Category Archives: Business

Grant Thornton Survey: 5-Star Hotels Performed Better Than 4-Star Hotels

The 2019 Grant Thornton survey is the 16th consecutive year for this comprehensive study of high-end hotels and resorts. The Vietnam Hotel Survey revealed that 5-star hotels scored higher on various performance criteria than their 4-star counterparts.

 

A 5-star hotel in Saigon continues to be the hotel of choice despite a 4.1 percent increase in price between 2017 and 2018 with a 0.5 increase in occupancy. On the other hand, 4-star hotels saw a 2.3 percent decrease in price and yet still experienced a 1 percent decrease in occupancy. These increases on average are from US$107.6 in 2017 to $112 in 2018. By contrast, the decrease is from $75.2 per night to $73.4 per night.

 

The changes in these room rates consequently affected the revenue per available room (RevPAR) with 5-star hotels going up to $83.4 in 2018 from $79.1 IN 2017, while 4-star hotels decreased by 3.6 percent. Although both types of hotels experienced a decrease in bookings through channels such as tour operators and travel agencies, 4-star hotels saw the biggest drop at 7.1 percent, while 5-star hotels experienced only a 2.8 percent drop.

 

The survey revealed that 5-star hotels seem to be more open to digital developments in their operations with 95.5 percent of them applying data mining and analysis, while only 77.8 percent of 4-star hotels confirmed to have been doing the same.Mobile apps are also a new tool that 54.5 percent of 5-star hotels are utilizing, while 4-star hotels only have a figure of 34.6 percent. Checking in and out online are available in 42.9 percent of 5-star hotels, but only 28.6 percent for 4-star hotels. Social media such as Facebook is used by 100 percent of 5-star hotels and 96.3 of 4-star hotels.

 

In 2018, a total of 2,400 new accommodations were registered at the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Out of that number of accommodations, 83 properties fall under the 3- to 5-star categories. The 83 properties are equal to 22,419 keys: 34 properties of 17,366 keys are 5-star hotels and 15 properties of 2,990 keys are 4-star.

 

The rise of 5-star accommodations and the fall of 4-star ones are apparent in the Grant Thornton survey. Across different performance criteria, results show that guests are more likely to choose a 5-star hotel in Saigon and other such locations in Vietnam than they are a 4-star one because of upgrades and modernization, regardless of price increases.

Vietnam: 5-Star Hotels Scored Higher Than 4-Star Ones

Grant Thornton, a consulting and accounting firm, released its 16th annual survey of upscale hotels and resorts. The results of the Vietnam Hotel Survey showed that based on certain performance criteria, 5-star hotels scored higher in 2017 to 2018 than did the 4-star ones.

 

Looking at the occupancy criteria, guests are more likely to book accommodations at 5-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and other places in Vietnam. The results of the survey showed that 5-star hotel percentages on occupancy rose by 0.5 percent, compared to the 1 percent decrease for 4-star hotels. The rise and fall in occupancy rates for 5- and 4-star hotels respectively are despite the 4.1 percent price increase in the former and the 2.3 percent decrease in the latter. The increases and decrease have the average amount equivalent of USD 107.6 in 2017 to USD 112 in 2018 for 5-star hotels and USD 75.2 to USD 73.4 in the same period for 4-star hotels.

 

The revenue per available room or RevPar consequently went up to USD 83.4 from USD 79.1 for 5-star hotels but went down by 3.6 percent for 4-star hotels. Numbers from the reservation channels of tour operators and travel agencies revealed an overall decrease for both categories, but 4-star hotels had a much larger decrease at 7.1 percent compared to the 2.8 percent decrease for 5-star ones.

 

The survey also included how open to digital developments, technological advancements, and online marketing both these hotel categories are. On all aspects, 5-star hotels also scored higher with 95.5 percent employing data mining and analytics compared to only 77.8 percent of 4-star hotels doing the same.Mobile apps and online check-in and check-out are used mostly by 5-star hotels. The survey reported 5-star hotel percentages at 54.5 and 42.9 respectively, compared to 4-star numbers at 34.6 and 28.6 only respectively. Even social media is utilized fully by 5-star hotels to reach their intended audience and markets, with the 100 percent confirming use of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, while 4-star hotel percentage is only at 96.3.

 

The results of the Grant Thornton are clear. When it comes to accommodations, 5-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and in the rest of Vietnam have performed better than 4-star hotels. These hotels have invested in and maximized on developments digital or otherwise to ensure their growth.

‘Adults-Only’ Holidays Seeing Increasing Demand From Indian Travelers

Different people have different tastes, and travellers are no exception, bringing their own sensibilities to the Accor Hotel in Koh Samui, or wherever destination they head for.  For Indian travellers, they’re looking to travel to places without kids.

