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.

Get Insite – Leverage your data for smarter decision making with ResInsite

ResInsite is here to leverage your data for smarter and faster decision making – saving you time, optimising your revenues and launching you into the world of big data on a flexible and intelligent platform.

Your business quietly collects millions of rows of data – whilst you are expertly tucking your guests into bed for a good night’s sleep – ResInsite is churning those rows into deep insights and smart business decisions. The Results? More guests to tuck away and more time to focus on perfecting the art of a memorable stay.

Using QlikView, a charting tool, Pomerol Partners have worked with ResRequest to bring you ResInsite – a business intelligence application. ResInsite graphs your ResRequest data so you can make smart decisions based on your data trends. An in-the-cloud solution that offers guided insights into what has made your business a success and how to keep it trending upwards.

 

Traditional approaches to hospitality analytics are time consuming and often filled with best guess scenarios cobbled together on platforms like Excel. Now you can deploy award-winning software in your business that offers guided analytics, driving faster responses to the changing business environment without the need for costly development and the associated teething problems. Easy to deploy, tried, tested, effective and the perfect match for your ResRequest platform – ResInsite promises to mature your organisations’ approach to analytics and data with stunning results.

Getting started using ResInsite…
ResInsite has been lovingly developed over two years on the award-winning QlikView platform. It is an in memory, in the cloud, SaaS (software as a solution) deployment that requires no costly additional licencing or development.
ResInsite connects daily to your ResRequest data in an ultra-secure environment that protects your hidden data – but brings it visually to life.
Pre-developed with carefully thought out, tried and tested tabs mean that you are always just a few clicks away from a live report or a handful of new insights. Whether you need financials, bednight/room-night reports, occupancy reports, agent and consultant analysis, guest demographics, lead times, forecasts, what-if scenarios, extra’s analysis (and much, much more) – it is all just a few clicks on a dozen tabs away. We utilise a dual calendar so that you can compare results on any metric against both past and future performance. This helps you spot trends, identify revenue gaps and explore the opportunities to resolve them.
Multiple currencies across multiple countries? Multiple properties or just a single slice of heaven? No problem – ResInsite will give you visibility across your entire organisation, whatever your unique complexities are.
What are the benefits?
  1. ResInsite uses the most intelligent and flexible platform for turning data into knowledge.
  2. It connects daily to ResRequest for live insights and fast responses to an ever-changing environment.
  3. Visually powerful, ResInsite allows you to ‘see’ your data.
  4. Fast and accurate reports are just a few clicks away – gone are the days of flat and time-consuming reports.
  5. ResInsite dynamically reviews all the key metrics of the hospitality framework.
  6. ResInsite is responsive to you the client, whether you need more-or-less from the platform we understand the data and can help you get the most out of your ‘Res-Insights’.
  7. Easy to use. Designed to ensure that no professional skills are required to leverage your data – just a willingness to dive into the results.
  8. Aggressively priced to ensure that ResInsite’s world-class analytics don’t break the bank but help you optimise your revenues.
  9. Ultra-Secure. ResInsite has been designed to keep your data in a highly secure environment.
  10. Fully supported by ResRequest and Pomerol Partners – help is just a click away.

How does it work?
ResRequest makes a copy of your live database available to ResInsite before your guests (and the teams that look after them) wake up. ResInsite whirs into action and transforms millions of rows of data into files that the application can import into an in-memory solution that makes ResInsite super-fast and dynamically responsive. The application is refreshed daily with live data.
You access your app with your unique credentials through a ResInsite portal – whatever your location.
ResInsite works on a per user licence agreement. Choose who gets to the see the app and even what they get to see.
Steps to deploying ResInsite
First Step:
You will need to sign up with Pomerol Partners by signing a comprehensive Non-Disclosure Agreement (that protects you and your data) and a Master Services Agreement that covers the nuts and bolts of access, billing and availability.
Understanding your needs:
We meet with you to get a better understanding of your business intelligence needs, your specific pain points and the business logic that you employ. This allows us to deploy ResInsite in a manner that makes perfect sense to your organisation.

Data validation:
We customise a few simple settings that allows us to tailor ResInsite to your unique reporting methodologies. We will work closely with you to verify that the data is accurate and the figures and results that you are both used to and expect are reflected.

Going live:
We automate the process of gathering and aggregating your data from ResRequest. We show you how to navigate ResInsite, it’s tips and tricks and how to get the most of its’ suite of analytics. We monitor your usage and ensure that it’s deployed in an effective manner for your needs.

Support:
Pomerol Partners work in conjunction with ResRequest to ensure that issues are seamlessly resolved, and your questions effectively answered.

Customisation:
We listen to your needs and where appropriate will ensure that your ResInsite grows as fast as you do.

Billing:
Billing is processed monthly in advance. The cost of ResInsite is $155 per user per month. Further customisations and integrations into 3rd party applications (finance, accounting, HR, tour operator, etc) are possible, subject to standard consulting fees and are separate from user license fees.

Please contact resinsite@pomerolpartners.com with any questions or to sign up for this product and service.

 

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 Businesstech.co.za 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 CNBCAfrica.com 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.


References

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.
 
How?
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 216.169.98.151. 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 support@resrequest.com 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.

 

Reference: https://www.talosintelligence.com/reputation_center/email_rep