Imminent VAT change

Recently the South African Minister of Finance announced a tax change of 1% effective from 1 April. What will this mean for your business and how will you implement the changes in your operations? We’ve prepared a document to guide you through. Please note, this is our advice and experience and we are not responsible for the decisions or actions taken in your business operations.

We will cover:

Understanding the changes

Implementing the tax changes in your business

Making changes in ResRequest

Understanding the changes

In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba advised that, for the first time since 1993, South Africa will be facing a 1% VAT hike to be implemented on 1 April 2018. During his speech he listed many more areas which will see tax changes emerging.

What’s changing? VAT, personal tax (although the increase will be below inflation and only apply to the bottom tax brackets), sinner’s tax, fuel levies, donations tax, excise duties on luxury goods and estate duty. See for a summary. Medical aid rebates, capital gains tax, company tax, dividend withholding tax.

In addition to these policies Gigaba outlined the mechanisms to source taxes from different sectors – see for more details. The message was clear, SA government plan to source more tax money across the board.

You can argue about the fairness, you can debate the timing, what you cannot do is avoid the reality that it’s here and you have to decide how best to handle it in your business.

In tourism, especially in the luxury safari industry, rates are determined well in advance of travel. Most accommodation suppliers cater for group bookings and international travel which is often booked 12 to 18 months in advance. Part of their success requires releasing rates far in advance so international operators can prepare and print their travel products in brochures. This makes short term rate adjustments complicated and needing thought and discussion before choosing your response.

This blog outlines our experience when governments have introduced VAT and tax changes across the continent. We have included our understanding of the situation and samples of general fiscal changes and how they were managed which may help preparing for the SA VAT change of 14% to 15% from 01 April 2018.

Implementing the tax changes in your business

Choosing your response to the tax changes should be specific to your situation. Take into consideration the following:

  1. What is the operational ruling around the tax change?
    This will help you determine the best way to implement the changes in your business applications.
  2. As a business should we increase our rates or should we absorb the tax?
    Take counsel from your auditors, marketing teams, rates and reservation managers. Don’t rush in following your neighbour’s strategy as it may not make business sense for you based on your margins, business relationships and corporate taxes.
  3. What is the best way to implement the change in my system?
    This is dependent on the ruling around the tax change. Government may be prepared to accept conditions such as honouring 14% for bookings that already have deposits recorded or bookings already invoiced; however, there is no indication of this and we assume that legislation will be based around SA ruling that VAT becomes payable on the date of an invoice.
  4. How should I notify my trade partners?
    Advising the trade of the change is tricky, it’s important to be honest about your preferred choice and your reasons for the decisions you’ve made. Consider sending an announcement to your partners that there are changes coming and that you’re identifying the best option for all parties. Follow-up with details of your choices as soon as you’ve made them.

Consideration of changes around operational rulings

We know the following:

  • VAT becomes payable on the date of invoice. Thus the ruling VAT rate at that date applies.
  • This is not affected by the date on which payment is received. (This is a subjective interpretation.)
  • Operator terms and conditions are likely to include a statement that rates are subject to statutory charges, such as VAT. Thus there is not likely to be any legal impediment to increasing contracted rates to account for the VAT increase.

Business considerations

If reservations travelling on or after 1 April are invoiced before April, it seems that 14% VAT will apply. However any changes to those reservations subsequent to 1 April will require variation credit notes and / or invoices, which will attract VAT at 15%.

A business has the option of either absorbing the VAT increase, or passing it on to the customer. Absorbing the increase means paying the 15% VAT but not recouping the additional 1% from the customer.

Alternatively, the business can pass the cost on to the customer, which means increasing rates to include the 1% increase. If the customer is VAT registered in South Africa, the increase will be recouped via their VAT input submission. They will then be faced with making the decision about passing the cost on to their end customer.

Scenarios on existing bookings

The significant factor is whether the service is delivered before 1 April, or not.

Timing of payment is irrelevant except in the case of an operator that is specifically authorised to pay VAT on receipt of payment (a rare scenario). It could be argued that VAT is payable upon receipt of a deposit payment but we have not encountered this practice in South Africa.

The existence of contracted rates with customers is not relevant.

