It’s not very often that we see small businesses given the opportunity to grow in big industries. Many entrepreneurs who are just starting out, often have little to no guidance on how to effectively spread the word about their offering, especially with technology expanding as rapidly as it is. This is especially prevalent in the tourism and hospitality industries, where big, multinational companies grow ever more powerful by leveraging technology.
Luckily, there is a solution for smaller tourism players in South Africa. Owners of local B&B, lodges and guest houses can now play in the big leagues with the help of Jurni, a new platform for locals, by locals. Instead of just being an online tool, Jurni works alongside their partners to make sure that they succeed.
Jurni is a platform that allows travellers to find and book their stays in highly localised areas. They are committed to helping smaller businesses tell their stories, especially those who are located in smaller, off-the-beaten-track towns. One such establishment is Mooi@Hippo, a charming self-catering accommodation in the beachside town of Jeffrey’s Bay. This quaint spot is run by Elaine Mooi, who says that working with Jurni has helped them improve the way they market their business online.
“I was always a bit nervous dealing with technology, especially because online marketing can be a bit intimidating if you aren’t that clued up on it,”
“But since partnering with Jurni, we have been able to expand our offering.”
Another key element of Jurni’s work is hosting regular community huddles. These huddles are important for the team to stay in touch with the different SMMEs that they’ve onboarded. The huddle sessions are used to inspire and educate attendees on ways to attract more business to their towns and respective establishments. These are often headed up by Tshepo Matlou, Head of Marketing & Communications at Jurni, who says that Jurni is not just about technology, but also about providing support and experience to the business owners.
Owner of Twin Lodges in Mthatha, Lungelwa Mtshabe, comments that having access to these huddles shows that Jurni is a platform that really values and exercises ubuntu.
“As an owner of a small establishment in the Eastern Cape, it is really important for me to attract as many tourists as I can to our town. Bigger cities like Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg have many tourists naturally flocking to them, so for us it takes a bit more work to entice them to visit,”
“Being hosted on a platform like Jurni helps us become visible to visiting tourists, and adds another avenue of exposure for our establishment.”
Similarly, Geraldo Boa, owner of Limpopo-based guest house Boa Mutepe, is delighted at the opportunities that are afforded by the Jurni platform:
“Being a smaller player in the tourism space can be such an incredible opportunity. More and more tourists are on the hunt for unique, off-the-beaten-track experiences that can’t be found in larger, generic cities and hotels. Modern tourists want to experience real life in the places they visit, and we can offer them that, and be more visible to them through a booking platform such as Jurni.”
Jurni has built their platform through a back-end system of data collected about local facilities through the various industry representative bodies and the actual business owners. Their role in the industry is enablement for the local tourism sector through data collection that allows for match-making between small and medium accommodation facilities and travellers that would otherwise struggle to connect because they are largely unrecorded, ungraded and located in township and rural areas.
It’s this match-making that they hope to continue doing as the tourism industry in South Africa recovers from a gruelling two years. More than ever, smaller businesses need platforms to share their stories and offerings on, and this is exactly what Jurni is doing.
Jurni is a platform that allows travellers to find and book their stays in highly localised areas. This is achievable through a back-end system of data collected about these facilities through the various industry representative bodies and the actual business owners.
Jurni’s role in the industry is enablement for the local tourism sector through data collection that allows for match-making between small and medium accommodation facilities and travellers that would otherwise struggle to connect because they are largely unrecorded, ungraded and located in township and rural areas.