Anyone who has ever logged on or attempted to operate an online trading account will agree that as tempting as the possibility of earning extra income via a few clever trades may sound, the reality of online trading is far from straightforward. However, thanks to a South African-based online financial markets trading service provider, the pain is over. Uprise Markets, in line with their crusade to democratise CFD trading, have this week launched the first African Tradable® online trading platform. With the purpose of ‘trade–enabling’ the internet the new platform provides an easier way for traders to participate in financial markets. Uprise Markets have been awarded the first licence in Africa from the Copenhagen based company, which means that the embedded, easy-to-use product is now available to South Africans. The most notable advantage is that traders and investors can also trade real-time from within the Uprise Markets’ Lounge on their web browser without needing to load or download any additional trading platforms. The online intuitive web-based platform is accessible from any device without downloading programs or special applications, which allows a trading experience simplified into a trading dashboard. The company also offers free training with no strings attached, and allows wanna-be traders an unlimited time period for running a demo account before taking the leap. According to Dano Fotiadis, CEO and founder of Uprise Markets, historically online trading in forex, CFDs and other instruments has been the domain of the astute investor or market watcher but now he believes that the investor market should be less exclusive and that simplifying the trading process will allow investors to feel less intimidated. “Trading in local and international markets has been restricted to a small number of investors - we believe in reality that the only aspect holding people back is the perceived complication of execution platforms,”. There is clearly more to . . .
When is it time to update your property management system? Cloud-based technology has been available to the local market for some time now, but it seems that the industry is dragging its feet on the uptake. The general feeling is that the exercise is a laborious one and that it requires extensive training. Ankerdata, who supply hotel management solutions to the hospitality industry, have recently installed their Property Management System, protel™, within The Capital Group’s portfolio, based in Sandton. According to Ian Lumsden, General Manager at Ankerdata, one would be surprised at just how many outdated, unproductive hotel management systems there are out there, and migrating to a specifically developed system is not only relatively simple but is not a time-consuming exercise at all. Ian adds, “Typically an installation will take approximately 2 weeks, depending on the size of the hotel, with training done as a dual task, taking up the lion’s share of 5 days, which is coupled with nightly implementation, before system handover and signoff.” Working with hotel owners, revenue managers and operational heads via a series of workshops enables the protel team to establish exactly what the client is looking for. “We are able to customise some of the system tools with our team of developers and programmers locally and in Germany, enabling us to offer specific reporting options and, as was the case with The Capital Hotel Group, to split up the suites that are sold as 2- or 3- bedroom units, as separate rooms, to market,” says Eben Marais, National Operations Manager at Ankerdata. This is probably the longest process, taking up to 3 months depending on the urgency and scope of the new features. Their system was able to go live across all six properties simultaneously, significantly simplifying and improving operations. Although it is always frustrating to learn new systems, the conversion should be a no-brainer because of the long-term benefits - improved data . . .
Since new management moved in at BON Hotel Midrand at the beginning of December, the team at BON Hotels has been ‘cleaning up’. One would think that some time off over the festive season would be required but during the brief shutdown the team worked tirelessly to bring about a renewed venue and energetic team to start the New Year off with a proverbial bang. Whilst refurbishments are under way and will take some time to complete, the signage and branding has already been installed. Says Dean Gilder, General Manager, “Key for us during the closure over the festive season was to deep-clean the entire hotel, perform a few touch-ups and make sure all our amenities were in place.” Behind the scenes the team were hard at work with staff training aimed at improving service and getting their people more involved in decision-making as well as boosting morale. The new chef has created interesting and healthy menu options for the “best breakfast in town” and “on-the-run corporate lunches” for hotel guests and the surrounding business community. As of 2 January, it has been business as usual with companies already making enquiries for use of the conferencing facilities. “We are excited about our offering and more than ready to welcome corporates to our three venues which provide light and modern spaces to work in, seating up to 400 people,” adds Dean. BON Hotel Midrand is gaining popularity and management is confident that the hotel will soon be in a position to compete more than adequately with other conference venues in the area. Author: Vanessa Northing from Adverb Marketing, Communications and Events. More Info link: http://www.bonhotels.com Twitter: @BONHotelMidrand Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConstantiaHotel CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Awarded Best City Hotel They’ve done it again – Hotel Verde, Africa’s greenest hotel, by BON Hotels, received the international World Responsible Tourism Award for Best City Hotel at World Travel Market UK on 5 November 2014. Nominated by Cape Town Tourism in recognition of preservation of, respect for and benefit to the City of Cape Town and its local community. “We are grateful and humbled that the international community has recognized our efforts. To be up for nomination alongside other international hotels, and win, is affirmation of our considerable achievements in sustainable innovation, design, building practices, operational practices and ultimately guest satisfaction.” Says owner Mario Delicio. This four-star city hotel has set the benchmark in sustainable practices and offers the guest a truly exclusive experience. Not only are you staying in an environmentally friendly hotel but you also stay carbon free – a first for Africa. Some of the distinctive offerings at Hotel Verde include green conferencing, weekly earth hour, power-generating gym equipment, eco outings and rewards for sustainable practices during your stay. “Our aim has been to expand on guest experience by directly rewarding our guest with “verdino’s” our in house currency, for making consciously correct choices during their stay. We have involved and supported our local community by procuring local products, increasing job creation and employment of local youth,” says Samantha Annandale, General Manager at Hotel Verde. The Responsible Tourism Awards were founded in 2004 to recognise and encourage change in the tourism industry. In its 11th year this event has grown to be the largest and most respected responsible tourism award in the world! The principle behind the awards is that all types of tourism, from specialised to conventional, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people. Hotel Verde along with Mdumbi . . .