Here are factors to consider which may influence your approach:

  • Payment status of the booking (consider the different implications of a booking being unpaid / part paid / fully paid).
  • The value of the booking (assess the scale of the cost should you choose to absorb the cost and assess the potential fallout if you increase the rate).
  • Lead time to arrival date (agents are more likely prepared to accept rate changes if they have enough time to notify their clients).
  • Customer relationship.
  • The extent of the practical overhead of changing rates and services (consider the time to publish new rate sheets, make adjustments to your system rates and re-price existing reservations).

Operational considerations

If you opt to absorb the cost you will need to:

  • Change the tax settings in your sales system.
  • Reprice all affected reservations that will be invoiced on or after 1 April.

If you opt to pass on the cost you will need to:

  • Advise all customers of the change.
  • Amend the amounts on your rate sheets.
  • Change tax settings in your sales system.
  • Change rate amounts in your sales system.
  • Reprice all reservations that will be invoiced on or after 1 April.

How some clients are approaching the change

  • Some clients indicate that they will absorb the VAT change for a 6 month window from April, thereafter rates will be increased to accommodate the change.
  • Some clients indicate they will absorb the VAT change for 2018 and will adjust rates in 2019.

Some clients indicate they will absorb tax on bookings that are confirmed and have a deposit already paid before 01 April. The supplier will absorb the change of VAT in these cases. If the booking is provisional, with no deposit, they will adjust pricing to a new rate which caters for the 1% increase, before confirming.


VAT 404 Guide for Vendors – External Guide Chapters 4 and 5 of the general tax guide (VAT 404) cover the time of supply, which is important (Pages 26 -32)

VAT 411 Guide for Entertainment Accommodation and Catering – External Guide The guide for accommodation and catering (VAT 411) gives more focused information on the accommodation industry. Chapter 7, page 47 is the most relevant.

I’ve made up my mind, now I need to change my rates, extras and bookings in ResRequest. What next?

If you use ResRequest to track your taxes on your room rates and / or extras, you’ll need to change your taxes on all affected bookings, rates and extras. In all likelihood you already have bookings that will be invoiced after 01 April 2018. These bookings will need the new taxes applied to extras and accommodation rates. There’s no way to work around it – you have work ahead!

We’ve highlighted the key steps to follow below.

1. Create the new tax rate

Add a new tax rate of 15% in your system. You will need this to change or create your 15% extras and room rates.

WARNING! You may be tempted to edit the 14% to 15% – this will not have the required effect and will negatively impact your taxes. The 14% tax rate must remain on the code table for historical bookings and for reporting. The new tax rate must be a new tax rate record.
From the main menu select: Administration > Setup > Code tables > Tax Rate. Then add the new 15% tax rate (create a unique, recognisable description).

See our online Tax Rate Code table for more guidance.


2. Prepare reports for reservation comparisons before and after the tax change is applied

Before you make any changes to your bookings, generate and export detailed reports so you can compare changes before and after you apply the new taxes to your bookings. A recommended report is the Financial Analysis by Folio report. From the main menu select: Reports > Financials > Financial Analysis (Folio)

See our recommended online below. Add more Fields as required so the report includes everything you need for your reservation and accounts team to review after the changes.

3. Change Extras

3.1 On future bookings already created, that require the new tax, change Extras to use the new 15% tax rate (the Tax % will update automatically) and change the Unit Price if you plan to pass the increase to customers. In addition to editing all affected bookings, do this for all new bookings.

3.1.1 You could duplicate your Extras so each VAT-rated Extra has a record for 14% and a record for 15% – this is feasible if the volume of extras you manage can be cloned.

3.2 Change Extra codes. Wait for 01 April 2018, then change your Extras codes so all new Extras are automatically created as 15%. Change the amount on the Extras code table if required.  To change Extras in your Extras Code Table, take a look at our Extras online user guide

3.3 If you are tracking camp-based guest extras, remember to update those extras for your front-of-house teams!


4. Change Room Rates

4.1 If you plan not to change your room rates, it will be less work to continue as normal, i.e. with no changes, until 01 April 2018. We recommend adding a note to your documentation or Terms & Conditions advising that taxes will be changing from 01 April which will show on documentation after the 01 April. From 01 April 2018 invoice everything that should raise 14% tax i.e. where the invoice date is prior to 01 April.

The next step is to change all your affected room rate components, across all your rate types and future periods, from 14% tax to 15%. If you have a high volume of rates, ResRequest can help as we have a tool capable of making wide changes to rates. Contact us if you have a high volume of rates that are impractical to edit, we’ll quote you for our time and project management for this data change. If you’d prefer to make the change from the front-end, review our Rates Guides for a refresher on rates setup.

