjay Nadkarni is a Director of Research in Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai. He holds a Master of Science in Manageme. View program adviser

Program Rationale

The adoption of digital platforms in the post Covid-19 recovery phase is witnessing accelerated growth across all sectors of the economy. Given the significance of hospitality and tourism to Cyprus’s economy dominated by micro small and medium businesses (MSMBs), the overall competitiveness and growth of this sector which have been strongly impacted by Covid-19, are an enabler for socio-economic development by way of generating tourism Euros and employment opportunities.  Setting up and operating enterprises across the hospitality and tourism value chain can be capital intensive; hence it is imperative that the returns on investment are credible enough to ensure long term viability, particularly when faced with challenging micro and macroeconomic conditions. 

The growth drivers of the hospitality and tourism sector of an economy which predominantly includes bars, cafés, car rentals, event organisers, hotels, holiday rentals, tour operators and travel agents are increasingly influenced by the ability to adapt to and adopt digital disruption which has impacted every aspect of human activity. Putting it into perspective, digital disruption on the back on Industry 4.0 is an inherent change in how businesses are able to deliver value to its customers by leveraging the opportunities of a mix of innovative digital tools and their accelerating impact on the ability and necessity to challenge the status quo in a hyper competitive and hyper personalized environment. Technology behemoths have traditionally been monetizing this opportunity by focussing on corporate, transnational clients. The micro small and medium businesses (MSMBs) have at best been collateral beneficiaries, but usually not the primary target market, though this situation is rapidly changing thanks to growing internet speeds and agile cloud based tools coupled with falling costs and complexities of adoption.  

Given the fragmented landscape of the hospitality and tourism industry in Cyprus, deploying these new age agile cloud based and hybrid digital tools and assets provides an unprecedented opportunity for MSMBs in this sector for gaining operational efficiencies and driving profitability in a sustainable manner. In practical terms, this need translates into enabling Cyprus’s hospitality and tourism related businesses to adopt user-friendly and cost-effective digital platforms and cloud based tools for enhancing their business practices to deliver exceptional customer value which in turn will make a significant contribution to Cyprus’s service driven economy by providing substantial entrepreneurial as well as employment opportunities.

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Target Audience

The primary target segments for this seminar are the private sector owners, managers and supervisory staff of micro, small and medium businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector including the sub-verticals comprising of  bars, cafés, car rentals, event organisers, hotels, holiday rentals, tour operators and travel agents.

The key takeaway from the seminar for the participants’ benefit will be the ability to effectively leverage the new age digital platforms on the cloud while remaining device agnostic for driving value in their day-to-day operations. 

Particularly, this expert seminar will offer valuable insight to industry stakeholders who deal with administration, revenue and marketing operations. 

Program Objectives

In the post Covid-19 scenario, digital transformation has assumed critical importance for the survival of businesses. In this context, the high-level objectives of this expert seminar are to enable owners, operators and managers in the hospitality and allied sectors to (i) gain general understanding of cloud computing and alternative utility software (ii) deploy appropriate platforms and solutions most suited for their businesses in order to enhance profitability.

The specific objectives pertaining to knowledge, skills and attitude are as follows:

Knowledge related objectives

  • Recognize the pros and cons of cloud-based applications.
  • Identify the trending digital platforms for creating, curating and storing digital content.
  • Analyze the resource implications and financial impact of deploying cloud solutions and on-site alternatives to mainstream software applications
  • Revise dependence on third-party providers and agents for installing and updating the latest version of the software, manage email and file servers and run backups of their business-critical data.

Skills related objectives

  • Use the Google eco-system for daily business computing/office application utility tasks.
  • Operate cloud-based platforms for capturing and analyzing customer satisfaction data with live dashboards.
  • Chart real-time macro-level data for informed decision making.
  • Set up productivity protocols for sharing documents that exist on cloud platforms with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Illustrate linkage between separate utility apps and software (e.g. email client, calendar, word processing, spreadsheets, design/drawing tools) into one a single multi-application cloud platform making it far more user-friendly to work with the digital interfaces, in particular for the digitally-not so savvy users among owners, managers and employees.

Attitude related objectives

  • Adopt the right attitudes about the importance of device neutral cloud tools.
  • Advocate a future thinking culture among internal stakeholders of the business
  • Recommend the right culture in the organization that will build and support confidence to self-manage critical digital assets, independent of third party agents.

In-house visits objectives

The overarching objective of this component is to assist the hospitality MSMBs to adopt appropriate cloud based platforms best suited to their operational context. This goal will be achieved by way of an audit of the business’s existing level of digital deployment and IT software and hardware landscape.  The key themes include, though are not restricted to, awareness, best-fit, costs and challenges of digital platforms. The specific objectives towards this end are to:

  • Perform a situational analysis of specific Digital/IT issues pertaining to the business
  • Audit existing processes in operations and strategy from a digital transformation standpoint
  • Audit existing digital capacity and practices in the context of business productivity and costs
  • Audit digital assets including industry specific software (e.g. PMS/PoS) and evaluate compatibility with generic utility applications/software
  • Recommend a series of action points based on the afore-listed audit points to enhance business efficiency and stakeholder value addition

The seminar content is informed by current trends and research in the application of cloud computing and digital disruption for small scale businesses with a specific focus on the hospitality and tourism verticals.  The key themes include, though are not restricted to gaining broad exposure to trending platforms and gauging industry-specific needs for driving cost reductions, revenue optimization, guest satisfaction, engagement and loyalty.