Hotel, catering and tourism is an ever-changing landscape and is the largest, fastest-growing service sector, with an average female contingent of over 55% at global level. The progress women have made in recent years in the male-weighted hospitality industry is impressive but the continued recruitment, retention and promotion of women is crucial to their long-term success in this industry. Guy Stehlik, CEO of BON Hotels, a South African-based company that owns, manages and markets hotels, whose core team is predominantly women, says, “It was not a conscious decision to employ women - ultimately, the BON recipe of hiring successfully comes down to a combination of attitude, qualifications, experience, chemistry and a desire to uphold the BON ethos, that of Good people. Good thinking. Good feeling.” He emphasizes that without exception the women he has employed show a great attention to detail and display strength in their individuality. “And, they can multi-task!” he adds. Typically there seems to be a paradigm that women operate better within the rooms division and “frilly” departments such as sales, marketing, reception, reservations and revenue. Whilst this may be true, it would seem that women operate equally well if not better in high-pressure operations like food & beverage and management. The ladies at BON Hotels agree that they all enjoy the diversity and challenges they face on a daily basis, the opportunity of meeting new people, and the very real potential for growth. Brenda Diedericks, Group Human Resources & Training Manager, adds, “The great thing about the hospitality industry is that you can explore so many different avenues - the potential to grow is endless.” The women relish the challenges of working in a young company where they get to experience different aspects of the business, and an added plus is that there is enormous scope for promotion within the company as they take on more clients. A very real issue in any corporate . . .
Hotel Verde, by BON Hotels, Africa’s Greenest hotel, located at Cape Town International airport, and recently awarded its 4 star status continues their green initiatives in all things sustainable, to reach yet another milestone in their service offerings. They have partnered with impactChoice, provider of end-to-end environmental sustainability solutions, to offer guests and conference delegates a carbon neutral (guilt free) stay, by offsetting their carbon emissions via responsible carbon capturing/reduction projects. Hotel Verde’s Sustainability Strategy, in particular with regards to energy efficiency is rigorous and being more energy and water efficient than most, makes it much easier for them to offer this carbon offsetting programme to their guests – the first HCMI (Hotel Carbon Management Initiative) implementation of its kind in Africa! “We have committed to offsetting each guest’s stay or conference with us at no additional cost to the guest, taking straight from our bottom line. This is another way of differentiating ourselves and adding value to our guests without compromising on guests’ comfort” says Mario Delicio, owner of Hotel Verde, who believes this to be a must-have offering from Hotel Verde. So, what is carbon offsetting? To simplify just how much impact we as humans have on the environment, going about our daily lives, environmentalists have equated all impacts to one measurable yard stick: carbon emissions. Carbon emissions refer to the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere due to human activity, such as burning of fossil fuels. They are measured in metric tons of CO2 and represent 6 primary greenhouse gases. Carbon offsetting represents a removal of carbon emissions made elsewhere to compensate for carbon emitted during your hotel stay. impactChoices’ technology provides a unique solution, that will enable Hotel Verde to apportion these emissions to a product or service offered to guests, and mitigate these through . . .
BON Hotels, a Cape Town-based company that owns, manages and markets hotels, took on ownership and management of Riviera on Vaal Hotel & Country Club, in Gauteng. BON Hotels’ CEO, Guy Stehlik says he is excited at the prospect of extending the company’s footprint into the area as part of their expansion plan, and this is merely the beginning of their journey into other regions. The hotel will be re-named, BON Hotel Riviera on Vaal, and it will be “business-as-usual” but with some minor refurbishments to the facilities. Comments Stehlik, “We look forward to waking her up to her former glory, with a more modern look and feel and a particular focus on providing excellent service to clients, suppliers and most of all, the guests!” Having committed to a long-term lease, Guy Stehlik has assigned his task team to immediately implement the BON Hotels’ operating systems and processes. A dedicated sales team will be assigned to promote the property to the various markets working closely with the marketing team. For many, Riviera on Vaal brings back wonderful memories and is surrounded by great sentiment. The 91-room, 5-floor hotel is a converted farmhouse from the 1800’s situated on a bend of the scenic Vaal River. Location is a key decisive factor in the BON evaluation process - Riviera on Vaal is a 45 minute drive from Johannesburg and is well suited to corporate and conference markets, as well as families and leisure travellers, who are looking for a venue that has extensive facilities. The BON Hotels team will assess and evaluate immediate refurbishment needs, with a focus on upgrading conference facilities and technology. Currently, three restaurants and a floating restaurant give guests the opportunity to choose from a range of menus, also catering to the four conference venues that accommodate up to 200 people. The Riviera on Vaal Country Club is an 18-hole golf course, with a clubhouse steeped in history. The course has been highly recommended by . . .