The next step is to regenerate all bookings where the new tax and / or amount will be applied, review our Regenerate Folios Guides for help.

4.2 If you plan to change some or all of your rate amounts, edit your rate periods. Next add new rates – it’s recommended you clone the rate using the Copy / Add rates function. Once you have created the cloned rates for the new period, edit them to apply the 15% rate and any rate amount adjustments required.

If you have a high volume of rates ResRequest can help automate rate amount changes using a tool that can change all amounts by a specified percentage or fixed amount.

Next remember to change all affected future bookings to use the newly created rate types. Changing the rate type will automatically recalculate the room rate.

Remember to explain to your staff what the different rate names are and under which conditions to use them.


5. Update your online platforms

Remember to update your online platforms if you’re working with channels managers and to notify your business partners of the changes.


6. Deactivate obsolete rates

At relevant dates deactivate old Extras and Room rates as they become obsolete.


If you are a South African customer and you are struggling to come to terms with your decisions and operational changes, please contact our Call Centre for a chat on how best to setup your strategy.

Stop it spamming

Written by Richard Howes

Email remains a vital part of running our businesses with worldwide email volumes now fairly steady at around 495 billion emails per day!


A more problematic statistic is that 422 billion of those emails are SPAM, leaving just 73 billion legitimate emails. In other words, over 85% of email is SPAM. With the average office worker receiving 121 email per day, managing SPAM is crucial to email efficiency but also to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of phishing and other criminal activity.


Filtering SPAM has become very sophisticated as a result, but not perfect. That is because the way SPAM is differentiated from legitimate email is by ‘scoring’ email based on several criteria. This includes language used, mention of financial information, whether there are attachments, and other characteristics.


ResRequest and the travel industry by nature produce a lot of emails with attachments and financial information that need to be sent to the public as well as agents. This means that we can run foul of SPAM detection algorithms which flag legitimate emails from a ResRequest client system as SPAM.


Here are some things which make deliverability more difficult:


  1. Reservation numbers in the subject line.
  2. Capitals being used to catch attention.
  3. Attachments being sent in the emails.
  4. Sending emails on behalf of our clients’ domains rather than our own.


SPAM senders spend an inordinate amount of time working to defeat SPAM detection. If SPAM detection was completely effective SPAM’ers would not be sending out 422 billion emails per day. Any attempt to completely eliminate SPAM will inevitably also catch some legitimate email.


There are strategies to mitigate the risk of legitimate ResRequest emails being flagged as SPAM, however, none are perfect or foolproof. One strategy we have employed is to get our clients to implement SPF and DKIM records for their domains. SPF and DKIM records flag email servers as legitimate servers that do not send out SPAM. Unfortunately, these strategies are not yet universally employed but are being increasingly used to mitigate against SPAM.


Another solution is whitelisting. This, as the name would suggest, is the opposite of blacklisting. This is where the recipient of emails from a known domain lists that domain as ‘safe’ by whitelisting it. All email from that domain bypasses any SPAM filtering and is flagged as legitimate by default.


Currently, we use ElasticEmail as our cloud hosted email relay with an IP of Any recipient whitelisting this address will always receive ResRequest email. When encountering agents or other recipients that are experiencing deliverability problems, please request that they whitelist the IP address above.


The challenge is that these mitigation steps are required to be undertaken by the email recipients. ResRequest actively encourages the use of whitelisting and SPF/DKIM records and is ready and able to assist with implementing these strategies.  


Another potential challenge is that because ResRequest sends out email on behalf of our clients, some email applications reply to the sending server address instead of the client email address. This is also as a consequence of risk mitigation by these applications where they are ensuring recipients are aware the email is sent from a third party, in this case, ResRequest, and not from the addressee in the “From:” field.


If you are experiencing this problem then please email and request assistance on SPF and DKIM records. Our technical team have setup a process to assist your IT company (the company who manages your domain) with setting up SPF/DKIM records and whitelisting ResRequest domains.


SPAM can cause massive frustrations as it is often unclear where the problem resides. We hope that this information will assist in making email management simpler and more reliable, and reduce (via SPF/DKIM) or eliminate (via whitelisting) the frequency of legitimate emails being flagged as SPAM.