‘Adults-only’ holidays are becoming increasingly popular for Indian travellers, particularly for post-honeymoon couples, with Australian travel website Luxury Escapes noting how it’s recently become the second most-used filter, accounting for 15% of all searches by Indian visitors on their website.

Travellers from India are now looking for getaways that feature everything, and not everything, namely, no kids. Arun Ashok, India Country Manager for Luxury Escapes, notes how such products have gone up in demand, which has, in turn, increased the site’s work, given that the Aussie-bred travel site specializes in specially curated travel packages.

Daniel D’Souza, Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel, also took note of how Indian travelers were preferring adult-only resorts, saying that choices like Accor Hotel in Koh Samui offer the chance to get some R&R away from the daily routine, and, sometimes, that just means not having kids around.

Cox & Kings Head of Relationships Karan Anand notes that, while adults-only resorts are in demand, they’re particularly in demand throughout South Africa, in Thailand’s Koh Samui, as well as in a few other key destinations in the Asia region, notably, in Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. He explains that the reason most Indian travellers looking for adults-only resorts travel out of the country is due to the fact that India doesn’t have too many of such properties, but they are abundant abroad.

Co-founder Rajnish Kumar, of the travel and booking e-commerce website Ixigo notes that, for international visitors there was an increase of 22% in search queries for adult-only resorts in the UAE, the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Maldives, and Thailand, with 51% of these travellers in the age range of 25-34.

They note how these couple-only holidays are becoming more and more popular, a good sign for the industry as travellers are now opting for customized travel experiences, instead of the usual cookie-cutter package. People in the field are expecting an increase in travel, not just for the adult-only properties.

 

Zimbabwe Assures Visitors That They Will Not Be Affected By The Removal Of Multi-Currency System

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority announced that the removal of the multi-currency system from the economy will not affect visitors to the country. Zimbabwe is a popular tourist destination in Africa and if you have plans to visit the country, you better check Currency Exchange whether you can buy Zimbabwe dollars before you travel.

In order to bring normalcy to their economy, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube replaced the multi-currency system with the local unit account RTGS$/ZWL for local transactions. Regulations are meant for any transaction within Zimbabwe where it is prohibited to use foreign currency in hard cash.

Legal tender will be in Zimbabwe dollars whether cash or electronic form and it will not negatively affect travelers’ especially foreign visitors. Credit cards will still be accepted in Zimbabwe because relevant arrangements have been made with international credit card companies like Visa, MasterCard and those issued by banks in the traveler’s country of origin.

Visitors must make all the necessary arrangements with their banks before they travel to Zimbabwe. Once they reach their destination, they need to look for the logos of their respective credit cards. Terms and conditions in the credit card use will apply and all transactions made will be subjected to the limits provided by the bank.

Visitors can use ATMs to withdraw cash in local currency through their internationally-accepted credit cards. The machines are clearly marked international with the accepted logos of credit card companies. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange bureaus and authorized foreign currency dealers at prevailing bank rates.

Visitors are encouraged to use plastic money and exchange only an amount they expect to spend in the country. There is no truth to the rumors that police are authorized to stop people and search them for foreign currency. Possession of foreign currency is not prohibited but for transactions, the foreign currency must be converted to Zimbabwe dollars.

To avoid the hustle of exchanging your dollars at a tourist destination, a better option is Currency Exchange before travelling. For your convenience, there are online foreign currency exchange services online that can provide the best rates for the lowest fees.

Tips In Choosing An Expert On Car Vinyl Wrap In Brisbane

There are different ways to add extra attraction to your car. One of the many ways is to look for a contractor that does car vinyl wrap in Brisbane for cars and vehicles. By doing some search on the internet, you will find a lot of expert signage makers within Brisbane or your district. The only thing challenging is to choose which of the service providers deliver the most satisfactory results. The following are tips to help you choose the right service provider.

Customized services

One indication that a service provider of vehicle wraps is at par with standards is that they can deliver the type of car wraps demanded by customers. Surely, there are standard car wraps or ready-made types and they are relatively cheaper. However, they are not customized and you might come across with other cars with the same wraps as yours. To do away with higher costs, let the service provider know of your working budget. Talk to a car wrap expert to determine the costs and what you can get from the service charge.

Offers a number of services

Search for a contractor that offers an array of services that you can choose from. The service provider should be able to offer options such as digital or manual vinyl wrapping. It would also be better if the contactor of car vinyl wrap in Brisbane offers customized services in order for you to have the deign that you want. They should also be able decals and wraps for your personal vehicle or company cars with budget options suitable for you. There are contractors that also offer banners, home wall paper, construction mesh, vehicle wrapping and other similar services.

