The year we got ResFit

At ResRequest, we love challenging people to grow and develop their passions. We believe that by looking after yourself, you can look after others. This year we started ResFit, our corporate wellness programme. ResFit is about being active in the community, on the sports field, in the office and as a team. We incentivised the programme by creating teams out of our departments where staffers could collect points by participating in activities as a team or individually. Since we love pizza and it’s become a theme for us this year, we named the team’s – Four Seasons, Pepperoni, Margarita and Chicken Tikka.

To give some inspiration to the initiative we defined it into some categories: sport, passion, tech and give back. However, points were only counted if people wore their ResFit shirt during the activity and captured it on camera. Each quarter, the points were calculated and the scoreboard was updated. The winning team received a prize.

Here’s some of the things we got up to this year.

Sport

Kristen ran in running events and Jen played underwater hockey.

Passion

Jaco played Pokemon Hunting and Sharon travelled Europe.

Tech

Ashton and Ant played online games and learnt languages online.

Give back

Some of the Empangeni office took part in the Big Walk for charity and Walter helped renovate a home.

As Audrey Hepburn said, “You have two hands. One for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.” This year our team has been using both their hands to make a positive impact.

 

2017 reflections

It’s been a busy year. Here is what we’ve been up to!

Movements

We exhibited and attended a record number of trade shows in 2017 – WTM Africa, Cape Town Indaba, Durban. Our sales team then toured Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania and attended the Sanganai Tourism Expo, Magical Kenya Travel Expo and the Swahili International Tourism Expo. They were all successful endeavours and we enjoyed meeting clients and making new contacts.

 

Team

We said goodbye to Dylan and Ant this year and welcomed Ntando, Sam, Brandon and Keenan to the team. Ntando joined the Sales team, Keenan and Sam take over from Anthony in testing and Brandon assists Walter in technical support.

A few mini-people also joined the ResRequest family this year with two of the ladies giving birth to sons.

Our Durban office was spruced up with a makeover to accommodate the expanding team and the Empangeni office who will be moving to new and improved location over Christmas. Exciting news!

Our mid-year function this year was a movie challenge which got everyone dressed up and in character as they produced a murder mystery short film with hilarious plot twists and some surprise actors!

Give back

This year our Give back formed part of our corporate wellness programme, ResFit. Each team had a budget to select a charity to support. Learn more about ResFit here! Initiatives that the teams supported this year were a revamp and repairs of a local church in Zululand, a collection for the local SPCA and sponsoring designing and producing promotional banners for The Neema Foundation. Team members also did their own Give back activities such as volunteering to fix computers at a school or taking children from a orphanage out for the day.

We can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer!

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!

 

ResRequest goes Google

ResRequest- GoogleSEO, SEM, CPC, CTR. Foreign speak? Not any more thanks to the Google Digital Skills workshop. We attended a workshop hosted by Google as part of their mission to provide digital skills to schools, communities and small businesses to get them online.

The session started with a few words from the South African Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services and his Deputy discussing the importance of internet access and digital skills for all. This was corroborated by the Head of Public Policy at Google, Caroline Hankinson and Head of Google South Africa, Guy Hankinson.

ResRequest- Google

The Google Digital Skills program started 9 months ago and trained 7000 people. These workshops opened school children’s eyes to new career opportunities and community members realised that they can up-skill and then consult. The struggle of SME’s to find customers can be assisted through using digital tools.

The workshop continued into a practical application and we learnt about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), CPC (Cost per click) and CTR (Click through rate) and how to apply these effectively.

ResRequest- Google

The workshop ended with a delicious lunch at the Three Cities Square Hotel. With an increasingly digital world, having a strong online presence is a business asset and one on which we continue to improve.

 

Password choices

ResRequest-password choices

How many times a day are you asked for your password? We have so many passwords that it’s hard to remember them all, albeit impossible. It sometimes seems simpler to have the same password across multiple sites, or to create an easy to remember password. However, password hacking is an increasingly common and dangerous threat. A hacked password can mean compromised financial security on your online banking, confidential email leaks or identity theft.

