Rhinos Without Borders

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Anna Rathmann: Great Plains Foundation

Have you ever seen a rhino fly? Well, we at the Great Plains Foundation have. And our goal is to see 100 rhinos fly.

In 2014, Great Plains Conservation partnered with fellow conservation-minded safari company, &Beyond, to embark on one of the most ambitious rhino conservation projects to date: Rhinos Without Borders. By bringing together a community of dedicated wildlife conservationists, individuals, and travel industry leaders Rhinos Without Borders relocates rhino from poaching hotspots in South Africa to carefully selected remote wild areas deep within Botswana. Rhinos Without Borders, was created as an immediate response to the growing rhino poaching crisis in southern Africa, but at its core it is a project of hope.

Why Botswana? Because Botswana currently has one of the lowest poaching rates in Africa where the country’s conservation officials are supported by an official anti-poaching unit and political will from the President down to help save rhinos.

By allowing the rhino to roam free in their undisclosed locations, Rhinos Without Borders is creating a viable breeding population of rhino in Botswana, thus broadening the gene pool and increasing the habitat for rhino in Africa.

To date we have successfully relocated 26 rhino with plans for multiple additional relocations in 2017. On a recent relocation the rhino team was joined by film-makers from GoPro Cameras. The footage produced captured the attention of nearly 2 million people through YouTube and evolved into a special campaign and partnership with GoPro cameras resulting in two additional films and funds raised to move two more rhino. Below is one of the films produced.

One of the truest measures of success has been the birth of 5 calves to the group of already relocated rhino. We see these calves as a sign of hope not just for these specific relocated rhinos, but for the entire species.

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The cost to relocate a single rhino through Rhinos Without Borders is $45,000 USD. This amount covers the costs associated with moving a rhino, funds a dedicated team of rhino monitors and anti-poaching patrols, and supports community conservation education initiatives in the rhinos’ new home. Those who fund an entire rhino move are given the opportunity to name a relocated rhino, with the names ranging from humorous to sentimental. We are honoured by the individuals and travel companies who stepped forward and partner with us in this project.
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Rhinos Without Borders is an example of privately led conservation having a positive and marked impact on outcomes, where the private sector can identify needs, solutions and then work with governments to achieve quick decision making and goals that substantially change the face of conservation. Through such a project, the travel industry and individuals are giving hope to a species of animal emblematic of Africa and entrusted to all of us to protect and preserve. To learn more and join us in our efforts please visit:

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Great Plains Conservation Foundation: Mission
The Great Plains Foundation, is the charitable foundation arm of Great Plains Conservation, and is a US Section 501(c)3 charitable Trust whose mission is to fund the development of best practices for world class conservation with a long term commitment to the environment, wildlife and local communities in Africa, including but not limited to the promotion of responsible tourism to help alleviate poverty and to support community development in Africa.

 

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Clean it up

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You’ve probably heard of plain text and rich text but do you know the difference and the effects of each one? In ResRequest, many modules use plain text to sort and store information and so making sure your information is in plain text is important.

 

What does it mean when we say rich text?

 

Documents created in applications such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs automatically add extra features such as fonts, spacing and capitalisation. This formatting adds code, or special characters, to the text and creates what is termed rich text because it has this extra, hidden formatting.

 

How does this affect you in ResRequest?

 

Have you ever had a problem where your rooming calendar locked down, rates were displaying incorrectly on an external connection or even where a guest contact name was randomly showing on the description of an extra? These are all examples of the effect of using rich text with special characters in the ResRequest system.

 

What can you do to avoid special character issues?

 

This is frustrating for you as a client and causes delays as we resolve the problem. Fortunately, there is a solution for which we can thank Jonathan Hedley at Amazon (thanks Jono!). Jonathon created a web-based tool which converts text to plain text very easily!

 

Below are the easy steps to follow to convert any text to plain text. You can then use this plain text in the ResRequest system without any hassles!

 

Step 1:

Go to Jonathan’s site, Convert Microsoft Word to Plain Text

Step 2:

Copy the rich text and paste it into the first window.

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Step 3:

Hit the clean button.

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Step 4:

Copy the ‘clean’, plain text from the bottom window and paste it into the relevant ResRequest field.

 

Step 5:

If there has been a loss of spacing or capital letters, you can edit it accordingly.

 

Step 6:

You’re done!

