Newsletter 20th August 2014

Choice Hotels Australasia announces China expansion

One of Australia’s largest hotel franchise groups, Melbourne-based Choice Hotels Australasia, has announced major Greater China expansion plans for the hotel group with 30 new build hotels planned for development over the next five years.

Choice Hotels has signed a development agreement with Hangzhou-based Boli Hotel Management Co., Limited, an independent authorised licensee of Choice Hotels which will be responsible for the development and operations of the anticipated 30 hotels in China, likely to be a mix of upscale Clarion and Quality brand hotels.

Construction of the first new Clarion build is underway in Hangzhou, one of China's most popular tourist destinations, with plans to move ahead and deliver the remaining 29 properties in additional cities across the region by 2021.

Read more here.

NFC14 – Early Bird is closing

There are now less than two weeks to claim the early bird rate for this year’s National Franchise Convention.
Along with the exceptional keynote speaking program, the convention will also feature some of the best known names in franchising on expert panels across a range of topics. Leaders from 7-Eleven, Wendys Supa Sundaes, McDonald’s Australia, Anytime Fitness, Specsavers, Ella Bache, Poolwerx, Endota Spa, Bakers Delight, Luxottica and many more will share their insight and expertise with guests at the event. You can view the program here.
Register before 31 August to take advantage of the early bird rate.

Register here.

Melbourne Expo offers something for everyone

From trampolines to tradies, coffee to cleaning, mortgages to mailboxes, the Melbourne Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo offers business ideas for everyone – whatever their budget, interests or expertise.
A feature event of Victoria’s Small Business Festival, the Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo will give visitors plenty of ideas for starting their own business, or expanding an existing one. There will be seminars full of practical advice and information, plus organisations such as The Franchising Council of Australia (FCA) on hand to assist budding as well as established entrepreneurs.
Most importantly, the Expo will be a showcase for 100 successful Australian and international companies – such as Pack & Send, Plus Fitness 24/7, V.I.P. Home Services, United Petroleum, Mail Boxes Etc, Minuteman Press International, PostNet Australia, Tutor Doctor, Aussie Home Loans, Jim’s Test & Tag and Xpresso Mobile Café – all eager to share their success with potential investors and franchisees.
“Victoria is a key state where we would like to grow and increase our presence,” says Brian Legg, V.I.P.’s Franchise Support Manager for Victoria. “We are seeking people who wish to become a success by following a proven system. No prior experience is required as our franchisees get fully trained in all appropriate areas – not just how to do the work but also how to run a successful business.”

Click here to read more.

Avoid risky business and shred confidential documents

Business owners are being warned to shred all paper-based confidential documents ahead of National Identity Fraud Awareness Week (October 12-18).
NIDFAW spokesman Zach Pote said documents containing personal and financial information can provide fraudsters with sensitive information that has the potential to paralyse entire business operations.
“Business owners have a legal responsibility to protect their staff and client’s confidential information,” Mr Pote said.
“Whether you manage a florist shop or work in the health industry, your business holds confidential personal or financial information. If you fail to store or dispose of this information safely and it falls into the wrong hands, you risk prosecution under the Privacy Act for breaching client confidentiality and you could lose your business.” 
Under the Privacy Amendment Act 2012 passed in March 2014, individuals found to be in breach of the Act can now be fined $340,000, with penalties of up to $1.7 million for an organisation.
Mr Pote said businesses must ensure they have a process for receiving and disposing of documents that may contain sensitive personal information relating to business operations.
His warning comes as an Attorney-General survey found the personal information of almost one in 10 people has been misused in the previous year.
Of these, more than half were victims of theft of credit/debit card information, name (40 per cent), bank account information (31 per cent) and address (24 per cent).
The Identity Crime and Misuse in Australia online survey of 5000 people, conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology for the Attorney-General in May 2013, found that more than two-thirds of Australians are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud in the coming year, up from 60 per cent in 2007.
Mr Pote said while there had been a growing emphasis on protecting your online identity in recent years, paper-based crime was still rife in Australia.
“Your personal identity is as valuable as money – all it takes is for somebody to go through your rubbish or steal personal documents from your unsecured letterbox or desk to obtain details such as your full name and address, which can then be used for criminal purposes.”

Mr Pote, who is the National Sales & Marketing Manager for security products company Fellowes®, recommended that all documents containing confidential personal information be shredded before being safely disposed of.

There are several simple and cost effective security methods that business owners and consumers can put in place to help reduce the risk of identity theft.
These include:

  • Shred all personal and financial information before placing it in the bin
  • Avoid sharing personal details or sending money online to people you don’t know or trust
  • Lock all personal documents in a safe container when not in use
  • Ignore suspicious mail and emails
  • Lock your mailbox or use a Post Office Box
  • Avoid storing personal information on mobiles and laptops
  • Check your billing and account records carefully
  • Choose strong passwords and never select the ‘remember my password’ option
  • Install anti-virus software on your computer
  • Check your credit history annually to make sure there have been no major changes to your credit rating 

NIDFAW, which is supported by Fellowes®, aims to educate businesses and consumers on identity fraud prevention by promoting awareness of the value of personal details, the importance of protecting yourself online and destroying hard copy documents containing personal information, such as bank statements.
For more information on how to protect against identity fraud, visit