Learn online with a simple click

Knowing your ResRequest system well is key to effectively running your business and departments. We want to give you great tools and the opportunity to upskill yourself on ResRequest. Use our new ResRequest support website to learn about the system in your own time or refer to it whenever you have a question. We’re adding to this site all the time so there are lots of tutorials you’ll find useful even if you are an advanced user.


How to make a booking?

Learn the reservation basics in the Central Reservations module which has been designed specifically for the reservationist. Get to know how to navigate around the system, make bookings, manage booking communications and accounts. Use the Property Management module to learn how to manage your front-of-house operations while working with a Property server.




How to offer online bookings?

Learn how to show your ResRequest availability online with our Channel Management module. Take a look at how you can receive bookings from your website, distribute your stock to your favourite agents and even sell on established OTAs.






How to use ResRequest add-ons?

Learn more about ResRequest’s free add-on products like ResConnect and ResNova. Get to know what agent connections are available to you through ResConnect and how to connect to them. Learn how to use and set up ResNova’s website booking widget so you can show availability on your website.





How to set user access?

If you’re the system administrator then the System setup functions can show you how to create new code tables, such as Extras and Rate types, or set user access for a new user. The module includes basic tutorials like creating report profiles for different user groups, as well as more complex guides such as setting defaults to implement system wide changes.




Increase your online sales

Imagine working with an online travel agent who understands how African lodges work. Someone who specialises in attracting customers who want your African experience. Someone who understands how your transfers and extras work and who can sell your beds, without you having to do anything!

Many of Africa’s top booking agents and safari specialists are investing in development to be able to link to ResRequest via our ResConnect product. Allowing them to easily check availability, quote accurately, and even book – saving the guest, agent and lodge time.

As a FREE business to business interface, ResConnect enables remote lodges to have a greater online presence and increase their sales by having real time inventory available for their agents. This is a safe and hassle-free way to streamline agent business whilst having full control of the shared information.

If you have any questions or want to know the next steps to getting connected, please contact us on:

See what our connection partners have to say!

At Expert Africa we breathe a sigh of relief when one of our lodges moves to ResRequest. We know it’s a reliable platform, we know it’ll work well even when comms are challenging, and we know that we’ll easily be able to access their availability information through ResConnect – which speeds up our business of sending travellers to them on tailor-made itineraries.

-Chris McIntyre, Managing Director, Expert Africa

Our travellers can get all the safari lodge information they need in one place, from wide screen photos to number of beds, map location, Trip Advisor reviews, amenities, as well as availability which ResConnect provides dynamically.

-David Tett, President, Bushtracks Expeditions

ResConnect allows us to provide our African Safari Experts with access live availability and rates information – This enables them to instantly engage with travellers and rapidly develop and dispatch available and accurately costed itineraries 24/7/365.

-Joanne Dickson, CEO, Go2Africa

“ResConnect is going to allow us to make our booking process for lodges much more efficient”

-Johnny Prince, CEO, Timbuktu Travel

Timbuktu Travel is an online platform empowering people to easily discover and book hand-picked safaris across Africa.

followme2AFRICA is happy to partner with ResRequest to provide their clients with a seamless online booking platform. The integration will allow our clients access to rates and availability, ensuring maximum sales penetration as well as an easier way to transact. The integration will ensure reduced time for the booking process, a key requirement across their client-base.

The channel allows our clients to now access far more room stock as well as offers real time ability to up-sell on accommodation. This is a proven method to increase revenue for both our contracted suppliers as well as the company itself.”

-Tony Brink, General Manager & Head of Product of followme2AFRICA

Our continual partnership with important channel distribution platforms such as ResRequest reiterates our commitment to offering our clients the best service, platform connectivity, and booking efficiency as possible”.

– Rory Mathew, IT Manager of followme2AFRICA.

Africa Travel Resource is a travel company specialising in assisting travellers to create authentic and innovative trips to Africa.

We also connect to Wetu, Robert Mark Safaris, Wilderness Safaris, African Eagle, CAT-Africa, South African Golfing & Safari Tours, Enchanting Travels, African Ample Assistance, Abenteuer Afrika Safari, African Bush Camps, Africa Travel Group, Africa 220, Cedarberg Africa, Discover Africa Group, Elewana Travel Ltd, Gamewatchers Safaris, Highline Tours & Travel, Iluka Tourism Investments, Infinite Africa, Inspirations Travel & Tours, Jenman African Safaris, Ker & Downey Africa, Live the Journey, Maplanga Africa, Natural Selection Safaris, New Frontiers, Personal Africa Travel, Safari Destinations, Springbok Atlas – South Africa, Team DM UK, Tour d’Afrique, Travel Counsellors, Sandown Tours & Incentives, Sense of Africa, Tourvest Destination Management, Travel Wild Botswana, Uitkyk Holidays, Vintage Africa, Wild Africa Travel, XO Africa Travel and &BEYOND.

