Four generations of McGuires have run hotels in Brisbane and the South East Queensland region – it’s a passion for hospitality that seems to be in the blood.
Irish ex-policeman James McGuire saw an opportunity and took it, opening a pub in Brisbane in the early 1900s.
That was the first of what would become a family empire, spurred on by legendary pub owner Richard “Dick” McGuire who took over the business in the 1960s. His four children, Richard, Regina, Jim and Tom, worked alongside their dad from the get-go, and even today, the next generation is still hands-on – with 17 grandkids waiting in the wings.
Still family owned after 120 years
That spirit of togetherness is at the heart of the group’s success today. McGuires is the largest family-owned hotel chain in Queensland – with ten establishments across the state.
Being still family-owned is a rarity these days, with many owners selling to multinational chains. But keeping it in the family means the McGuires can continue providing honest value for money in friendly, neighbourly hotels. It’s a big part of why McGuires has been such a long-running success, even with the twists and turns of changing tastes and expectations (not to mention a global pandemic).
As the business has passed from one generation to the next, it has adapted to become more modern and efficient – and when the latest generation started to move up the ranks, it was the group’s disjointed business management system that they started eyeing up first.
“In 2016, the next generation of family members started to come through who were more up to date with technology. So we started to look at how to better integrate our systems,” says Angela Corcoran, Head of Group Accounts.
Manual processes hindering progress
Out-of-the-box system limited in functionality
The business was experiencing a raft of challenges – their old system required hefty manual entry, despite having a digital accounting system.
“There were three of us that were basically just doing data entry – it was slow, tedious, and you lacked the time to do any kind of analysis because you were constantly stuck in the circle of data entry,” Angela explains.
Reports weren’t in real-time, so management simply couldn’t see how the business was performing today – only what had happened the month before.
And then there was the issue of keeping systems updated across all ten hotel sites.
“Logistically it was a nightmare!” says Angela. “The file sizes back then didn’t really send well, we were backing up with USBs or sometimes discs, and then we’d have to send it up with one of our in-house couriers before I could even start the work on it.”
"It wasn’t a process we could maintain, especially as we continued to grow, buy more hotels, or hotels started getting bigger – then it became a big problem."
MYOB Advanced brings hotel family together
System customised to meet business needs
It didn’t take long for the new generation of McGuires to notice that Angela and her team were consumed by data entry – leaving hardly any time to analyse the data.
“My eyes lit up when I found out what MYOB Advanced was capable of and how much time it could save me and my team,” says Angela.
Customised to the business, MYOB Advanced offered flexibility and more functionality, allowing her team to multitask.
"Being able to run a P&L for all ten hotels side by side for whatever date period I wanted within a minute or two – that excited me a lot!"
Integrated, streamlined, working efficiently
Automated workflow speeds up daily tasks
Every day, stock invoices from across the business are imported into MYOB Advanced from multiple sources, as well as sales and banking from their POS, gaming machines and accommodation systems. The system automatically handles huge transaction volumes and generates a weekly CSV wage file in minutes.
For Angela, this change has improved efficiency and reduced her stress levels.
“I would never once go for more than a day or two on holiday because trying to play catch-up when you got back was just a nightmare.”
“Streamlining that business function means we’ve been able to scale back and refocus our time on continual improvements and efficiencies – like at the moment, we’re in the process of setting up bank feeds – that will ultimately help to drive the business forward,” she says.
Easy automatic-payment approvals
The business has also tightened up its bill-approval process, switching the responsibility from staff at head office to individual hotel managers.
Before, bills would be paid before managers were able to check them.
“We just couldn’t move the paperwork around quick enough for manager approvals to happen before getting the bill be paid on time,” Angela explains.
Now, supplier invoices are automatically loaded to the system, where managers can view and approve payments. This gives better visibility of running costs and means errors are picked up quickly.
Access to real-time reporting
Because Angela and her team are now freed from mass amounts of data entry, the business has access to powerful real-time financial insights – within a week of the current trading date – shifting the team’s focus from completing manual processes to contributing valuable strategic recommendations when planning for future growth.
“We’re getting utilised in a different way. Now, we’re getting a lot more involved with business decisions and fixing errors in a timely manner,” Angela says.
Adapting to a global pandemic
Migrating the business to a cloud-based system has not only been critical for working from home but being able to access data remotely is now the new normal. Angela says the business is lucky they’ve been able to stay somewhat operational – before MYOB Advanced, accessing data remotely just would not have been possible.
“When COVID hit, and Brisbane did go into lockdown, I was able to work from home – that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do with our old system.”
No longer running ten steps behind
With MYOB Advanced, McGuires has shifted focus from repetitive administrative tasks to projects that add value and drive business performance.
“The difference it has made both from a work and personal health perspective – I couldn’t fault it,” Angela says.
"I’ve got a lot more enthusiasm for my job and I think a lot of that is from the fact that now I’ve got time to focus on analysis and strategic work. I like the fact that there’s always something new to learn and progress to."
A quick rundown on McGuires Hotels
- First pub acquired in the early 1900s, now the largest family-owned hotel chain in Queensland, Australia
- Still a family-run business after 120 years
Running like clockwork with Advanced
- Stock, sales and banking can be seen across their business entities and locations
- Accessible, real-time reporting now being used to drive business performance
- Cloud-based ERP allows remote access and working from home capabilities
- Simplified approvals process helps hotel managers stay on top of running costs
- Administrative tasks streamlined and automated = better employee output