Adding to their growing collection of accolades, Hotel Verde, coined as ‘Africa’s greenest hotel’, has been awarded the INTERNORGA Trendsetter Award at a ceremony held last night at the official opening of the INTERNORGA Trade Show in Hamburg. This annual award goes to a company that demonstrates with “great intuition, innovation, courage and passion how business practices and sustainable management can work together for optimal results.” For example, the criteria included the use of sustainable technologies which conserve resources and energy, use of raw materials from ecological production and fair trade, a high degree of transparency in manufacturing methods, and outstanding socially responsible actions. Hotel Verde ticked all the boxes, outshining over 100 contenders from hotels, restaurants, caterers, institutional caterers to bakeries worldwide. With a strong focus on true sustainability, and analysis of the various effects of a company in the industry, Hotel Verde has been acknowledged as the trendsetter in their sector, establishing the highest standards for the sustainability of their own products and the company, thus raising the standards for the entire sector. Various factors were considered through the selection process, including: • Energy, water and material efficient operation • Forward looking technologies to promote sustainable development • Food from ecological or sustainable production • Smart recycling solutions • Innovations with practical relevance • Socially responsible action • Exemplary sustainability concepts and tools Hotel Verde owner, Mario Delicio who was delighted to accept the award commented, “The significance of the Trendsetter Award is that it exemplifies what we stand for. We have always said that we may hold the title of Africa’s greenest hotel, but we hope that won’t be for long. Hotel Verde is strategically placed to play a key role in the future of green building and sustainability in South Africa, and the . . .
It seems that guests are enjoying the eco-conscious reminders Hotel Verde have introduced as part of their holistic, sustainable vision. Not only does the hotel implement a range of green operational practices, but they have recently introduced a weekly Earth Hour that gets guests actively involved in their green thinking. Samantha Annandale, Hotel Verde’s general manager, explains that in order to expand Earth Hour, which is traditionally an annual event, Hotel Verde has decided to make it a weekly one. So between 19h00 and 20h00 every Wednesday all non-essential lights and equipment are switched off. In the spirit of reducing electricity consumption, the hotel prepares wood-fired pizzas and offers a discounted menu of specially selected food that is not prepared using the standard energy consuming methods. ’Going green is not just about the building; it’s also about every aspect of the operation. As part of Hotel Verde’s commitment to be “Africa’s greenest hotel”, management is committed to following the principal tenets of sustainable procurement to minimize their environmental impact, to maximize wider social benefits and to aim for zero waste to landfill.’ A green operation Hotel Verde has installed a vertical aquaponic system to minimise use of space and produce vegetables and herbs. The cyclical system of fish and plants involves the breaking down of the fish waste into nitrates, off which the plants will feed, and in turn the plants clean the water for the fish. The system is fed by a timed pump system to ensure that the plants get regular and sufficient water, without compromising on energy output. Split bins are placed in the guestrooms and throughout the property, encouraging waste separation and recycling, as well as to optimize Hotel Verde’s waste reduction plan. All products in the rooms, such as hand lotions, liquid soaps and body washes, are locally produced and are not harmful to the environment. ’This was not an easy task,’ explains . . .
Has your business shown leadership in energy efficiency? Have you implemented significant energy efficiency interventions in your building/s? These are some of the questions Hotel Verde encountered when entering the Energy Efficiency Forum Awards, and clearly they ticked all the boxes and more, with their blaze of innovation and some of the most advanced, environmentally-conscious construction and operation practices in the world. In recognition of their leadership and excellence and innovation in energy efficiency, Hotel Verde was announced the winner of the EEF Awards on 26 November. The Energy Efficiency Forum created the EEF Awards In recognition of leadership and to motivate continued reduction in energy consumption. Applications are judged on the implementation of significant energy efficiency interventions – in terms both of technological and behavioural change – that result in substantial reductions in energy consumption in buildings. Mario Delicio, owner of Hotel Verde, says: “Hotel Verde had the advantage of starting from scratch, so building new meant we could plan much more than by retrofitting an existing building. So, literally from the ground up, we are able to call ourselves Africa’s Greenest Hotel, with much of the emphasis being on energy efficiency.” He adds, “From the design and construction phase through to the operation of the hotel, many dedicated and passionate individuals have gone to great lengths to develop a system that is as sustainable as possible. Advanced energy modelling was applied to the entire building envelope to optimise building design as well as operational practices.” Technologies installed and recognised include: Renewable Energy and Energy Generation - • Three vertical-axis wind turbines • Photovoltaic panels on North-facing roof and façade • Energy-generating gym equipment • Elevators with regenerative braking Energy Efficiency in passive building design - • Thermally (and acoustically) . . .