The business of hospitality – using data for growth

(First published in Business First Magazine)

Tourism is on the rise in Australia against a backdrop of unease in other key tourism locations, and it’s shaping up to be a boom for the hospitality sector writes Steve Gagel, Director, Prosperity Advisers Group.

Fresh from a European holiday and close to the Nice attacks, I had a good opportunity to discuss holiday destinations with many locals in countries across Europe. The tension is palpable in the major cities. From the moment we stepped off a plane or train, we were met with multiple army personnel carrying machine guns and walking in formations up to six at a time. Understandably, citizens are nervous, and react to anything out of the ordinary in fear of another terrorist attack.

Europeans seem to be in awe of our watery boarders and in-the-main tend to like Australia’s “turn back the boats” policy. The Australian policy of not letting anyone in does disadvantage the many legitimate refugees trying to escape oppression and to make a better life from themselves, with some thinking it might keep out the extremists at the same time.

TOURISM ON THE UP
With the above in mind and the Australian dollar a long way under our previous highs of $1.10 to the US Dollar (currently A$ buying around US$0.76) there is effectively a 31% increase in buying power that international visitors now have in deciding to visit Australia.
Tourism Research Australia tells us there’s a healthy increase in total expenditure on international overnight visitors across all three eastern seaboard states – with the average for Australia up 17%. Perhaps the combined effects of safety and lower cost (due to the dollar dropping) is indeed creating more in-bound hospitality for Australia?

Domestically, it appears that Australians are turning their noses up at overseas destinations with domestic overnight spend increasing by 4.7% and domestic day trips also up by 4.6%. The scene is certainly set for growth among hospitality operators if they can leverage the current climate to their advantage.

HOW TO CAPITALISE ON THE INFLOWS
Further analysis of the data from Tourism Australia confirms the hotspot is with holiday makers who are up 20.7% year on year to June 2016, whilst the convention and conference market seems to have suffered a downturn of 10.7%. For the actual month of June 2016 these two markets seem to be gathering speed in opposite directions with holiday makers up 29.4% and convention and conference visitors down 17.7%.

So what can participants in the hospitality sector do to capitalise on the swinging tide of tourism? Data can be your friend here. Getting to know the local Hotels Association representatives in your area and getting closer to Tourism Australia and the local “destinations” organisations in your district can give you the information you need to anticipate tourism flows and to appeal to the type of visitors expected.

For example, if there are delegations from specific nations expected in your area then getting to know the organisers and promoting a tailored option to attract them to your venue may be appealing – such as a special menu, entertainment or drink. Then capitalising on these visits through social media can help reinforce your venue as a destination for that type of visitor going forward.

Data can also help you in other ways. It could be as simple as asking visitors to your venue what postcode they come from or their home country. After collecting data for a given period you can analyse to see if you could tailor aspects of your offer (food, beverage, gaming, entertainment, special events) to the standout groups.  Again, using social media to promote these changes and how you appeal to specific groups can help you target your advertising at very little cost.

Above all, briefing your staff and engaging them in what you are trying to do and why is going to have a significant impact. Frontline staff can collect valuable data at each shift such as approximate ages and gender of your visitors. They will also have ideas for how you can make the most of tourism flows in your area. If you want to make your area more attractive to local or overseas visitors, getting together with other publicans or venues in your area and jointly approaching delegation organisers or tourism operators could see a step change in the type and quality of visitor you experience.

Competing for the consumer dollar is never easy but with a lower exchange rate on your side and a greater number of visitors to our shores it certainly makes it more interesting and exciting.

Senior appointments cap Prosperity’s Bumper New Year

Award winning financial advisory firm, Prosperity Advisers, welcomes new talent in Brisbane & Sydney.

Senior leadership additions in both Brisbane and Sydney heralds continued growth for the firm and new opportunities for Prosperity’s clients. Joining the firm’s director team is Michael Mahabeer, specialist internal auditor and risk adviser and Michael Bode, business and personal taxation specialist.

Speaking about the additions to Prosperity’s talent line up, Chief Executive and Founder Allan McKeown says “The calibre of our directors is testament to the quality of work we undertake for our varied clients. Without quality clients and exciting and challenging work we would not be able to get the attention of candidates like our two newest directors. I’m excited to see the impact that our new starters will have on our clients and team.”

Michael Mahabeer boasts an impressive track record in senior leadership positions across internal audit and risk management. He led the transformation of the internal audit function at a large government owned corporation in Queensland and has held previous senior roles with Suncorp and PwC. Michael is an internal audit expert with specific knowledge and technical competency of the public and finance sectors. 

Michael Bode specialises in providing advice on Australia’s complex tax system for corporates, businesses and individuals. Having previously been director for many years in the tax consulting division of a global accounting firm, Michael has considerable experience advising on all aspects of taxation for international inbound corporate entities and high wealth private client groups, including mid-cap and family owned businesses. Michael is known for his straight-forward approach and skill at translating complex matters into every-day language.

These appointments capped an outstanding year for Prosperity. The firm picked up three industry awards; moved into fresh new workplaces in Sydney and Brisbane; and launched our Future Thinkers Program and Business Advisory Academy to ensure our people are ‘future fit’ for a fast changing professional environment.