Product and service differentiation will be contingent on the ability to leverage agile digital tools for a multitude of sector-specific applications.

During the seminar, there will be demonstrations on how to use cloud-based platforms that include utility applications, content management systems for websites, data visualization and predictive analytics tools for structured and unstructured data.  In addition to hands-on workshops embedded in the seminar, relevant case studies and industry best practices will be discussed to reinforce the advantages of these new-age digital platforms.

Conclusively, this authoritative and comprehensive seminar delivers tools and skillsets that enable participants to appreciate the emerging digital trends and their impact on the hospitality and tourism sector and its allied verticals.

Program Outline

Day 1:


07:45 – 08:15


Arrival and registration

Seminar overview and introduction



Industry 4.0, Digital Disruption and Its Impact on hospitality & tourism

  • What is Industry 4.0?
  • Internet as a growth driver
  • Data as the new Oil
  • Digital touchpoints in hospitality and tourism

Activity 1:  Identify the existing and potential digital touchpoints for interaction with your customers.

​       10:15-10:30


​         10:30-12:30

Cloud Computing Landscape

  • Cloud computing terminology
  • Advantages and disadvantages (financial and data security implications)
  • Benchmarking with on premise and legacy software

Activity 2: Perform a comparative analysis of existing legacy software with its Cloud substitute.    

Case Study 1 Digitalisation, ecosystem, entrepreneurship and policy

Abstract:   Digitalisation is transforming entrepreneurship in two ways. First, it is shifting the locus of entrepreneurial opportunities in the economy. Second, digitalisation is transforming entrepreneurial practices – or the best ways to pursue those opportunities. Combined, the two trends have given rise to a novel, distinctively different cluster type, the ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’ (Autio, Nambisan, Thomas, & Wright, 2017). Yet, to date, there is little coherent understanding of how digitalisation operates – indeed, what it even means – and what the implications are for entrepreneurship policy. Therefore, the objectives of this policy brief are to: - Clarify the definition of digitalisation - Clarify how digitalisation transforms entrepreneurship - Clarify how digitalisation gives rise to entrepreneurial ecosystems - Elaborate implications for entrepreneurship and innovation policy

Source:  Autio, E., 2017. Digitalisation, ecosystems, entrepreneurship and policy. Perspectives into Topical Issues Is Society and Ways to Support Political Decision Making. Government’s Analysis, Research and Assessment Activities Policy Brief20, p.2017.

       12:30 - 13:45

Lunch Break

         13:45 - 15:15

Cloud and Hybrid Utility Applications Suites

  • Google Drive / G-Suite
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Apache Open Office

Activity 3:  For each of the platforms/suites discussed, the participants will prepare a checklist of the applications for which they see direct use in their businesses.

Case Study 2  How Cloud Computing Enhances Competitive Advantages: A Research Model for Small Businesses

Abstract:   Cloud computing is perceived as the next step in the evolution of information technology resource distributed systems with the capability to enable businesses and users to access applications from anywhere in the world on demand. Although the term “cloud computing” becomes famous, the research of cloud computing is inadequate and limited to technical aspects only. It is still not clear to businesses how cloud computing can help them improve their competitive advantages. The purpose of this research is to develop a research model of cloud computing from managerial perspective and focus on small businesses. We use the resourced based view theory to propose a research model which explores the influence of cloud computing related resources on a small business’ competitive advantages.

Keywords: cloud computing, resourced based view, competitive advantage, small business

Source:   Truong, D., 2010. How cloud computing enhances competitive advantages: A research model for small businesses. The Business Review, Cambridge15(1), pp.59-65.

​         15:15 - 15:30


15:30 -16:30

Cloud-Based Web and Data Analytics tools

  • Cloud-based CMS (Wix/Weebly)
  • The social media landscape in the hospitality and tourism industry
  • Sentiment & Image analytics
  • Google Analytics for websites
  • Benchmarking tools and dashboards (ReviewPro, Hootsuite)

Activity 4: Using an appropriate template from Wix or Weebly, build a responsive design website for your business. Launch it, share the URL with the facilitator and other participants. Subsequently monitor the site analytics.