 

The most important area in ResRequest where you need to use plain text is your ResNova plugin. Copying text directly to ResNova from Microsoft Word or Google Docs will cause broken links and disrupt the functionality of ResNova. Populating your ResNova plugin popups with clean text can be done easily on the ResRequest business structure. Watch a tutorial on how to do this – bearing in mind what you now know about cleaning rich text!

 

The conversion to plain text is vitally important and we hope that this blog will assist you in converting your text, preventing errors and ensuring smooth ResRequest functionality.

 

Step up your server

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The saying ‘change is inevitable’ is certainly applicable in the technology sector. This is a positive change as we have new products to solve problems, improve online storage and facilitate tracking. As with most new technologies, however, there are often unforeseen consequences.

 

This is true for servers. Servers are the core of ResRequest’s productivity. If a server goes down, we can’t work – and neither can you! It is, therefore, essential that we maintain and run our machines as efficiently, and cost effectively, as possible. As a ResRequest client, your servers are also key to your property’s productivity. As ResRequest improves its product, we want to help you to optimise your server so that your business is always at its most productive and making full use of all the ResRequest enhancements.

 

When working at a small lodge with a handful of users (1-5) there is no need to go over the top with a large server. Below is a list of the minimum server requirements that we recommend:

 

  • i3 Duo Core CPU
  • 10 GB free hard disk space
  • 4 GB RAM (system memory)
  • Windows 7 or above
  • Linux
  • iOS – must use Parallels

 

This is just a guideline. If, however, the machine you are using as a server is also performing multiple functions, it would be advisable to improve your server capacity to run all the other programs parallel to ResRequest, without causing performance issues. More RAM is always the easiest and cheapest way to increase performance.

 

In closing, it’s good to know that if you are running an offline environment, we suggest letting ResRequest set up unattended access on TeamViewer. This will allow us to access the server when needed without prompting for TeamViewer details.

 

We are constantly improving our product and with a suitable server, your property will be able to capitalize on all aspects of ResRequest to enhance your operations.

 

Please contact us if you would like more information or advice.

How a 24 year old started a $70,000-a-month online business and travels the world

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Written by Tanza Loudenback

Aileen Adalid entered the corporate world at age 19 after graduating from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, with a degree in business management and had a combined year of training experience under her belt at huge multinational companies like Nestlé, Unilever, and Siemens.

But the trilingual Philippines native quickly grew envious of the flexible lifestyles of “digital nomads” she met while freelancing on the side in Manila.

At 21, after spending two years working as a product controller, which paid just $300 per month, at Deutsche Bank, she realised the corporate life wasn’t for her. She was increasingly intrigued by both entrepreneurship and travel, so she left her job with about $600 in savings in April 2013.

For the next year, Adalid freelanced in graphic design, web design, SEO management, and online marketing, sustained largely by one stable client contract that earned her more than double her previous salary. The best part: The flexibility enabled her to travel frequently to places like France and Thailand.

After a year of freelancing, Adalid,with a friend to start an online Amazon retail business called Adalid Gear, a health and outdoor accessories company, and relocated to Belgium on a student visa after being accepted to a graduate program at the University of Antwerp.

When her namesake business took off a few months later, Adalid left school and switched to a partner visa, with the help of her Belgian business partner, to focus on growing the business. To get the company off the ground, they started by carefully researching the market to discover the most in-demand products.

Their dedication paid off. Adalid Gear, which sells sports and outdoor gear, now has average monthly sales of $70,000, and has established markets in the US and UK.

She also revived her one-time teenage diary blog, I Am Aileen, fashioning it into a lifestyle and travel blog that has gained traction among online travel communities.

Adalid herself now earns about $5,000 a month from the business and “affiliate partnerships, sponsored posts, and social media shout outs” related to her travel blog. And thanks to brand and tourism board partnerships, Adalid often scores free travel and accommodations. But she doesn’t accept everything she’s offered. “I want [the blog] to remain authentic, personalised, and uncluttered … besides, I already earn most of my ‘keep’ from my online business.” Thanks to travel freebies and discounts, she says she’s able to save about 70% of her income.

Adalid typically works less than four hours per day on Adalid Gear, mainly handling research, marketing, promotions, and communication, allowing her to go on a trip from her home base, (now back in the Philippines) at least once a month to destinations throughout Europe and Asia.