Next steps for lodges: Connections are quick and easy – just build a relationship with the agent you’d like to connect with. Set them up in ResRequest as an agent and user, then send a request to to link you up. Each connection is FREE – with a nominal once off setup fee.

ResRequest connections_logos

Exploring Africa

Our sales team recently returned from a month-long roadshow to Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania to attend tourism expos and visit customers. Snippets of their journey were shared on social media but we wanted to share the full low-down.

Zimbabwe was first up where Ntando joined Mike for this leg of the trip. The Amalinda Collection in Bulawayo was their port of call. The team at Amalinda were very hospitable and our crew was in awe of The Amalinda Lodge – a wilderness of granite with their unique rooms nestled in large rocks. This exclusive, privately owned safari lodge is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Matobo Hills, the oldest National Park in Zimbabwe, tucked away into an ancient Bushman’s shelter. “Camp Amalinda was amazing, the staff were very helpful and friendly and the food was divine”, Ntando reported. The Amalinda team were shown numerous reports on how to track the success and strengths of their business.

ResRequest East Africa

Next up was the Sanganai Tourism Expo in Bulawayo where they had the opportunity to connect with local clients who were exhibiting at the show, as well as a few prospects who were a great fit to use the ResRequest software.

Ntando met up with Jill in Kenya where they visited The Elewana Collection at their Nairobi offices for a workshop. We Are Africa hosted a networking event in the evening where the two got to catch up with property owners and tech partners over delicious nibbles which were much-needed after a busy day!

The Magical Kenya Tourism Expo was the main reason for the visit to Kenya. Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) is one of the fastest growing tourism events in the region and is currently positioned as the leading travel trade fair in East Africa. It aims at raising the profile of the destination Kenya and the region as a whole (press release, Go Places Online).

This year was one of the biggest shows to date so they had the opportunity to meet with many potential clients and ResRequest clients who were exhibiting including The Wellworth Group, The Elewana Collection, Tanganyika Wilderness Safaris, Kicheche Camps and Angama Mara as well as technology partners, Expedia and Wetu. To top it off, they signed up a group of luxury tented camps.

ResRequest mints

Their complimentary ‘Fresh With Flavour’ mints were a treat in the tropical weather and Ntando made sure that he handed them all out to lose any extra baggage for when he jumped on the back of a local boda-boda motorcycle to get back to their hotel! The ride was an experience to say the least, with Jill nearly losing a shoe but they arrived at their hotel in one piece albeit with hearts racing!

Zanzibar was a welcome break from the buzz of Nairobi. The team stayed at Fumba Beach Lodge on the south of island and then Hotel Zanzibar in the east. They worked on a POS system installation and effective management of the ResRequest system by grading all staff members and giving them the appropriate user access.

Their last day was spent in Stone Town meeting with Paola from Next Strategies she had a bunch of questions about using the ResRequest software and Jill and Ntando were happy to assist her and help get her up and running using her system.

The two also attended a couple of Atta networking events, where they got to share drinks and laughs with clients and partners and exchange business cards with suitable prospects.

Dar es Salaam was next on the itinerary to visit with The Selous Safari Company and The Wellworth Group. Jill and Ntando showed the two teams some tips on how to use their ResRequest systems better.

ResRequest also attended The Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE) in Dar Es Salaam, which has been running for three years and proved to be beneficial as they had another opportunity to meet with The Wellworth Group, Hotel Zanzibar and Essential Destinations.


Arusha was the last stop to meet with prospective clients and made sure that their trip ended on a high with ResRequest welcoming another two East African establishments on board.

After a lengthy trip travelling, visiting four countries, attending three travel shows and visiting numerous customers, it was a successful trip. With weary feet, tired eyes and minds buzzing, the long flight to Johannesburg was a good opportunity to catch up on some necessary sleep, and to turn the aircon as low as it could go!


Keep the taxman happy!

Every country has its own statutory regulations on the display of statutory information on financial documents and sometimes it even differs regionally. The variation can be both in the number of statutory fields required and in their naming.

