Are you connected to your buyers?

Connecting to your key agents electronically will ensure you never miss out on valuable bookings. Tour operators use a host of software systems to stay on top of technology trends. Online bookings are one of the fastest growing trends.

ResRequest interfaces to a number of tour operating systems enabling, tour operators to book ResRequest properties when permission is granted. Recently we added to our channel partners and integrated to GranIT Safari.

GranIT Safari Software (GSS) is a specialist safari software product that manages tour operators’ business processes. The system has the ability to handle groups, F.I.T’s, packages, Fly-Drive packages and is currently being used by over 50 tour operators primarily in East Africa and Madagascar. It is available in English and French.

“With Safari Software we’ve reduced our response times to as little as 10 minutes.” Nilima Chandran – Naked Wilderness

Agents using GranIT Safari include Leopard Tours, Liberty Africa Safaris, African Horizons, Kobo Safaris, Utalii College and many more.

“It’s user-friendly, yet complex enough to deliver optimum options and endless possibilities.” Tomas Sorensen – African Horizons

GranIT Solutions’ partnership with ResRequest comprehensively links both the GSS and ResRequest software to be able to check room availability and book rooms in real time at the click of a button. Room availability can be checked at the quotation and tour levels. This ensures that the rooms booked on the itinerary are actually available.

“This software is the only one that does what we need without making us change our operating procedures to suit the software.” Richard Corcoran – Liberty Africa

Looking good with GuestRevu

GuestRevu surveys help establishments get insight from customised, branded surveys and proactively drives reviews to TripAdvisor and Google to improve rankings.

The best part of direct feedback is that you have a chance to resolve any potentially harmful situations before they become reviews on public platforms. By providing your guests with the opportunity to address concerns with you directly, they will often feel that their feedback is being taken to heart, and feel less inclined to vent on social platforms like Facebook and TripAdvisor. Another great benefit is that you can fix problems when you get direct feedback. As they say — prevention is better than cure.

How does it work?
Save time and know what your guests are saying about you publicly by having all your online reviews collected and analysed in your GuestRevu dashboard.

Our integration to GuestRevu is automated so all you need to do is add your guests and their email addresses in ResRequest and GuestRevu will do the rest. For more info on this marketing tool, see our Guest Survey guide.

Now I want GuestRevu!
Sign up with GuestRevu here and GuestRevu and ResRequest consultants will be in touch to get you set up.

A once-off ResRequest setup fee of approximately 1 hour is billed at our standard data set up rate, but if you sign up before 30 June 2019 we’ll do the set up for FREE!

New scam alert!

Scamming is becoming increasingly sophisticated and so have to be more alert and find out how we protect ourselves.

 

Beware of the latest scam

 

One of the newest ways that scammers are targeting people is to intercept invoices, edit banking details and send it to “customers” for payment. Recipients of the emails think it is legitimate and pay the money into the scammer’s account.

 

How can you prevent this happening to you?

 

Investec recently published an article on this kind of fraud with tips on how to protect yourself.                   

 

  • Let your current and new clients know that if they even receive any correspondence announcing a change in bank details, advise them to contact you and verify you are banking details before they pay.

 

  • You can also consider leaving your bank details off your invoices and call clients to give them this information instead.

 

  • If you are an individual who is supplying banking details, do not email invoices with bank details. Rather give your banking information directly over the telephone.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. What is a phishing email and how to spot it?
  • Setup checks on your email like two factor login verification.

 

We hope that this information is helpful and will be useful in protecting yourself against scammers.

Pay with Pesapal

How often do you use your credit card to pay? Most people use their card to pay for almost all transactions, however, many remote locations to do have access to card machines.

Pesapal, is a mobile point of pay system which started in Kenya and today operates in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ResRequest has recently partnered with Pesapal to allow ResRequest properties the opportunity to process credit card payments through this gateway, regardless of their location or the type of credit card. Pesapal accepts mobile money (M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money) and Visa and MasterCard, American Express debit and credit cards and has the the ability to process payments in USD as well 15 other African currencies including the Kenya Shilling (KES)  and the South African Rand (ZAR). Pesapal also lowers the cost of collecting money for businesses by offering an easily accessible, reliable and cost effective way of collecting money via mobile money or debit and credit cards and remitting directly to their banks accounts.

ResRequest properties’ using the Pesapal integration will now be able to offer international and local guests credit card payment option and save them the hassle of having to carry local currency.

Additionally, Pesapal also has a mobile point-of-sale system, Sabi, which will allow businesses to process payments onsite in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

For more info on how to use payment gateways, visit our Support site.

Navigating ResRequest like a pro

 

Are you a wizard on ResRequest? How many tricks do you know?

