Today’s top entrepreneurship and business stories (6 December)
Tourist accommodation saw growth in 2016 despite difficult trading conditions
Figures recently released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) for Tourism Accommodation in 2016 revealed that the total income for the local tourist accommodation industry increased by 7.1% compared with the previous year.
However, these figures have been measured in nominal terms, according to Grant Sandham, Premier Hotels & Resorts’ sales and marketing manager, and have not been adjusted for inflation. With the average inflation in South Africa being 6.5%, this means that actual growth was only 0.6%.
The publication stated that income from accommodation increased by 8,9% year-on-year due to a 2,0% boost in the number of stay unit nights sold and a 6,8% upsurge in the average income per stay unit night sold. Despite this, Sandham says that in real terms there was only 2% year-on-year growth. The contribution of hotels to the total income, according to the publication, grew by 7,8% year-on-year. Sandham notes that after subtracting inflation, this figure is only 1.3%.
“Although the South African accommodation industry is trading only slightly ahead of inflation, it is growing – particularly in terms of the international tourist market,” shares Sandham. “For instance, we are seeing tour groups making and fulfilling their bookings whereas before we would experience a significant level of wash with bookings being made but only a fraction of rooms being occupied.”
He attributes this buoyancy of the international market to South Africa’s favourable exchange rate as well as to being seen as an alternative to South America which has become somewhat of a no-go zone due to the Zika virus. (via Bizcommunity)
Xero and Apple Pay and Stripe partner to help businesses get paid faster
Xero yesterday announced the integration of Apple Pay through Stripe, making it even faster and easier for customers to get paid. Xero’s 862,000 subscribers can now offer their customers the ability to view and pay an invoice using Apple Pay through Stripe. Invoices paid with a payment service get paid almost 80 per cent faster than invoices that don’t offer a payment service. This new feature is available automatically to everyone on Xero using Stripe where Apple Pay is available.
Small business owners consistently point to delays in getting paid as one of their biggest pain points, which puts a strain on cash flow. Xero customers sent 15 million invoices globally in the last 30 days alone. And based on our current data, over 60 percent of those invoices will be paid late. Xero’s connection to the payment services of Stripe and Apple Pay will help address this concern for small businesses owners and help businesses get paid faster.
“Mobile payments are the way of the future,” said Craig Walker, Xero Chief Technology Officer. “Attaching a payment option to online invoices helps Xero customers get paid almost 80% faster than invoices that don’t use a payment service – so they spend less time chasing unpaid invoices for a more productive and cash healthy business.”
“By enabling these connections with payment services, small businesses are able to offer multiple payment options on an invoice, giving them and their customers choice of payment and also the ability to pay the invoice as soon as it arrives, ensuring they get paid faster,” Walker said.
Currently businesses that want to pay an invoice via credit card need to enter their credit card details to complete the payment. Credit card payments via Stripe mean that customers can confirm payment with Apple Pay using their fingerprint ID on their Apple device to confirm the payment quickly. Businesses who take payments via Stripe and Apple Pay also have an extra level of security. All payments made require a fingerprint or passcode, decreasing fraud, and with it, chargebacks.
Standard Bank launches travellers lounges at ORT
An all-new Standard Bank lounge has opened its doors to domestic travellers at OR Tambo – with two more set to open mid-December, just in time for the festive season.
“Months of client engagement and research into traveller needs at OR Tambo, which serves about 9 500 000 travellers a year, has resulted in the development of our three new lounges, designed with the end-to-end needs of our clients in mind,” says Nontokozo Madonsela, Head of Marketing for Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank.
“Although late to market, our customers spoke and we answered. In an effort to cater to their needs at every stage of their life’s journey and their expectations of what an airport lounge should be, we developed our lounges, using the space available to us, for each of the three distinct types of traveller, as well as for each tier of Standard Bank customer – from personal banking through to Wealth and Investment – bringing options to around 5 600 customers who visit the airport every month.
ConnectionHub will be operational by mid-December and will be open to all domestic travellers moving through departures, irrespective of card status, looking to access high-speed Wi-Fi and power points so that those last few urgent tasks can be dealt with before boarding.
Open to all Wealth and Investment, Signature Banking, Family Banking, Private Banking and Professional Banking customers, the second lounge, CaféBlue, which opened earlier this month, is an option for customers looking to sit and enjoy a snack or beverage before their flight complete with a host(ess) and experienced baristas.
Standard Bank’s premium LibraryLounge is open to Standard Bank Wealth and Investment, Signature Banking and Family Banking clients, quality catering in an up-market environment and will be especially welcome when it opens, also in mid-December.