 

It is clear then that choosing a password is key, but what makes a good password?

 

It seems obvious but don’t choose a password that contains elements such as your name, birthdate, surname or simple number combinations such as 1,2,3 or 0, 0, 0, 0. Any password that your family could guess is a weak password so keep obvious personal information out of your passwords.

 

A good password is between 8 and 10 characters long. These days most passwords require a combination of numbers, letters and special characters. Make your password as long as possible as longer passwords are more secure.

 

Use spaces in your password. Most sites don’t allow for a traditional space but use the underscore key to add a space to your password.

 

If you prefer your passwords to derive from words, use a combination of words to create a password, as opposed to using one word as your password. For example, if your children are Jane (age 8), Michael (age 10) and Connor (age 3), your password could combine the first two letters of their names, their age and the year, eg, Ja8Mi10Co32017.

 

Alternatively create password using a sentence, for example The house is on Main Street could become ThHoIsOnMaSt.

 

Store your passwords away from your computer so that you will always be able to access them. Consider writing them in code so they are harder to decipher should they be found. For example, you could code the following password tki86H:k as vmk108J:m. In this code, each character has been replaced by the character two ahead, eg t becomes v. You could add ‘2’ before the coded password to remind yourself, eg. 2vmk108J:m

 

Once you have a strong password that is securely stored, don’t share it with anyone! Keep your passwords private, even from family.

 

By taking this advice, your passwords should be secure and your accounts safe from hackers.

2016 in review

ResRequest year

Here’s a short summary of our year and what we got up to.

Movements

ResRequest travels

We attended a record number of shows and conferences this year. Connecting with many of our power users and business partners, as well as new prospects.

connections banner

In conjunction with our integration partners, Direct Pay Online and Expedia, we hosted a workshop in Nairobi and connected with Wetu at the Magical Kenya Travel Expo.

Sales opportunities, implementations, training and consulting projects took us to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, all around South Africa and the Congo.

Team

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This year we sadly said goodbye to Paula, Nomfundo and Chirlaine. Chirlaine’s farewell coincided with Halloween so the Empangeni office had fun dressing up for her party. They will be missed and we wish them well as they start new chapters.

new people banner

We also said a big hello and welcomed Luzelle and Cheri to our functional support team and Kristen who reinforces the marketing team. Luzelle loves her coffee, Cheri enjoys wildlife and exploring game reserves and Kristen is a keen runner. These key players will strengthen our core.

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Left: A sneak peak of our call centre. Centre: And a 1,2,3,4… Right: Durban gets serious about fitness.

This was the year of activity. We revamped some of our office space and for our mid year team get-together we had a blast trying out a line dancing class and discovered that some of us have two left feet! Some hardcore crew even enrolled in bootcamp to get fit, which has inspired us to launch a ResFit campaign in the new year.

waffle-and-horseplay_wp

To end off our annual review workshops, we had a unique team building experience involving horses in the Midlands Meander. Horseplay taught us about communication and leadership through interaction with horses. Take a look at what we learnt…

We got a sweet treat from Santa and the offices wasted no time in trying out the new waffle makers with office waffle parties. In keeping with the waffle theme, meet our waffle topping team!

Give back

giveback_xmas

Some of the causes we got behind this festive season were the Santa Shoebox initiative for under-privileged children. As part of this initiative, we wrapped shoeboxes and packed them with useful items from the Santa Shoebox list. These gift boxes will be delivered to children across the province for Christmas. We also embarked on a cancer treatment drive for Mike Mthembu, our faithful builder and handyman, with the Youcaring donation platform.

Here’s to an even better 2017!

