Australia's tourism industry is vital to its economy, as it contributes 2.5% of the GDP which amounts to AU$35 billion. In 2010-11 it provided 8% of the nation's total export earnings after a record number of overseas arrivals (Wikipedia).
Its significance will only increase in the coming years. A growing middle class means more people take vacations, and one of the signs of a growing economy is that the number of people taking vacations gradually increases every year. After all, what better way to use their new found spending power than a nice relaxing holiday?
This is exactly the case in China, where a burgeoning economy and growing middle class means that the number of Chinese citizens vacationing abroad will have risen to an estimated 100 million per year by 2015. Australia will be a prime destination of choice.
Australian tourism organizations will want to take advantage of this phenomenon, and increased incorporation of information technology can help them do that. It's already made things easier for tourists, allowing them to plan and book their trips on the internet and research destinations through social media. It can also make things easier for the tourism industry, with business enterprise software enabling them to simplify and optimize their administrative processes.
Helping Small and Medium Enterprises
Small and medium enterprises make up a large proportion of the hospitality industry, think of bed and breakfasts, backpackers hostels, cafes, and small restaurants. Organizations that offer recreational activities such as bungee jumping and skydiving are also categorized as part of the tourism industry. A hospitality enterprise could be as small as one man offering canoe trips down a river.
ERP products, such as MYOB, specifically cater to the needs of small and medium enterprises, whatever industry they may be operating in. Hotels, large or small, have a lot of administration work. Stock, staff, guests, rooms ... they all need to be managed, and small and medium enterprises need to do so with limited resources at their disposal. ERP products provide the functionality to make such procedures simpler and more cost-efficient, taking some of the workload off the shoulders of staff and management.
Helping with Administration
Positively Wellington Tourism, a company that helps tourists obtain information and organize bookings for various tourist activities and accommodation throughout New Zealand, demonstrated the success that can be had with business enterprise software. They implemented MYOB EXO in their system, and, as a result, they were able to cut the amount of time required for administrative procedures by half.
MYOB products such as Retail Hospitality and Retail Manager have functions geared towards the management of tourism-related enterprises. An example is Retail Hospitality's specialized touch-screen table management technology, which provides a visual interface for managing tables at a bar, restaurant or hotel. All the tables at the establishment are mapped out, allowing the user to keep track of table numbers, orders and bills. They can merge tables or transfer bills between them with a few taps on the screen.
MYOB's retail software is designed to synchronize easily with its AccountRight and AccountEdge applications, so all the transactions being recorded at the front can immediately be transferred to the accounting software, which can then perform the backroom accounting procedures.
It brings to mind computer game management simulators, like the Tycoon series, in the way it's able to provide the user with a bird's eye view of proceedings, allowing them to perform complex business process with a few clicks. Of course, Pizza Tycoon also allowed its players to blow up their competitors restaurants. It's unlikely that any business enterprise software products will incorporate such features any time soon.
Hospitality is a diverse and complex industry, one that is constantly moving at a fast pace. If only managing it could be as simple as playing a strategy game. With advancing information technology and the functionality of business enterprise software products such as MYOB, it may be heading in that direction.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=hotel&ex=1#ai:MP900185035|
Matthew Flax writes for Now Learning, which promotes a range of TAFE courses, university degrees and short courses, such as MYOB software applications for accounting, throughout Australia.