The statutory details also have to be presented for both the invoicing unit issuing the document and for the customer to whom the document is addressed.

We have added 3 statutory fields at both invoicing unit level and contact level, with customisable labels.

Add new statutory fields

Record the invoicing unit statutory field numbers and labels on the Business structure editing screen and record the contact statutory field number on the Contact screen for customers. Edit the statutory names on the Financial tab of the Defaults screen.

These will then reflect on your Reservations and Financial documents, your Business structure reports and your Extras Quick Entry transaction confirmation screen.

Document with statutory fields

For a better understanding of how to edit and use these fields, watch our quick video tutorial on New Statutory fields in ResRequest.

Double trouble

ResRequest duplicate contacts

Duplicate contacts may seem like a small issue but they can mean double trouble for your business processes. Contacts are used to identify your Agents, Guests, Suppliers and Tour Operators and these are linked to your reservations in the relevant areas. This is important for your reports and CRM management. If you have duplicate contacts, there will be inconsistencies in your reports and it just gets a bit messy. Fortunately, ResRequest has solved this dilemma with our new ‘Replace contacts’ functionality.


You don’t want to delete a duplicate contact that has been used on a reservation, but instead you can merge duplicate contacts and their details. This means all the relevant links (for reservations and financial folios) of the replaced contact will transfer to the remaining contact.


How does this work? Simply find the contact that you would like to replace in the Contact module, then select the replace contact icon (top right) to find the contact you would like to replace it with, and all the links from the initial contact will be transferred to this contact.

Replace contact enhancements

Not only will you transfer booking links, but any additional information (like that listed below) will move from the from contact (replaced) to the to contact (remaining).

  • CRM Events
    The events of the from contact will merge with the events of the to contact. Duplicates can be deleted manually.

  • Agent rate types
    Any rates unique to Agent contacts will be moved from the from contact to the to contact but the default rate will remain to that of the to contact.

  • Phone numbers
    Non-duplicate numbers will be copied across but the default will be set to that of the to contact.

  • Linked contacts
    Any unique linked contacts will be copied across to the to contact.


Some important things to note are that both the from (removed contact) and to (remaining contact) must be of the same type (organisation / individual) and same set of roles (agent / guest / user). Property contacts may not be replaced — these are saved for each property on the business structure.


We hope you enjoy these new enhancements and this encourages you to clean out your contact lists and remove any duplicate contacts.

Catch up on Connections

If you missed our webinar on connections – we’ve written up this blog to share the details, Q&A and upload the presentation slides and audio recording. We have separated the presentation visuals and sound for ease of following due to the live technical glitches and delays. 

Presentation slides

Audio recording

The panel of speakers begins 15 minutes into the webinar.

15:00 Craig van Rooyen – Tour d’ Afrique

24:00 Erica Gardner – New Frontiers

33:00 Chris McIntyre – Expert Africa

46:00 Terri Boshoff – Wetu

52:00 Nicole Kanz – The Elewana Collection

1:00 Questions


In this webinar blog, we’ll introduce you to ResRequest’s online sales options and then focus on why connections are important to the trade. We spice things up even more when each of our panelists responds to questions we’ve put forward to them. Questions that address what makes connections so important to their business model.

We’ll start with the basics. The screen you’re looking at shows a room inventory on ResRequest’s availability calendar.


Your inventory is set up in ResRequest and adjusts as your team books, blocks or cancels bookings. This means ResRequest is your inventory hub and we see it as our responsibility to make sure that your sales partners can easily check your availability and rates, and make bookings.



When you implement an online sales strategy you should consider three target markets. They are:

  • Your direct customers who enjoy shopping on your website
  • Agents who would like to buy and sell your product and who prefer instant response rather than delayed communication with your res office
  • and mass market Online Travel Agents like Expedia and who depend on online responsiveness

Direct bookings

Direct online customers are a priority for us. We are constantly upgrading our booking plugin, ResNova, and enhancing our booking form which are ideal tools for this sector. Our booking tool for direct customers gives your online guests the ability to book directly from your website. They get an instant response and result – which is what online shoppers expect.




For Online Travel Agent sites, we support a connection to Expedia which is further extended to and Our connection to is complete and currently in certification with them. We also support 100s of OTA platforms via channel managers.


But these are not the only agents who work with online programmes, traditional trade agents have extended their business models to include online bookings to ensure they’re able to capture guests searching on the internet. These agents specialise in different locations which makes holiday shopping a breeze for customers looking for an experienced-based trip. This is definitely a market you should be working with. And how can you work with this market?