Adalid’s nomadic lifestyle has taught her a few lessons about productivity. “Being constantly on the move can ruin anyone’s focus, rhythm, and pace, but I’ve discovered that it can be easily solved by doing slow travel and finding the right balance to how you do your workflow.”

Adalid is back in the Philippines now with plans to make Spain her next home base. Her long-term goal is to continue to grow her businesses and to travel to every country in the world.

First published on Business Insider

Will daylight savings time affect my ResRequest?

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Daylight saving time (DST) or summer time is when people adjust their clocks forward by one hour during the summer months so that evening daylight time lasts an hour longer. DST is particularly prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere where the summer days are long and winter days are short. DST allows people to make the most of the longer summer days and the clocks are then adjusted back at the start of autumn.

While DST benefits people, it can disrupt electronic equipment and computer software often adjusts automatically for DST. At the end of October, many countries in the Northern Hemisphere will reset their clocks to adjust for the end of daylight savings. In Africa, only Namibia, Libya, Morocco and Western Sahara observe daylight savings.

As South Africa does not observe daylight savings, it is important to ensure that your computer is not set to automatically adjust for daylight savings so that ResRequest continues to function correctly.

If you need assistance with this, all technical queries can be directed to: support@resrequest.com.

Your online presence and ResRequest web pages

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Written by Jennifer Coppinger

What is the value of having a great website?

Having a website is no longer optional. Having a positive online presence through a website and social media platforms has become essential for almost every business and service. The quality of these sites and platforms is constantly evolving in the up-beat and competitive digital era that the majority of the world’s population has rapidly embraced.

You may ask why? A website is merely a marketing tool that doesn’t truthfully communicate the quality of the business or service. Or does it? There is method to the madness. A website is always accessible, it offers a chance to keep your customers informed, it grows your potential target market to a global scale and it can talk to every potential customer at the same time – there are only a certain number of phone calls you can take in a day! It’s often the first aspect of your business that people see and you know what they say about first impressions!

For many businesses, websites are a tool, a space for customers to view products, make reservations and even pay online from anywhere in the world.

What has your ResRequest system got to do with this?

Although ResRequest is your in-house reservations and property management system, remember that you still have some public facing pages. These public web pages are made up of your login page, your public availability calendar and quick search and may also include a Pay Now page if you have opted to use this functionality. All of these web pages can be extremely powerful in driving direct bookings to your establishment.

So if you’ve been skipping ahead with the times and have redesigned your website, remember that you can get these ResRequest public pages updated too. Just send us an email and we can get these pages redesigned for you to accommodate your new look.

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Please be advised that these changes are billable at our standard support charges.

e-Commerce Strategy

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Written by Jill Bennett-Howes

Online selling is a very exciting area to add to your sales strategy. We’ve seen many of our customers celebrate increased profits when they implement and manage an effective online strategy.

Key elements for your eCommerce strategy

Each element will need effort from your team to prepare the strategy, implement, maintain and review it – we call this the PACstrat (of course I couldn’t resist slipping in that bit of Pacman-geek-speak!).

With an effective eCommerce strategy and a dedicated team, increased profits result through new sales and/or through more efficient business procedures.

The importance of an eCommerce strategy

You have plans for increased profits but where will your increased profits come from? Whether it’s increased sales through new channels, closing sales or working more cost effectively, a very likely source of your increased profits will come from a well managed e-commerce strategy.

Online booking words like Look To Book, Credit Cards, OTAs, GDS’ and Channel Managers very quickly get marketing and sales teams dreaming up these profits and increased occupancies. Their enthusiasm is catchy – but plug those buzz words into Google, hit enter and the volumes of search results leave you feeling like there’s not enough bandwidth on your laptop – let alone enough to get your eCommerce strategy up and running.

With this being such an overwhelming business strategy, hoteliers often make the fatal mistake of approaching eCommerce as a sales after-thought or a fishing expedition. They think that randomly implementing a few connections and a few technologies will bring the profits they seek – and they often come miserably short. They celebrate the ad hoc booking instead of comparing it with all their overall sales strategies. These customers rarely claim true online profits – in fact many of them go horribly wrong and just confuse the market or create price disparity which weakens their product and can negatively impact other carefully nurtured sales strategies.

Implementing and deploying an eCommerce strategy is a business decision – one that’s as important as your existing sales strategy. It needs a dedicated team to workshop, manage, track and refine your eCommerce plans.

