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Micros SA adds IT value to Tsogo Sun's Book a Guesthouse entrepreneurs

MICROS South Africa has joined hands with Tsogo Sun’s Book a Guesthouse programme in the interests of enterprise development and is contributing hospitality software and support to the value of close on R5 million to the programme entrepreneurs over the next three years.

Paul Stephenson, Micros South Africa MD, says, “We spent some time trying to find a project that we could join up with and make a significant difference to the successful management of those businesses. We came across an article about Book a Guesthouse and decided to investigate as it seemed like an ideal venture for us to get involved with in an IT capacity.

Further compounding reasons for our involvement are that Tsogo Sun is a customer of ours and we understand their company ethos and commitment to excellence, and we recently launched a software programme that is specifically designed for the B&B and guesthouse market in South Africa. We are a leading hospitality software provider in this country and it’s a privilege to be in a position to contribute our resources to developing entrepreneurs as part of our social investment initiatives.”

Coincidentally, Tsogo Sun had also been in the process of looking around for a property management system package for its entrepreneurs and was impressed with how suitable Micros’s software is for the Book a Guesthouse level of operation.

Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s Group Internal Communications and Special Projects Manager, says “The success of the Book a Guesthouse programme is founded on a collaborative philosophy that invites partnerships with like-minded organisations with the intention of developing and supporting emerging entrepreneurs in South Africa.  We are delighted to have entered into this important partnership with Micros SA, which we believe will contribute towards our efforts at Tsogo Sun to create shared value within the broader hospitality industry, while also contributing towards the growth of the South African economy.”

The Book a Guesthouse programme for entrepreneurial development of accommodation establishments was started by Tsogo Sun eight years ago in Soweto – developing, mentoring and coaching the owners of accommodation establishments that displayed the potential to become sustainable enterprises. The programme is in the throes of expanding its existing membership base of 60 independently-owned and operated bed & breakfasts and guesthouses by a further 35 to 40 members in six provinces – Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Mpumalanga.

Black women make up the majority of the beneficiaries.

Book a Guesthouse operates on a three-year development model that is structured with the intention of ensuring that by the end of the third year, the guesthouses are independent, well-run and well-managed sustainable businesses. Graduates remain in the programme as alumni.  They give back through the new entrepreneur mentorship programme and continue to Receive access to marketing and further support opportunities provided by the programme.

Micros’s contribution to Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse includes the installation and support of a hosted Micros-Fidelio Websuite 8 property management system in each of the more than 95 entrepreneurs’ establishments, training on the system, as well as hosting for an approximate period of three years, depending on whether the entrepreneurs will then be in a position to absorb the hosting fees in their businesses.

“We’re not being prescriptive as this project is in the spirit of enterprise development,” comments Stephenson.

The rollout of the installation will begin with entrepreneurs in Soweto, then the rest of Gauteng followed by the other provinces, and will conclude during the course of 2014.

The Fidelio WebSuite 8 package, designed for smaller accommodation establishments such as B&Bs and guesthouses, is fully hosted, requiring minimal IT skills, and will be customised for each guesthouse in the Book a Guesthouse programme. WebSuite 8 handles all online bookings and all guest and room management activities, while also storing personal guest information and preferences, offering a range of tools and features that one would expect from hotel software. The system will also be overseen by the Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse programme to enable reporting and monitoring of progress of the guesthouses and to track the impact of the programme on the businesses. This is a key part of the evaluation process that ensures the efficacy and efficiency of the Book a Guesthouse programme.

Micros South Africa was formed in 1997 as a dealer of global Micros Worldwide products. The company reports to Micros in Germany while the holding company is based in the UK. Micros South Africa operates in the hospitality industry throughout South Africa, offering the full range of software products from small guesthouses to the largest hotel groups; from coffee shops to over 600 fast-food outlets, all interlinked; as well as restaurants, casinos, and everything in between. The company has been growing steadily in South Africa since it opened its doors. The South African owned company has a staff of 250 and a customer base of about 3 500.

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