HOSPITALITY technology company IVvy has begun its major international expansion program with a new sales centre in South Africa as it plans to increase its workforce six-fold by the end of FY18.
Six weeks ago, the Queensland-based IVvy had 35 staff on its books and, as it expands into the US and the UK, it plans to have a team of 180 by the end of the financial year.
The South African unit in Cape Town will have 24 sales staff and will provide a 24-7 support service as IVvy expands beyond Australia.
"Effectively our South African team is our global sales office and they'll be talking to all our venues about getting on board our platform," says IVvy co-founder and CTO James Greig (pictured).
"One of the challenges about becoming a true international company is that we need to be operating 24-7.
"One of the great things about South Africa is its positioning in that we get the benefit of matching the UK time zone and it is not such a big challenge to then cover the US time zone because in Australia we'd have to be working in the middle of the night."
The company has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2009, gaining more than 12,000 users in 13 countries, and Greig says the new expansion plans will provide a real challenge.
"There are risks involved and perhaps the biggest challenge will be managing the cultural change that comes with becoming an international business," Greig says.
IVvy offers an online alternative to the traditional request-for-proposal meetings model that promises to save planners and venues time and money.
The company has made its mark in the hospitality industry by creating the first global distribution system for meetings and events that provides real-time availability, rates and inventory for function space, catering, group accommodation and event suppliers.
IVvy also developed and introduced an integrated revenue management and distribution platform for meetings venues to manage inquiries and bookings, drive inbound revenue and enhance reporting and visibility, optimizing operations and the guest experience.
IVvy's cloud-based event management platform enables meeting planners to work virtually using computers, tablets or smartphones. Among other capabilities, iVvy provides tools for planners to create custom event websites featuring online registration and hotel and airline bookings.
Planners also can manage sponsors and guest speakers, assign seating, accept payments and promote their events with iVvy via integrated email, text and social media tools.
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