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.

ResRequest and Expedia are now connected

ResRequest-Expedia

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 Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Egencia, Hotwire, Trivago, Venere.com 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!

Explore the online travel space with Stride Travel

ResRequest-Stride Travel

Jared Alster- Stride TravGrowing a travel business in today’s environment is challenging. Travelers 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.

Blocked pop-ups blocking ResRequest?

ResRequest popups

Have you ever landed on a web page and a pop-up immediately blocks the web page content? Pop-ups are usually blocked on web browsers because they’re generally advertisements but in ResRequest, pop-ups are menus and entry screens because ResRequest works off a pop-up based web interface. If pop-ups are blocked on your browser, you might have been experiencing problems accessing some content or even the entire ResRequest system.

Luckily you can enable pop-ups just for ResRequest and this blog will guide you through how to do this depending on your chosen browser. Below are the steps for the two browsers that we recommend you use when working in ResRequest: Chrome and Mozilla FireFox.

  1. Chrome

Open Chrome and your homepage will load. Navigate to the top right hand menu icon, as shown below.

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Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings page, and click on the Show advanced settings link.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 1.51.03 PMNavigate through Advanced Settings and select the Privacy section, under which you will find the Content settings section.

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Click on ‘Content settings’ and scroll to the ‘Manage exceptions’ section. Here you can specify to exclude ResRequest from the pop-up blocker. Add ‘live.resrequest’ if you are working on an offline environment and ‘yourcompany.resrequest.com’ (replace “yourcompany” with your web hosted URL prefix i.e. nyatilodge.resrequest.com).

2. Mozilla FireFox

If you are using Mozilla FireFox, follow these steps to allow pop-ups from ResRequest.

Open Mozilla FireFox and click the menu button in the top left corner of your homepage and choose Preferences.
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Select the Content panel and choose Pop-ups.

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Click on Exceptions and you can add your ResRequest site to the list of ‘allowed’ websites.

Add ‘live.resrequest’ if you are working on an offline environment and ‘yourcompany.resrequest.com’ (replace “yourcompany” with your web hosted URL prefix i.e.  nyatilodge.resrequest.com).

Following these steps will allow you to work on your ResRequest system and keep those annoying pop-up adverts away. The best of both worlds! If you have any further technical questions, please email support@resrequest.com.

 

Rhinos Without Borders

ResRequest-rhinos without borders

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.

ResRequest- rhinos without borders

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.
_Copyright_Beverly_Joubert_Rhinos_Without_Borders4 (1)

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:

gp website button rwb button

 

Rhinos_without_borders_Logos_2016 (1) (003)

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.

 

ResRequest GP-Foundation

Clean it up

ResRequest- clean text

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

ResRequest server specs

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

world traveller

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?

DST

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.