So, whether your focus is maximising direct sales or making working with your partners more efficient, you’ll need to: define an eCommerce strategy, add technology to achieve it and allocate resources to ensure that you get the profits your marketing and sales teams promise. This means you have a lot of work ahead of you.

As the online inventory and availability distribution hub, ResRequest plays a key role in working with our partners and customers to identify online booking options that work for you.

To help you kickstart your blueprint to success, we have identified the online booking options available to you, their pitfalls, successes and general industry trends.

Distribution Options

Your website. Your investment in a great web design is to excite customers about your product and lead them to buy. Once your customer has made a commitment to purchase, they ask for price and availability, which culminates in a sale. For this reason close to 90% of our clients proactively engage in showing rates and availability on their website.

Luxury / remote lodges have been less confident of the value of creating bookings and processing credit cards directly from their website. Reasons for look-to-book reluctance includes fears that guests will not be able to arrange complicated transfers. In addition lodges are concerned that automating bookings sidesteps the value of building a relationship between the customer and their product. To top these concerns, many lodges are wary of how trade partners may react to them openly targeting the direct market. As a result of these concerns for many years we saw a trend of caution to creating bookings online. Many customers only displayed availability with easy-to-use enquiry forms – but this trend is changing.

Online consumers expect to be able to book online and they trust that you have implemented solutions to make their booking uncomplicated and to resolve any potential challenges. As this expectation has changed so our customers have found ways to counter online booking challenges, they’ve implemented simpler online rates, easy booking forms and resolved transfer concerns with online or central reservations solutions.

Your business partners. Over time, marketing groups have formed with the objective of stimulating travel in niche markets – sort of stitching itineraries together. Some of these groups are commercial ventures, while others are informal associations born from like-minded neighbouring properties. Over the last few years we have seen an increase in interest for marketing groups and regional availability, where independent / neighbouring properties are interested in publishing availability on a collaborative web-page. This is a market sector that is growing in popularity and benefits both direct guests and travel trade.

Specialist agents. Ask any agent or tour operator and they will tell you that a large portion of their success is the skill with which they are able to quickly prepare a customised itinerary. Giving specialist agents access to your stock means that agents are able to prepare and respond to requests for quotations faster then their competitors. More then 90% of our clients allow agents to access stock with their own ResRequest login, with close to 20% allowing agents to create bookings directly into their ResRequest system.

To enable agents with their own systems to electronically extract rate and availability from multiple clients, we have developed an auxiliary product, ResConnect. Approximately 90% of our clients have established relationships with our agent partners who use ResConnect. Many of our ResConnect partners display availability directly on their website in order to compete with OTAs and GDS’. If you’re considering working with OTAs and GDS’ you should definitely be considering giving your loyal travel partners controlled access to their rates and your availability.

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) / Global Distribution Systems (GDS). Travel sites reported significant 2014 revenues: Expedia $5.7 billion, Amadeus at E1,3 billion. With revenues like these it is understandable that every hotel would love to tap into those markets. So why are remote hotels cautious of tapping into these very lucrative channels?

Concerns include the effect of boycotts by specialist travel agents and tour operators. Lodges also fear that channels will create a price war climate that will ultimately result in cheapening their products and forcing rack rates to drop. In addition lodges have logistical fears that these channels may have no concern for the guest’s knowledge or ability to transfer to and from complicated, remote locations.

Over the last few years we have seen many customers tap successfully into these channels. It takes effort and evidence shows that once the connection is established, and the right marketing effort is applied, the results are well worth it. As more products become available on these channels we expect to see OTAs and GDS’ introducing ways to help remote travellers with complicated transfers – for now it’s not a problem at all – our customers playing in this space simply make the transfer arrangements as an added on service to the traveller.

You may ask, how much effort is really needed for an online channel to sell my product? Getting return from this sales sector takes a lot of resources, time and work. Consider each travel portal as a new business relationship except, unlike traditional agents, you need to manage your own rates, your online listing and you need to learn how each travel portal works so that you can optimise sales over your competitor’s listings. Start with a few channels and, once you’ve monitored the trends and your team are experienced in working with this space, start expanding to more relevant portals.

So how does ResRequest make this happen?

ResRequest covers all your distribution needs with our own direct connections and via channel managers. The diagram below illustrates our distribution blueprint.