Many users are not always aware of all our handy features and top tips so we’ve highlighted a few of our snazzy features from frequently asked questions and noted some helpful hints from our support consultants.

Here are some of our most popular features. Are you using them?

Tips

 

1. Ops Chart

Our Ops chart is by far the most customisable and useful report for lodges to help with all parts of your operations on the ground.

Examples where teams will benefit the most from using the Ops Chart report are:

  • Logistics and transfers

Display logistical arrangements such as arrival and departure times of flights and which guests require transfers each day. Run this report every Sunday for the week ahead to streamline your planning.

  • Housekeeping

View which rooms are occupied or available per day and reference the internal notes for guest preferences or special arrangements for the room and what times the guests will be arriving or departing.

  • Kitchen team and catering

Generate a report for the kitchen crew to calculate how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners are required that day/week and how many adults and children to cater for.

  • Front of house (view which guests have paid, along with pax, res notes etc.)

This is really useful for the meet & greet team to know exactly who they are expecting, what nationality the guests are and how many people are in the group. The report can be set up to include special memos, such as a guest’s birthday so that the team can create an extra special experience for them.

These are just a few examples and there are many more possibilities. Get in touch with our team to help customise the chart to your liking.

Working with the Ops Chart: Here’s a tip

If you’re not interested in viewing rooming and just want to know basic details about which guests are arriving, their names or what extras have been booked, then deselect your Accommodation Chart in the report filter section.


2. Rooming calendar

The Rooming calendar is your hub for Property Management as most of the lodge processes are governed from here.

Navigate to the Rooming calendar through Property > Rooming Calendar or even set the Rooming calendar as your landing page.

Unallocated bookings

The Rooming calendar lists ‘Unallocated Reservations’ in a table below the calendar. These are bookings that have not been allocated rooms. Bookings that have been allocated to rooms are displayed as coloured blocks in the calendar in the row of the allocated room. As soon as new bookings are made they will automatically appear in the ‘Unallocated’ list. Each booking has a ‘Res Details’ option where you are able to have a quick view of the Guests contact details and the Financial information of the booking.

Functions

To activate any of the functionality, the bookings (either allocated or unallocated) must be selected (highlighted in green), the buttons in the tab above the calendar then become active for use on the selected reservation.

Reports

Within the Rooming calendar there are multiple day reports you are able to pull to help with daily logistics and planning at the property.

  • Day Sheet – Here you can see the breakdown of the Pax Analysis, Reservation Summary, Rooming Plan, Request and Extras for a particular day. This report may be used to track transfers too.
  • PAX Report – Here you can see a breakdown of how many guests are arriving, departing or in-house on a specific day.
  • Extras Report – Here you can see all Extras booked for that day. This report may be used to track transfers.
  • Arrival Folios Report – This report lists all folios of guests arriving on the selected day.
  • Departure Folios Report – This report lists all folios of guests departing on the selected day.

But wait, there’s more…We have a new and improved rooming calendar coming soon, so watch this space!


3. ResNova on mobile

ResNova is our booking widget which enables you to embed your ResRequest availability and rates anywhere on your website. It offers two formats so you can show your information in a calendar matrix or a quick search…or 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 your ResRequest system.

Mobile compatibility for ResNova is also now here! Whether your customer uses a mobile or desktop, booking your hotel is now super easy. Your ResNova widget will automatically adjust to your user’s device! PayGate can be used as a payment gateway for ResNova bookings.


Tricks

 

Do you have your special ResRequest tricks that you use all the time or a few quick shortcuts that make you a master of ResRequest? We’ve asked our support consultants for their top handy hints. How many of them do you already use?

1. Filter for email addresses

Add *@* to your Guest History report email filter to “find all your guests with email addresses, great for mailing lists.


2. Hide the financials from a Reservation Summary document

You can do this by using the document show/hide options if you want to use the document as a voucher for guests/agents.

 

This is what your Res Summary will look like with the Financial set to hide:

3. Insert keywords

Add keywords such as “lodge”, “safari, “luxury accommodation” into the Keywords field, on the Internet Marketing tab of your system defaults (Admin > Setup > Defaults) to increase your footprint on online searches.

4. Save time when creating large group bookings

By using the “different config” option, in your itinerary creation popup. You can add multiple combinations to a single itinerary, all from a single popup screen.

5. Narrow your search for contacts by using an *.

Example: You want to search for an agent with “African” in the name. Go to Contacts > Find contact > in the organization field, type in: *African*. You will then see a list of all the results, showing “African” in the name.

If you can’t get enough of these helpful tips, we have some more in our quick tips and tricks blog. Remember if you are ever stuck or need a hand, head over to our Learn Online support site available and our functional support call centre crew are only a request away.