Case Study 3  A Comparative Analysis of Major Online Review Platforms: 3 Implications for Social Media Analytics in Hospitality and Tourism

Abstract:   Online consumer reviews have been studied for various research problems in hospitality and tourism. However, existing studies using review data tend to rely on a single data source and  data quality is largely anecdotal. This greatly limits the generalizability and contribution of social media analytics research. Through text analytics this study comparatively examines three major  online review platforms, namely TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Yelp, in terms of information quality  related to online reviews about the entire hotel population in Manhattan, New York City. The findings show that there are huge discrepancies in the representation of the hotel industry on these  platforms. Particularly, online reviews vary considerably in terms of their linguistic characteristics, semantic features, sentiment, rating, usefulness as well as the relationships between these features. This study offers a basis for understanding the methodological challenges and identifies several  research directions for social media analytics in hospitality and tourism.

Source:   Xiang, Z., Du, Q., Ma, Y. and Fan, W., 2017. A comparative analysis of major online review platforms: Implications for social media analytics in hospitality and tourism. Tourism Management58, pp.51-65.

Day 2

07:15 - 7:45  

7:45 – 8:15


8:15 – 10:15

Arrival and registration

Seminar recapitulations

Google Drive & Suite

  • Set up and components
  • Office utility applications
  • Storage, sharing and access

Activity 5: Use a pre-existing template in Google docs to create a document with your laptop/tablet. t. .

Case Study 4  DTDC Express: Achieving a tenfold increase in collaborations and speed of decision making with GSuite

Abstract:   Using G Suite, DTDC Express enabled its teams to work more closely and effectively, reduced its email support costs, delivered mobility, and started a program to improve collaboration and decision-making by its more than 5,000 employees. The business is deploying G Suite to more than 10,700 franchisees.

Source:   G Suite Customer Stories:  https://gsuite.google.com/customers/dtdc-express.html#




Guest Satisfaction Survey Tools

  • Online survey design
  • Google Forms
  • On-premise survey on tablets/i-Pads
  • Real-time survey analytics

Activity: For your specific business, design a survey and populate it in Google Forms. Customise the template in line with your company’s logo and colour schemes. Digitally share the survey with the facilitator and group members. Visualize the results. Export to Google Sheets.

12:30 – 13:30

Lunch Break



Cloud analytics, dashboards and visualization

  • Macro trends using Google Trends/Insights and WTTC portal
  • Applications- preparing marketing calendar
  • Google Data Studio

Activity 7: Using Google Trends, identify the seasonality and behavioral differences between Cyprus’s top three tourist source markets

15:00 -15:15


​          15:15 - 16:30


Cloud-based CRM/PMS/PoS/CRM/Finance Applications

  • ZOHO ecosystem
  • Salesforce for MSMBs
  • Trending PMS platforms for hotels

Activity 8: Based on the exposure gained to a multitude of cloud-based applications and platforms, prepare an implementation strategy by identifying tools that are ‘mission-critical’ for your business.

Case Study 5   Design and Application of Intelligent Tourism System under the Background of Cloud Computing Information Technology

Abstract:   In order to realize the function of distributing tourism service resources and provide better services for tourists, on the basis of fully understanding the definition of cloud computing and the main key technologies, the tourists' needs are firstly analyzed, and the overall design scheme of intelligent tourism system is clarified. Cloud computing information technology, Unity 3D software, and augmented reality and mobile phone VR technology are used to model. A set of intelligent tourism system with tourism service, mobile guide and consultation as the main modules is developed and designed based on Android platform. The system can run safely and steadily after being tested on the cloud platform.

Source:   Lei, J., 2018, November. Design and Application of Intelligent Tourism System under the Background of Cloud Computing Information Technology. In 2018 5th International Conference on Education, Management, Arts, Economics and Social Science (ICEMAESS 2018). Atlantis Press.

Program Adviser

Dr. Sanjay Nadkarni is a Director of Research in Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai. He holds a Master of Science in Management, M.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics and a Ph.D. He was employed as a Programme Coordinator & Assistant Professor in Faculty of International Tourism of  Macao University of Science and Technology from 2005 to 2009 and also as a consultant in Asian Development Bank in China. Furthermore he used to be a Researcher in School of Travel Industry Management in University of Hawaii in Kyrgyz Republic, in School of Development in University of Central Asia/Aga Khan Development Network in China, a director of research in Institute For Tourism Studies in Russia and a Lecturer in Information Systems in Institute For Tourism Studies (IFT) in India. Deputy Manager and Project Coordinator was at the first years of his career.

Subsidy, Attendance, and Cancellation Policy

HRDA Subsidy and Seminar Attendance

  • A company’s participant is eligible for subsidy when their Social Insurance and Industrial Training contributions have been settled in full by the time of registration/seminar. In case of ineligibility/disqualification, the company will be invoiced the full amount per participant.
  • A company’s participant is eligible for subsidy if he/she completes an obligatory attendance of 75% or more (both during seminar and company visit). In case of failure to complete the attendance, the company will be invoiced the full amount, per participant.

Cancellation and Substitution Policy

  • Cancellations can be accepted up to 5 working days prior to the seminar without penalties. For any cancellations received after the deadline (or no-shows) the company will be invoiced the full amount per participant.
  • Substitutions can be accepted any time prior to the seminar without penalties.

Approved By Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus

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