Quality service

Choose a provider of car vinyl wrap in Brisbane that is reputable with known professionalism in the industry. The contractor should be able to provide a timely cost estimate or a reasonable turnaround time of 48 hours. Ask for recommendations or referrals from your friends or call the contractor’s customer service number to find out how professional they are in handling customers.

Places Where Traditional Burial And Cremation Are Very Expensive

Respect is at the heart of every service provided by the funeral director in Sydney to families. Grieving families can expect empathy and understanding during one of the saddest hours of their life. An appropriate atmosphere is created by the funeral director so that families, relatives and friends can say their final goodbye.

A study made by finder.com revealed that New Jersey is home to four of the 10 most expensive cities (Bernardsville, Summit, Chatham and Parsippany) for a traditional burial. The cheapest funeral in the top 10 is $8,500 while the most expensive is $9,847. Cremation is cheaper but in the 4 cities, the service can cost an average of $4,800. In Rockville, cremation costs $6,170, the highest.

Youngstown, Ohio has the cheapest cremation service at $2,850. The cheapest funeral at $5,250 is provided in Boone, North Carolina followed by $5,305 at Troy, Alabama. Cremation in Vancouver, Washington is higher by 2 dollars. The bottom line is funeral and cremation services are expensive no matter where you live.

People are happy to spend for weddings, baby showers, graduation, birthdays and anniversaries because the happiness they gain is more than worth the money paid. There are instances when people are not happy to spend and this includes dental work, home repairs, student loans and funeral services. The thought of spending thousands of dollars over something that will not provide them happiness makes even the most generous question the expense.

The costs of a funeral service can quickly spiral out of control. Grieving families have to spend on transporting the body of the deceased, caskets, embalming, burial plots, grave liners and headstones. It is unfortunate because money prevents people from the funeral they desire. A thoughtful decision is to plan ahead so that you can control the funeral arrangements while you are still alive.

You can discuss pre-planning of funeral arrangements with the funeral director in Sydney to make sure that every detail is to your liking. If you prefer cremation over traditional burial, you will be absolutely certain that you will get what you want. The funeral director will ensure that all the directions you left behind will be conveyed to the family.

 

Locksmith Conquers Silicon Valley

Dave O’Toole is 60 years old and a locksmith based in Dublin. He is now the talk of many in the world especially those with the same profession such as Geebung locksmith because he was able to conquer Silicon Valley. He was the victor of a competition wherein he submitted his invention which is a smart lock. He developed the system after her mother suffered stroke and she no longer able to open doors like she used to.

The locksmith turned tech entrepreneur said that he has been working as a locksmith for the last two decades while operating his own business located in Amiens Street. He is now on his way to making it big because there are many leading companies in the tech industry who are willing to acquire the license for the smart lock technology he designed.

There are 120 other inventions submitted during the competition but Mr. O’Toole came out to be the winner. His invention is called the Touch Smart Lock system which was dubbed to be the product with the highest potential. Indiegogo, a crowdfunding firm, was the organizer of the completion in partnership with AT&T, a telecom company, and Arrow Electronics, one of the Fortune 500 firms.

According to the techy locksmith, he is now putting all his energy into raising a new crowdfunding campaign to raise €1 million in order to create a finished commercial product out of the prototype he has created.

The smart lock system is ideal for people in the older spectrum as well as those who are suffering from physical disabilities. It can be incorporated with a regular mechanical lock within five minutes. The system changes the frequency signals through touch control feature that will allow the user to unlock their doors with a simple touch of a key fob. They can keep it inside their bags or in their bags so they don’t have to search for missing kiss or forget their access codes.

Following in Mr. O’Toole’s footsteps, a Geebung locksmith also wishes to make a name for him because of the inspiration brought by the former to the entire industry. It is a testament that dreams do come true.

Improved Security on Vehicles and ATM Devices Necessary

A plant hire manager in Northern Ireland has stressed the imperative for ATM installation services on improved security in machines used for construction works.

The observation from Brendan Byrne, the plant hire manager, after a digger was stolen, was utilized in ripping a cash machine stationed by a shop in County Londonderry.

The theft took place during the early hours of Sunday at a garage near Dungiven.

The Infrastructure Department has reaffirmed that the machinery was snatched from a big roads project site between Dungiven and Drumanhoe.

Removal and loading of the cash machine into a Citroen Berlingo by masked men took only about four minutes, as seen in a camera footage.

 The Security Gaps

 According to Mr. Byrne, “one key” can fit a number of other machineries in the yard. He said that with a bunch of keys, it is relatively safe to state that a machinery in there can be driven away.