We hope that these tips will save you time and help you get the most out of your ResRequest system!

 

Your guests digital guide

 

Smartphone technology is advancing at incredible pace and you can do more and more with your device. Travellers now use their mobiles to book flights, accomodation and make travel plans.

 

HandiGo has further enhanced the travel experience by developing a new app to cater for the needs of guests when they  arrive at their destination.

 

Inspired by their founder’s increasing frustrations with language barriers that were inhibiting his hotel’s customer service, Pete Poolsawad decided to make a change. His vision was for a simple and effective way for hotels to engage with guests using the latest technology.

 

HandiGo, is a digital pocket concierge, catering to all a hotel’s services and facilities, all at guest’s fingertips anytime, anywhere. An internet connection and their mobile phone is all that a guest requires to use this this service.

 

What does the app offer?

 

Information and photos

Using HandiGo, guests can learn about nearby attractions or get information about game reserves without needing to carry around guidebooks to ask lodge staff, thus reducing the workload of the staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Menu highlights 

Guests can access in-house menus and order room service directly from their phone and lodges can gather information about their guests’ preferences.

 

 

Booking forms

Guests can book tours, activities and facilities instantly on the application (i.e. Room Service, Spa Reservations etc.) making it easy for guests to arrange and purchase services and also for lodges to upsell.

 

Live chat

Manage language barriers between guests and lodge staff with this feature that automatically translates conversations, where everyone can chat in their mother tongue.

 

Voice calls

The roaming costs of using the phone networks in foreign countries can be an unnecessary costly expense for tourists. HandiGo provides a free two-way calling tool for guests and staff to talk for free.

 

Broadcast notifications

Contact all guests directly or individually with promotions or urgent messages. You can even contact them in their own language.

 

Review scores

Pick and choose which guests you send review prompts to as they check out and link these reviews to your preferred hotel rating websites such as Tripadvisor.

 

As app downloads increase year-on-year and the digitalisation of all industries continues, lodges will have to join the trend to keep on top of their guests’ travel expectations and HandiGo is one way to do this.

 

If you’d like to trial this product, scan the QR code below to download the app then scan the code with the app for a demo.

 

HandiGo is offering ResRequest customers an exclusive promotional rate of $99 USD per month, before December 31st 2018.

Get in touch with Ben at HandiGo if you’d like to take up this offer and give it a go!

The ResRequest story


The African wildlife experience is on many people’s wish list. Thousands of people travel to Africa each year to live a safari dream – to witness sunset game drives and afternoon thunderstorms amidst spectacular game spotting. Africa is home to numerous quality and luxury safari lodges which offer an unforgettable experience coupled with spectacular views and authentic architecture.

But while your dream trip unfolds, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make these experiences happen?

Running lodges is a demanding job and staffers work hard to ensure that guests have the ultimate personalised trip. Behind the scenes, myriads of people are working tirelessly to plan and record a seamless guest itinerary, secure transfers, record guest preferences and personal details. All this information requires a system comprehensive enough to both record and track it. ResRequest is a reservations and property management software solution specifically for remote lodges, camps and boutique hotels.

ResRequest’s crew visit these properties to train and consult the staff on using the software, and team members get first hand exposure to the safari experience at these establishments and it helps them understand the needs of these lodges.

One of our support consultants visited a lodge near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. It was her first time at a safari lodge, and coming from the city, she was stuck by the tranquility of the bush.

“The silence is breathtaking, and then you hear the faint crackling of twigs and out of nowhere, you are faced with the spectacular sight of an elephant walking to a watering hole a few metres in front of you.”

It is this experience that can only be found at a safari lodge in Africa. There are few places in the world where you can take a swim in your personal plunge pool overlooking a dazzle of zebra (that’s right, a group of zebra is a dazzle!) grazing outside your private chalet. Sunset drinks on the balcony with a typical African sunset and only the sounds of the bush, followed by a gourmet meal in the warm evening air, and a nightcap around a log fire are what guests can expect when staying at a place like this.

Games drives are one of the main attractions for guests and without exception, an array of  wildlife from lions to impala, to dung beetles and elephants and unique flora, are a given to be seen. The guides have spent years working in the bush and can read the animal’s journey from its spore and can almost always track the animals down. They have many stories to tell of their encounters with the wildlife and it’s this personal touch that adds something special to a guest’s stay. A game drive with a guide is an unparalleled experience and must for all visitors to the African bush.

While these remote destinations are an attraction and draw card for guests, operating in such isolated areas can be difficult in terms of internet access. ResRequest uses a cloud hosted system which syncs with offline servers at the property. For remote safari lodges with a poor internet connection this means that they can continue operating and offering a fine experience to all their guests.