 

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ONLINE OPTIONS

Online bookings are about reaching online customers and working more efficiently with your business partners through electronic connections.

What’s available?

ResRequest’s Online Bookings module lets you connect to online users electronically; distribute your availability and rates, and make bookings through online channels and your own website. Your online strategy will include one or many of the online services available to you in ResRequest. Some of these connections are direct and some are available through our Channel Manager partners.

DIRECT SALES
Ideal for your online-savvy clients and repeat customers.

Show availability and rates on your own website and give your customers the ability to ‘book and pay now’.

Your website:

1. ResRequest: Brand and use ResRequest’s online booking form and credit card gateway, or let your web designer use our interface (API) to develop your own booking form on your website. Alternatively use our booking widget, ResNova, on your WordPress or general website.

2. Channel manager: offer a direct booking form available via any of our partners channel manager.

FaceBook: Add a booking widget to your Facebook page using some of our preferred Channel Managers. A ResRequest widget for FaceBook.

TripAdvisor: Via selected Channel Managers, list your stock alongside popular OTA’s to increase your chance of a booked next to your ratings.

Circuits: Using the ResRequest interface (API) create circuit bookings within your own products or collaborating with other ResRequest properties.

SELL TO YOUR TOP AGENTS
Help your top agents compete with online travel agents by giving them an online edge.

Give your selected agents access to ResRequest with a secure login.

Give your preferred agents controlled access to ResRequest by adding them as a ResRequest user. Let them lookup availability and make bookings to increase their chance to quote quickly and book efficiently.

SELL TO AFRICA’S TOP AGENTS
Distribute your stock to Africa’s top safari agents.

Connect your stock and bookings to specialist agents and tour operators using our electronic connection programme, ResConnect.

Sign up as a ResConnect customer through our call centre. A ResRequest user is created with restricted permissions. The user is linked to each ResConnect partner via our bridge.

SELL VIA OTAs and GDS’ (Online Travel Agents & Global Distribution Systems)

Connect to OTAs and GDS’ and leverage access to thousands of global agents and travellers who are searching for a safari vacation.
Use our Channel Manager partners to distribute your inventory and rates and make bookings to OTAs like Expedia, bookings.com or GDS’ like Pegasus and Sabre. Our Channel Manager partners include: Nightsbridge and SynXis.

Select the Channel Manager that suits your distribution needs, budget and reach. Your account is setup with the channel and then we connect ResRequest for you. The last step is that you manage your profile and rates on your preferred travel sites.

 

Backing up

Backing up your data

Technology and data, and free access to both, has become a vital part of everyday business running procedures. People still overlook the importance of backing up their data, making sure that in case of an unfortunate event, they will not lose valuable information.

We have a backup policy for our online systems to reduce the risk of data loss, this being said, each client is responsible for their own data back ups for their offline services. To help implement good backup procedures we’ve drafted guidelines and recommendations for your IT team.

 

Why are backups important?

Having duplicate copies of your most important information saved in a alternate location keeps it safe in the case of damage to your computer.

There are a number of ways files can be lost unexpectedly:

Computer crashes – always happen when you least expect it, and can lead to data loss.

Virus Infection – aggressive malicious viruses can corrupt files and disable computers.

Hard drive failure – hard drives have a finite lifetime and can fail suddenly and without warning. The sudden death of a hard drive can cause the painful loss of months or years of irreplaceable files and the timing can be catastrophic.

Physical computer damage – your files are more at risk if you use a laptop. The portable and light option comes at the price of reduced durability. Laptops are sensitive and easily damaged if dropped or liquids are spilt on them.

Theft – computers are sought after by thieves and cannot always be kept secure whilst travelling.

The bottom line is that if you value what’s stored on your computer, it’s wise to take steps to protect your information from sudden loss. Work can be redone, but the loss of cherished files like family and travel photos is permanent.

 

Many users regularly backup their files to their computer hard drive, but in the event of a total computer breakdown this will not protect the information. Saving data to a separate location makes much more sense and can be easily done if you have an external hard drive, or a large-capacity flash drive to back up onto.

However, this method is only as secure as the device you’re backing up to. When saving your files to physical devices, your backup device needs to be kept in a different location to your computer, and can in turn fall victim to damage or loss. In addition, despite your best intentions, you may forget to copy your files as often as you should, leaving a large amount of recent work unprotected.

