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.




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.

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.

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.


Forgotten password?

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.

Global sales through Expedia and ResRequest


We have some exciting news! Expedia, the world’s largest online travel company, now has a connection to ResRequest. ResRequest is constantly improving its product and connectivity between suppliers and buyers is a strategic focus. With our new Expedia connection, properties using ResRequest to manage their reservations can now connect directly to Expedia without a channel manager. 


Connections allow us to increase our client’s sales and improve business efficiency. Connections between the supplier and buyer mean that rates, availability, and bookings can be distributed electronically. Our connection to Expedia gives our customers the ability to sell their stock on Expedia partner platforms including,, Travelocity, Orbitz, Egencia, Hotwire, Trivago, and several Expedia-affiliate channels.

The Expedia connection process is simple. Contact Expedia to register and specify that you’d like the Expedia connection to ResRequest (email Neil or Darren). Once the commercial agreements are in place with Expedia, our support centre connects your ResRequest and Expedia system together. Your rates and availability are distributed and updated on Expedia, directly from ResRequest. Bookings made by Expedia are automatically highlighted in ResRequest for your central reservation team to review, along with an email. All you need to do is manage your profile information on Expedia – they’re really helpful and have a team to assist with these housekeeping items.

There is no recurring fee for this connection. ResRequest does not charge commission for bookings made by Expedia. A once off setup fee of approximately 1 hour is billed at our standard data set up rates which are R390 / $40 per hour for 2017.


You can track the success of the connection as bookings are automatically linked to an Expedia agent and an Expedia source. Your marketing team can run their favourite report to track bed nights, yield, average length of stay and revenue filtered or grouped by the Expedia agent or source.


Customers have already started using the connection. We have over 40 properties active with the ResRequest-Expedia connection.


Join this growing number of customers and start selling your bed nights fast and easily!

Hop, skip and a Stride to your perfect trip

ResRequest-Stride Travel

Jared Alster- Stride Travel

Growing a travel business in today’s environment is challenging. Travellers have more choice than ever when it comes to booking a tour, safari or adventure vacation and the internet and social media has delivered huge amounts of travel-related content direct to consumers.

But how does a tour operator ensure that their brand breaks through all the chatter? What’s the most efficient way for a travel supplier to acquire new customers? If you have a significant marketing budget, Google and Facebook are both great options. However, for smaller operators with tight budgets or lack of marketing expertise, online distribution can be daunting.

That’s why Stride Travel was created. Stride Travel is an online marketplace for multi-day tours and organised travel. Stride is the first website to enable users to search and read reviews for all professionally planned trips – from traditional group tours and private guided safaris, to independent itineraries and small ship cruises.

Currently, travellers can search Stride’s comprehensive database of over 10,000 trips to 130+ countries from 500+ operators.

Tour operators view Stride as a unique marketing distribution channel.  Unlike online travel agencies and packagers, Stride’s meta search model highlights travel brands rather than hiding them. Stride’s open business model aligns their interests with those of operators and travellers by transparently matching travellers with their perfect tour company.

Many large and niche operators, such as G Adventures, Rothschild Safaris, and Butterfield & Robinson, have partnered with Stride because the business model has minimal up-front costs and provides significant upside in driving new customers.

Today’s consumers expect to be able to read reviews and easily compare options on any major purchase. Adventurous, international vacations are no exception. Yet today, the major travel review websites do not have a category for reviews on multi-day tours and operators.

Stride alleviates this issue and provides operators with a trusted third party platform on which to display traveler reviews and ratings. Stride’s research shows that travellers are up to eight times as likely to trust reviews found on a neutral 3rd party site vs. direct on an operator’s website.

If you’d like to learn more about how Stride can help grow your business, they’d love to hear from you. Please contact Stride.