Superhero stack

ResRequest staff waffle

Every super team needs ‘superfood’

This year Santa sent us a super sweet Christmas treat of waffle makers to ensure regular waffle parties to keep our energy levels up. These crispy golden-brown delights are a hit with our cake-loving team. In the spirit of ResRequest, meet our extra special toppings that make our waffle out of this world.

Alex

ResRequest staff waffle

 

 

 

 

 

 

ResRequest staff waffle

ResRequest staff waffle

 

 

 

Cheri

 

 

Dylan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaco

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

jill Kristen Luzelle MikeNicol Tash TK Walter

ResRequest and Horseplay

ResRequest team build

As 2016 draws to a close, the ResRequest team embarked on their annual team build. The location was kept a secret and anticipation was noticeable.

Horseplay in the Dargle Valley was the location of the 2016 team build. This innovative programme uses horses to demonstrate the need for effective communication as the horses will not respond unless they understand the task and trust the leader.

To demonstrate the importance of clear communication, Carlene Bronner of Horseplay, had the team direct Nicol (ResRequest developer) through an obstacle course using only the words, “Yes” and “No”, and in fact, Carlene said that ResRequest was one of the fastest teams to complete the challenges, proving we are not so bad when it comes to communication!

The team was then divided into pairs and given a horse. Over the course of the day, we learnt increasingly challenging activities with our horses, and how to communicate these activities to our horses so that everyone understood and the activity could be completed.

Great fun was had, and even those who were nervous of horses, overcame their fear.

Carlene summed up the key points from the day as follows:

Have a plan: If you don’t have a plan, then your horse/colleague will sense a void in your leadership and will fill in that void. The results will seldom be productive.

 

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Be consistent: If you are consistent in your emotions, your execution of ideas/work/dealing with situations as they arise, you will be found to be dependable. If you are dependable, you will be seen as trustworthy. If you are trustworthy, then it becomes easy for someone to hand over responsibilities to you.

Be patient: If you are impatient, you will lose the connection between you and your horse/colleague. Sometimes it takes time, but next time it will take less time, although some situations/people/horses may require going over the basics more than once.

 

ResRequest team build

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be persistent: Some situations/people/horses need more reassurance more often because of their doubts about their own abilities, and some require affirmation that you are in control because they are in doubt about your abilities! Don’t see that as a criticism but as a motivation to be better.

 

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Be non-confrontational: If you lose your cool and lash out under pressure, the damage could set you back in the eyes of your colleague. Take a deep breath and think about how you are going to respond, rather than just reacting. Remember the 8 + 2 = 10 = point of balance. Don’t buy into the emotion of your colleague, rather control yourself and get that point of balance back into the equation.

 

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If you mess up (and you will), fix up and move on: We are human and we do sometimes find our ability to stay calm being challenged, when you do mess up; fix up and move on. Don’t be tempted to put your colleague in the proverbial box and limit any future growth in the relationship. Horses never forget but they always forgive, unless they see a pattern developing into a bad habit because then they will develop undesirable behaviour to deal with your bad habits!

 

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And the biggest lesson of the day: Be in the moment, be present!

Star Wars characters renamed

Every year we pick a creative way to highlight and celebrate the team. Since many of our geeks are Star Wars fans and with the release of the latest film, Jill cast our team.

Check out our motley crew’s profiles.

If you want to know what we really look like – visit our team page.

Our growing team

We are thrilled to share about the newly appointed members to our growing team. This year we welcomed six new staffers to our family.

Jen Coppinger is contributing to user interface graphics, user guide material and social media.

Alex Moore strengthens the call centre by assisting with data capture, while Angie Geringer supervises product support.

Dylan Morgan joined to fill a DevOps role, which entails taking care of our servers and connections. Brad Corden joins us as a senior software developer and will be responsible for the development of connections.

Walter van Rooyen is the latest addition to our crew, assisting with technical support.

As we grow, we enhance the quality of our products and services ensuring our clients the best software solutions for their hospitality businesses.