Agent connections


One of the great features of ResRequest is that it is a cloud-hosted application. This means you can give your agent a login so they can check your inventory, rates and make bookings. It’s a manual connection but something you absolutely should make use of to support agents that work with manual or isolated systems.


But what about agents that do have an in-house software application? These agents don’t want to be routed to a manual login or re-routed to different web sites to find out rates, check availability or secure bookings. These agents have implemented in-house solutions to be competitive in the online space. To have that competitive edge, they need instant access to availability and rates for quick quoting and they need to be able to make a booking to close the sale before their customers go Googling. They need to bypass human interaction at the transaction level.


Many of these agents also extend their booking services to a web interface offering a B2B2C platform. This is to ensure they can service online shoppers, much like OTAs, but with their specialised knowledge and skills translated onto their website.


We generally see that agents with high volume profiles have automated in-house and online solutions.They do need to be a certified integration partner of ours for you to connect their system to your ResRequest system.


We have direct electronic connections to over 40 specialist agents and online travel agents and the list is growing…


So how do these connections work?

ResRequest connections

An API, which is an application program interface, is simply an interface that allows two systems to communicate with each other. So, with our API, and some custom development, we are able to connect your ResRequest system to your agent’s in-house system.


If you’re still asking yourself: “Why would my agents need an electronic connection?”


A reminder of the two strongest motivators: The first is that many specialist agents now incorporate an online sales model – so they can attract travellers 24 x 7, essentially competing with OTAs like and Expedia. This model needs an automated booking engine in order to satisfy their online shopper. To support automation, connections are needed.

The second reason agents need connections is that some agents have implemented an in-house system to speed up their business processes. Their holy grail is fast quoting and sale closure. Implementing a connection between your ResRequest inventory, rates and bookings and these agent’s systems, generate sales for you more easily which means you keep doing business with them.


A question we’re often asked is: “Can I control what these “connections” can see and do in our system?” Absolutely! Each connection is linked to a user you create in ResRequest with controlled access.


Questions that we posed to our agent panelists:

  • What’s changed to make online sales more important?
  • Why do agents need to see availability, rates and make bookings?
  • What are the essential components for connections to work for you?
  • What frustrations do you have with the industry or technology?


Questions that we asked our customers – safari accommodation providers:

  • What impact has using API connections had on your business?
  • What would you say to other suppliers who are unsure about working with connections?


Questions that were asked during the session:

Q: How do you handle waitlist in your system?

A: Erica – Waitlisting is a challenge. We can hold a waitlist booking, however, we prefer to hold a confirmed reservation. It is also a manual process.

ResRequest – From a software perspective, an agent who makes a booking and exceeds the number of rooms available has to give a reason when holding the rooms. This will automatically be created as a Waitlist booking.


Please note: Even if ResRequest supports certain functionality in the API – the agent buyer who has done the development to their system may have opted out of some of the available functions as they do not require them for their business practice.


Q: Does it help to see ‘‘provisionals’?

A: Yes – it is very helpful for agents to see if provisionals are being held when they view your availability. This will encourage them to still consider your property rather that look somewhere else when your lodge appears full. They cannot see the actual booking details, only that provisionals are being held on the dates that are search for.


Q: How much would the operator see if they were given access?

A: You can fully control the access that you grant to an operator, ie: view / read only or create bookings / update. You can also limit the properties, room types and even the number of rooms at room type level. Also the rates that are only applicable to a specific agent can be shown.


Q: Is a email notification sent once a booking has been made by an agent?

A: It all depends on what development has been done. Our API has the information available for a notification to be generated however if an email notification is not set up then a ResRequest customer would only see incoming bookings via the Req Received button / report in their system.


Q: How do you deal with different rates for same rooms, i.e. International vs SADC?

A: Multiple rates can be assigned to an agent contact and toggled to select the correct rate for quoting or booking.


Craig – In Tourplan we always load our contracted rates first. If we don’t see the correct rate, then we sometimes need to query this – however if multiple rate categories are given ie: STO, RACK and BAR then we have more options to book the property. Please note: We can only hold confirmed bookings and cancel a booking in Tourplan. We do not see any Waitlists or Provisionals, so unless you are going to oversell your property and make more rooms available we are limited in what we can book. Bigger properties tend to oversell.