Prosperity Wealth’s Gary Dean recognised as ‘Most Trusted Adviser’, securing Adviser of the Year Award from Hillross Financial Services

Gary Dean - blog

“To me this is the most important aspect of a financial adviser – someone who can take all the stress of managing the money on my behalf and at the same time be able to convey to me the knowledge and confidence to rest easy about the decisions I make.” Client, 2016

Prosperity Wealth Advisers is delighted to confirm that Gary Dean, Associate Director, has secured the prestigious Hillross Financial Services award for Adviser of the Year. Highly sought after, this award recognises not only the expertise which Gary brings to his dealings with clients and the industry, but the depth and meaning with which his clients view their relationship with Gary.

Allan McKeown, CEO and Founder of Prosperity Advisers Group says, “In helping our clients to create stronger financial futures, Gary has secured a position with his clients which is based on trust, mutual respect, genuine care, and of course, excellence. We are very proud to have Gary Dean as part of the Prosperity Wealth family and are delighted that his hard work, knowledge, abilities and passion for his clients has been publicly recognised.”

Independent client research through the Beddoes Institute was instrumental in deciding the award winner as was demonstrating a commitment to ongoing excellence in providing personal financial advice, robust and high quality advice processes and a clear and demonstrable passion for clients.

At the ceremony Prosperity Wealth Advisers was also recognised for a further year as a leading advice practice securing its status as member of the Elite Strategist Group among Hillross licensed financial advice firms.

Speaking about the award Gary Dean says, “To me it’s simple, I get to know my clients as individuals. Providing financial advice is personal and that’s the approach I take. Working with my clients gives me incredible satisfaction, I highly value my interaction with them and the trust they place in me and Prosperity. I am very grateful and humbled that my clients provided such great feedback which contributed to winning this award.”

For more information, please contact: Anne Adams (02) 8262 8718

7 business strategies for 2017!

youth-active-jump-happy-40815

(First published in Kochie’s Business Builders)

What can you do this year to ensure 2017 is their best year in small business yet? Here are 7 important strategies to help put you on the road to success.

# 1. Rest and read
As we know the whirlwind of being a business owner operator can provide a tremendous sense of achievement, however it can also take its toll mentally and physically if you don’t take time out regularly to recharge the batteries. Waiting for a time when things are quiet will mean the break may never come. A good friend of mine got me into the habit of booking a few breaks at the beginning of the year before the pendulum starts swinging. That way you will find it much easier to step out of the furnace.

Make sure you take a good book with you as well to improve your business skills. As business growth guru, Verne Harnish likes to say those who don’t read, barely have an advantage over those who can’t read. Exponential Organisations, the best seller by Salim Ismail was my choice over the holiday break and should be on your list.

# 2. Understand disruption
The book Exponential Organisations by Salmi Ismal is a good start to get an understanding of what all the talk about disruption is actually about. Moores Law – the doubling of computer processing power each year doesn’t just mean cooler iPhones. Coupled with some smart thinking, advances in technology are changing business models and all of our businesses will be profoundly affected over the next five years. It’s not all bad news though as your small business can benefit from better technology, higher efficiency and lower costs together with the fresh opportunities that change can bring.You need to start thinking now about:

  • What industry is my business really in?
  • What industry will my disruption come from?
  • How can I future proof my business and take advantage of these rapid changes

# 3. Embrace innovation
Innovation is not just about creating a new revolutionary app, it’s about ways of doing the same things better. Technology enables all of us to take advantage of these innovations to run our businesses better, faster and cheaper. The challenge for you as an owner operator is to commit the time to understand what’s available, what will help you serve your customers better and make your team members more productive. Don’t be distracted chasing every ‘bright shiny thing’ but there will be two or three systems or processes you can implement to radically transform your business.

# 4. Minimise your largest expense
Most small business owners don’t think about it this way but taxation is usually your largest expense. While we don’t advocate tax avoidance in any way there are many opportunities to legally reduce your tax. As the late Kerry Packer famously said “if anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax they want their head read because as a Government I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra.

”You will need good advice though and if you don’t think you are getting it, there are plenty of good accountants that would be happy to review your position.Some very substantial changes to the Superannuation system have recently been passed with an effective date of 1 July 2017. While this sounds like a long way off, but depending upon your age and the amount of assets you have inside (or outside) of super, some planning opportunities may be available.

# 5. Plan to succeed
A recent Research report from BStar revealed that 72% of SMEs don’t have a formal business plan with only 34% allocating any time at all to strategic planning. Economic growth and opportunities are not evenly spread throughout Australia. Labour markets, population trends, business and consumer confidence are all influenced by local factors and we also have the impact of innovation and business model disruption. Business planning approaches have evolved to see the wasteful 20-page document become a thing of the past replaced by concise one page versions that can help you and your team understand the critical success factors for your business and stay focussed on implementing the necessary actions to achieve your goals.

# 6. Get great advice
Not even the great sports people can achieve success on their own. Business owners have clear needs for advice and assistance. You need an experienced sounding board, someone you can trust to discuss your plans and issues with and ideally keep you accountable to achieving your goals. There are many names for this role – mentor, guide, coach or adviser. It may be a friend, colleague, accountant or lawyer with some larger businesses forming a proper ‘board of advice’.Find the right person or structure that suits you, take some time out to think about where you want your business to go, get to work on your strategic plan taking advantage of some smart technology and you will be well placed to avoid the perils of disruption while you build your superannuation nest egg.

# 7. Have fun!
Don’t forget to take some time out to enjoy the ride.