A safer and more effective method of securing files is backing up online. Files stored online are safe from damage your computer, and if something goes wrong with your machine you will still have remote access to your information from any computer with internet access. This means files can quickly and easily be restored to your computer from a secure online server.

 

How frequently should you backup your ResRequest database?

The most popular schedule is to run back ups at daily, weekly and monthly intervals, with daily backups on a rotation system, this is to ensure that you have a redundant backup, if one frequency fails then reverting to another previous version is easily accessible.

 

What time of day should your ResRequest database be backed up?

Running a backup will slow your system down so schedule your backups at a time when no one is working on the server e.g. before or after working hours.

 

How do your backup your ResRequest database?

Step 1: Install ResRequest script

Our mysqlback script will convert your ResRequest backup into a compressed file and dump the backup into a folder of your choosing. C:\Mysqlbackup\backupfolder\. Changing the backup location will be done in the script, on line 63, by changing to the path desired. The timing is edited and made using the built in windows “Task scheduler” to run the mysqlbackup.bat file at your chosen time.

 

Step 2: Install a backup tool that will backup the compressed file

In case you don’t already have a plan on how to or where to backup your database, we have a few suggestions

  • Use of a 3rd party backup program, like Smartsync pro, which can manage multiple backup schedules to different locations.
  • Back up to two locations, first being onsite for an easily accessible copy. The second on an external hard drive that is only brought onsite on a weekly basis to back up but is kept off site.

 

Clearing out your backups

Over time backups can utilise a large amount of disk space. If your backup objective is redundancy then it’s unlikely that you need to keep backups for longer than 3 months.

What happens if I need to reinstall my backup?

If your server has crashed and requires a reinstall of the ResRequest software, contact our offices for assistance.

Other hints and tips

Many countries experience power outages and also “unclean” voltage, which can result in hardware damage and data loss in some cases. We suggest that either a UPS or inverter with a voltage rectifier is considered.

If the server is damaged and needs to be replaced, the following need to be considered: the re-installation cost at our standard support fees as well as recovering all non ResRequest related settings and data, and putting a good preventative maintenance plan into action to save you money in the long run. Running routine maintenance checks to keep your hard drive and machine clean of unwanted programs, excessive data and archiving data, is important as it keeps your machine running at optimum level.

Remember that your access to digital information is a critical part of business, spend the time to make sure it’s done correctly and effectively.

 

What are connections?

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To be competitive in an increasingly online and automated space, Safari Agents and Tour Operators have implemented software applications that manage their business needs. A software application is the first part of their solution, the second part is electronic access to your system (to view rates and availability and make bookings) so they can prepare quotes and book directly from their solution. This process saves time and helps them compete with online agents.

What does a Tour Operator get with access to rates, availability and booking?

  • The ability to compete with online travel agents
  • Agents can effortlessly build itineraries
  • Prepare quotes quickly, in any time zone
  • Confirm bookings in a few quick steps

What’s your part in this?
Electronically connecting your agent (the buyer) to you (the supplier) is a change in the traditional way of making a booking. Agents are improving the tools they use to book so they can be more competitive, responsive and offer dynamic pricing. The booking process is changing from phone calls and several emails to using automated electronic bookings from systems designed to give Agents a competitive advantage. Your part is to recognise that your agent needs your support to leverage this competitive advantage.

What agents already use this connection to ResRequest?
Specialist agents like, Expert Africa, Bushtracks Expeditions, Go2Africa, African Eagle, Wetu and Wilderness Safaris have developed connections to ResRequest through ResConnect. As agents recognise the power in this connection, more and more have signed up to ResConnect to make it possible to sell Africa’s finest properties using their business tools.

Tourplan operators are also able to connect directly to your stock. The following agents using the Tourplan system are now able to connect to our ResRequest customers and will be requesting booking access permission: African Ample Assistance, Abenteuer Afrika Safari, Africa Travel Group, Cheli & Peacock, Discover Africa Group, Elewana Travel Ltd, Inspirations Travel & Tours, Jenman African Safaris, Live the Journey, New Frontiers, Personal Africa Travel, Safari Destinations, Springbok Atlas – South Africa, Tour d’Afrique, Team DM UK, Tourvest Holdings Brasil Eventos S.A., Sense of Africa, Tourvest Destination Management, Travel Wild Botswana, Uitkyk Holidays, Vintage Africa, Wild Africa Travel, XO Africa Travel and &BEYOND.