So the next time you’re travelling to a beautiful lodge in Africa and have a seamless check-in and stay, remember that it is all thanks to a dedicated team working behind the scenes to ensure your African safari experience is all you hoped for and more.

To learn more about ResRequest Enterprise, visit our product pages

 

(Photo: Odzala Discovery Camps)

Making memories

Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018 was a fantastic show. It drew in a huge list of exhibitors and visitors from all over the globe. ResRequest was represented at Indaba within the SATSA stand again this year – and we enjoyed the vibe of sharing in the show buzz with our industry partners. We met with a record number of new prospects as well as our valued customers.

The Functional support team attended the show for the first time to share some love and connect with our customers and provide on-the-ground support and this is what they had to say about their experience. 

It was awesome to meet some of our clients in person. Many conversations started with a handshake and ended with a hug. Just a great reminder for me that the connections we have with people are a vital part of what we do.

Having a face to a name certainly adds a more personal dynamic to the support we provide, and I think our clients were happy to see the faces of the people they often chat to on the phone or over email. One thing that stood out to me the most was the recognition and thanks that we received from our clients for always being able to contact us and having access to a friendly voice on the phone.  I’m already looking forward to next year!Angie 

It was great to meet some of the ‘voices’ I have been speaking to for the past two years and to be able to ‘picture’ the person behind the voice. We hope that we blew them away with the reassurances of our future support and they felt that our support team truly cares.” Luzelle 

The best part of Indaba for me was to be able to meet our clients, putting faces to names and getting to know them just that little bit better.” Cheri 

Being at Indaba was the highlight of my year so far. It was a blessing being able to meet the clients that we have worked so closely with over the years.” Alex

It was a great experience to have interactions with our clients when they weren’t contacting us for support. It was also amazing to see just the tip of the iceberg at the conference and to see just how big the industry is and how much more we can tap into.” Chantel 

 

 

 

The Marketing & Brand team also joined in to witness the activity and build the presence that we had.

Simone hits up Spiderman with some of our branded mints.

‘This was my second time at Indaba and I enjoyed going back again. It is always a mind-blowing experience with huge, elaborate stands, the bright colours, different languages and seeing all the incredible destinations Africa has to offer.’ Kristen 

Our new consultant partners, Pomerol Partners also participated in the event and met with business owners who were interested in reaping the benefits of using ResInsite, our business intelligence tool.

‘I found the show to be lively and worth attending even though it was frustrating trying to find exhibitors who had their stands changed at the last minute. I enjoyed meeting clients who I hadn’t met before.’ Ntando 

As always we find Indaba to be a worthwhile show for us, as it’s on home soil, and where we can have a greater presence and impact our market.

 

How to open CSV files with Excel by default

ResRequest sends data as CSV files and these are best viewed in Excel so you probably want to set these files to open automatically in Excel. We’ll guide you through this simple set up to save you time!

 

CSV files are text documents where the data is separated by a delimiter, or a character used to specify the boundary between fields, such as comma. ResRequest will use a comma to define different fields of data in it’s system but this is difficult to read if you open it in a text editor and so displaying in columns such as Excel makes mapping this data easier to read.

 

Setting these files to open by default in Excel is simple – let’s get started.

 

How to set Excel as the default program on a PC

 

Click on Start in the Taskbar on your Windows desktop.

Choose Default Programs in the left menu.

Click ‘Associate a file type or protocol with a program’.

Scroll through the list of file types until you locate the CSV option, then click it once to highlight it in blue.

 

Click the ‘Change program’ button at the top of the window.

 

Click the Microsoft Excel option under ‘Recommended Programs’, then click the OK button.

 

From the list of ‘Recommended Programs’, choose Excel.

Any CSV file you click to open with now open in Excel automatically. If you don’t want to open it in Excel, right click on the file and choose ‘Open with’ to select a different program.

 

How to set Excel as the default program on Mac

Right click on the CSV file in your Downloads folder.

Choose ‘Get Info’

Under ‘Open With’ choose ‘Excel.

Click ‘Change all’ and confirm your decision.’

 

How to set Excel as the default program on Windows 10


Step One: (Windows Key + S) opens up windows search. Search for Control panel. Once it pops up in the search, select it.



Step Two: Select default programs.

Step Three: Select Associate a file type.



Step Four: Scroll down until you find CSV, once you have found the CSV file format on the left-hand side of your screen, you will need to make sure that Excel is selected. If not you, will need to select Excel from the list.

 

We hope that this will help you to easily open and read all your ResRequest attachment downloads, but please don’t hesitate to contact our Support Centre with any queries.