To illustrate, he said that the case is like having a £20,000 worth car with a chipped key.

He observed that a construction machine costing as much as £80,000 to £100,000 practically does not come with devices against thief.

The government’s Infrastructure Department has reminded contractors on overnight equipment security in project sites.

The incident also brought to light the security situation of the stolen ATM machine, and probably a call to action for innovation by ATM installation services providers and related stakeholders. It was evident that the crime was perpetrated on an unguarded area, and no alarms sounded off though camera footages recorded the occurrence.

Protection Measures for Consideration by ATM Installation Services Providers and Vehicle Manufacturers

Federation of Master Builders’ Gavin Maguire raised the contractors’ concern that GPS equipment fitted into the machines seemed to be rendered useless by unscrupulous methods used by criminals.

On the other hand, agencies involved in ATM installation services and other stakeholders need to establish working measures to protect hardware against physical looting.

The spate of physical attacks on ATMs should serve as signal for ATM installation services providers to improve hardware technology and protection.

A notable view by some banking experts is that the “prize” within the machine should be rendered worthless to the thieves. Thus, bills become stained inside a stolen ATM device. But this is just one of the useful technologies, and more needs to be done.

 

Why Australia Needs To Adopt Bilingual Curriculum

An academic said that there are many reasons to be motivated to learn a new language but there is still more that can be done in order to teach learners to adapt a second language. Anna Dabrowski is a senior lecturer working at the University of Melbourne and according to her there were over 60-language policies introduced beginning in the 1970s in order to answer this ongoing issue. Majority of schools think about many school improvements they could provide for the children such as high school classroom furniture but the truth is that there are more pressing matters that need to be addressed such as the crowded curriculum that is currently being followed all over Australia.

Dr.Dabrowski said that this crowded curriculum is the culprit as to why the country is still monolingual as opposed to the effect of population. She added that the parents’ support plays a vital role and they should show that they value different languages. A person’s brain greatly benefits when one learns more than one language. For instance, students that are bilingual can decided more sophisticatedly by using their cognitive functions compared to students who only learn one language.

There are many reasons why the country does not have enough fluent language teachers, according to Dr.Dabrowski. One of the main reasons is the requirement to have a teaching registration which should be in accordance to the state or the territory where one is teaching. Another problem is that many of the educators are not very proficient when it comes to other languages and not many have the capability to teach the students a second language.

She finds it absurd that the government missed to look upon the parent communities. She cited China as an example where every classroom has two teachers – the first one teaches in Mandarin while the other one is instructing in English.

The trend is already starting in Australia as four schools in New South Wales have already signed up for the bilingual program. Just as much as parents criticize the high school classroom furniture that their children are using, it is also important to pay the same level of scrutiny to the curriculum of the students and bilingual is the future of Australia.

US-China Trade Spat Giving Thailand Opportunity To Bring In More Tourists

The increasing tensions between the US and China might have something good for Naroua Villas in Koh Toa, Thailand and the rest of the Kingdom’s tourism sector, as travellers from mainland China look to shorten their distant journeys and find destinations closer to their home country instead.

Thailand’s tourism sector is expected to get a boost from the trade dispute, and the Thai government is keeping an eye on the Chinese government to see if the later will issue a travel ban against the US for its residents, similar to what they did to South Korea and Japan when they were having increasing conflicts with those two countries.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor YuthasakSupasorn said that there are TAT offices in China doing assessments on the country’s tourism and economy as a result of the trade conflicts with the US. According to him, five TAT offices in the country noted that Yuanwas being appreciated, alongside the trade conflicts, which could be what deter Chinese travellers from travelling abroad.

Mr. Yuthasak says that these factors might slow down decision-making for international trips, as well as tourism spending. However, assessments and report suggest that these factors might not hit middle- to upper-class people might not be affect as much, which is important to note, as they’re the ones that normally travel internationally at least once, annually.

TAT offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Kunming, and Shanghai promote Thailand to travellers, with 10.5 million Chinese travelling to the country in 2018, to the delight of Naroua Villas in Koh Toa, Thailand and others in the country’s tourism industry, with predictions saying that the number will hit 11.6 million by the end of 2019.

Mr. Yuthasak, however, also noted that other Asian countries could benefit from the trade war, meaning that there’ll be fierce competition for attracting Chinese travellers. Thailand has several VISA policies, like waiving visa-on-arrival fees, and the like, but they’re still working out some of the kinks.

While dealing with all of this, and as a backup, the TAT will also be focusing on the short-haul market, Mr. Yuthasak reports.

On top of all of that, the TAT also has plans to sign deals with major Chinese companies like China Travel and Alipay in order to help with facilitating Chinese visitors to Thailand.