What are the steps to connect?
Once an agent has developed a connection between their booking system and ResRequest they will request permission to access your properties. You or our call centre setup their user account and you define what they can see and do in your ResRequest system. Our call centre then links this user to the agent’s ResConnect account which enables them to electronically connect to your rates, availability and make bookings.

We have recommended to ResConnect agents that only confirmed bookings are booked, however each relationship will need to be managed on a case by case basis.

How the setup works:
When you allow an agent to create bookings, the ‘Req Received’ button (at the top right corner of your screen) will flash and show the number of bookings received. These bookings need to be assigned to a consultant and checked.

Do we support editing and cancellations?
We do not support edits to bookings, however when amendments or cancellations are requested, an email will be generated to the supplier.

Will implementing an electronic connection change the relationship with your agent?
No – you’ll still work with your agent as a human – you’ll still meet with them at trade shows and sales visits, but the actual booking creation can be electronic.

Will this help you sell more bed nights?
Absolutely! New agents you have not worked with, will be signing with your property and existing agents, who prefer an automated booking process, will electronically incorporate your property into their itinerary building.

Can you control what the agent can see and do in ResRequest?
Yes, an agent will only see rates and room types allocated to their user profile and they can only look up availability and make bookings if you say they can.

Should you consider limiting an agent’s user access?
Limiting the agents electronic access is like owning a Ferrari and not adding the petrol. When we launched ResConnect 10 years ago, Agents only wanted a way to check availability and rates but now the trend is to create and cancel bookings. Why? Because it saves so much time and improves efficiency for your agent. It gives them a competitive advantage over other online sales platforms.

What happens if agents start booking and cancelling frequently?
Electronic connectivity makes checking availability and making bookings so easy that it will very likely be tempting for your agent to frequently hold space and cancel. Initially some agents may not realise this makes more work for you. Remember to set your reservations that don’t materialise to ‘Deleted’ and if your agent’s actions are causing more work for you – show your agent their conversion stats and ask them to find ways to streamline the process to avoid a negative rating with you.

What can you do if your agent does not have a system but they want a similar competitive advantage?
That’s easy – give them a login to your ResRequest system. Here’s what this means for your agent:

We would love to hear how you benefit from this business to business solution, get in touch if you would like to share your thoughts.

More exposure on Airbnb

Airbnb shares how you can get more exposure for your property by listing it on airbnb.com. More than 80 million people have travelled on Airbnb so listing your property gives you access to a broad base of customers who love to travel. It is free to list and Airbnb only charges a 3% commission.

About Airbnb
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether a spare bedroom, an apartment, a villa or a private island, Airbnb connects travelers to a more diverse and authentic range of experiences in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

How Airbnb works: 

  • Ordinary residents – “hosts” – can list their own homes on the Airbnb website. They create online profiles for themselves and for their property, choose their own price and availability and set guidelines for guests.
  • Increasingly we are seeing that unique properties do really well and that it has become and avenue for small lodges, tented camps, tree houses etc. The key thing is that there is a host who can communicate with and welcome guests and that each bedroom is unique.
  • Guests search for hosts and properties that meet their criteria – dates, location, number of beds or rooms, wifi, breakfast included, etc.
  • Hosts and guests can learn about each other through information provided on their Airbnb profiles, including past reviews, photographs, and identity verification. Additionally, hosts and guests can communicate with each other through the Airbnb website, to discuss travel dates, expectations, and price.
  • Airbnb facilitates the entire financial transaction and holds onto the payment until 24 hours after the reservation begins to make sure both guests and hosts are happy before the payment goes through. Hosts keep 97% of booking fees, and guests pay a 6-12% fee to Airbnb.
  • After the stay, both hosts and guests leave reviews for one another. The reviews are public for all future hosts and guests to read.
If you’re still not convinced, hear what President Obama had to say about Airbnb.

Who can list on Airbnb?
Anyone with a bedroom, an apartment, a small guest house, B&B, lodge or self catering accommodation. What is important is that there is a host to facilitate the guest experience, and that each room needs to be listed separately unless you are renting out the whole place.

Would you like to become a host?

Where do I go to list my space?

If you have any questions, feel free to contact velma.corcoran@ext.airbnb.com or go to https://www.airbnb.com/help.

ResRequest does not currently have an integration with Airbnb, but do let us know if this is something that you would be interested in.