Q: Can you only look up the availability of a specific camp or supplier?  

A: Yes


Q: Is there any way to look up availability of a region and show results of multiple camps?

A: Not at this stage with this type of direct connection.


Q: Is there an API adaptor to get rates of the camp via ResRequest and upload these into a system like Tourplan?

A: We do support and send rates via ResConnect. Our Channel Manager and OTA interfaces support bulk rate push, this is developed to map to the OTA’s / Channel Manager’s interface.


Q: Does ResConnect offer a Close To Arrival (CTA) tool within the API to reduce dead nights?

A: Not yet! We’ll get to this.


Q: Is there a way to filter Wetu properties based on availability?

A: Not currently. Availability is not a searchable feature in Wetu.


Q: Do you need to be on a higher package to get the Live Availability option in Wetu, or can anyone listed on WETU have access to this tool?

A: Two part answer here:

  1. As a Supplier: you do not need to be on a higher package to show availability for your property, however, each supplier needs to opt into showing the availability with their relative availability provider. It is not something that is automatically activated.
  2. As an Operator: you do not need to be on the highest package to see the live availability of the properties who do have it.


Q: Are the users of Tourplan happy with the ‘confirmed’ only status they offer when connecting via API ResResquest?

A: Tourplan do not currently cater for provisional bookings; however, our API does support provisionals.

How to get connected?


Now that you know more about the importance of this space for your business you’re probably asking: “What do I do next?”

Here’s all you need to know about getting direct connections set up. All you need to do is email us and one of our connections team will confirm all the setup details, such as the user permissions for the connecting agent. This setup takes approx.1 hour and is charged at our standard support rate.


Some agents only have view functionality enabled, however, more and more operators are moving towards wanting to create bookings. So, if they are able to create bookings they will request this access. It is up to you to decide on the permission you wish to grant, however we do encourage legitimate confirmed bookings to be held where possible.

If you have any questions about this process please drop us a line

For the full version of the webinar – you can find it uploaded onto YouTube here.

ResNova’s facelift

ResNova, our website booking plugin, has had a facelift. That’s right – we’ve released some enhancements so you have even more display options when it comes to this nifty availability and booking tool.

The ResNova plugin enables properties that use ResRequest to embed availability and rates anywhere on their website. This availability and these rates can be shown either in a calendar matrix or a quick search format, or even both! You have the option of just showing availability, or enabling bookings, and even linking up to a payment gateway to enable payments during the booking process. All of this is seamlessly integrated to a ResRequest reservation system.

The latest enhancements to the website plugin include: showing rates on the calendar, setting a ‘No children’ option and showing an availability count.

Some properties that don’t offer a child rate need their customers to know this. They may be able to accommodate children in some rooms, but not all, so they can apply the ‘No children’ setting to each property and room individually.

Along with other customisable functionality in the calendar widget you can choose to show your actual availability or limit your availability, e.g. to 2, so users can see some space is available without displaying your exact availability.

We are continually developing and adding new features to this much-needed industry tool.  For more information on the ResNova website plugin or to find out about using ResRequest contact us on and you may be able to take advantage of this plugin.


What’s your Trojan Horse?

ResRequest Digitlab

Have you ever thought about how certain adverts appear in your social media feed or why Youtube has so many video adverts? These are all signs of the current digital marketing trends.

Members of our marketing team attended a workshop hosted by Digitlab. With a focus on digital storytelling and digital marketing, the event kicked off with a session on video and storytelling. The elements of the story were likened to a Trojan horse. A story is a means to get people’s attention and the message is embedded in the story. All good stories also have a clear beginning and end. Video is one of the growing trends in digital marketing trends and the session progressed.

Virtual reality is another trend that is becoming more predominant as a sales strategy. Businesses can create an online virtual reality experience which allows customers to see what the product or service will be like.

Programmatic buying using data to drive specific products to customers by gathering data on their interests and needs through their interactions.

This leads us on to big brands which are the brands what collect this data by enabling people to interact on their platform, and thus gather data based on people’s behaviour.

Finally AI, or artificial intelligence, is using technology to mimic human intelligence to allow marketers the opportunity to reach segmented audiences through using AI. For example, AI can analyse people’s search patterns on search engines to allow marketers to place their adverts for maximum exposure. Chat functions on websites are also an example AI.

Digital trends are increasingly a part of marketing, and recognising this and taking advantage of the trends can only be helpful to any marketer.