Making memories

Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018 was a fantastic show. It drew in a huge list of exhibitors and visitors from all over the globe. ResRequest was represented at Indaba within the SATSA stand again this year – and we enjoyed the vibe of sharing in the show buzz with our industry partners. We met with a record number of new prospects as well as our valued customers.

The Functional support team attended the show for the first time to share some love and connect with our customers and provide on-the-ground support and this is what they had to say about their experience. 

It was awesome to meet some of our clients in person. Many conversations started with a handshake and ended with a hug. Just a great reminder for me that the connections we have with people are a vital part of what we do.

Having a face to a name certainly adds a more personal dynamic to the support we provide, and I think our clients were happy to see the faces of the people they often chat to on the phone or over email. One thing that stood out to me the most was the recognition and thanks that we received from our clients for always being able to contact us and having access to a friendly voice on the phone.  I’m already looking forward to next year!Angie 

It was great to meet some of the ‘voices’ I have been speaking to for the past two years and to be able to ‘picture’ the person behind the voice. We hope that we blew them away with the reassurances of our future support and they felt that our support team truly cares.” Luzelle 

The best part of Indaba for me was to be able to meet our clients, putting faces to names and getting to know them just that little bit better.” Cheri 

Being at Indaba was the highlight of my year so far. It was a blessing being able to meet the clients that we have worked so closely with over the years.” Alex

It was a great experience to have interactions with our clients when they weren’t contacting us for support. It was also amazing to see just the tip of the iceberg at the conference and to see just how big the industry is and how much more we can tap into.” Chantel 

 

 

 

The Marketing & Brand team also joined in to witness the activity and build the presence that we had.

Simone hits up Spiderman with some of our branded mints.

‘This was my second time at Indaba and I enjoyed going back again. It is always a mind-blowing experience with huge, elaborate stands, the bright colours, different languages and seeing all the incredible destinations Africa has to offer.’ Kristen 

Our new consultant partners, Pomerol Partners also participated in the event and met with business owners who were interested in reaping the benefits of using ResInsite, our business intelligence tool.

‘I found the show to be lively and worth attending even though it was frustrating trying to find exhibitors who had their stands changed at the last minute. I enjoyed meeting clients who I hadn’t met before.’ Ntando 

As always we find Indaba to be a worthwhile show for us, as it’s on home soil, and where we can have a greater presence and impact our market.

 

How to open CSV files with Excel by default

ResRequest sends data as CSV files and these are best viewed in Excel so you probably want to set these files to open automatically in Excel. We’ll guide you through this simple set up to save you time!

 

CSV files are text documents where the data is separated by a delimiter, or a character used to specify the boundary between fields, such as comma. ResRequest will use a comma to define different fields of data in it’s system but this is difficult to read if you open it in a text editor and so displaying in columns such as Excel makes mapping this data easier to read.

 

Setting these files to open by default in Excel is simple – let’s get started.

 

How to set Excel as the default program on a PC

 

Click on Start in the Taskbar on your Windows desktop.

Choose Default Programs in the left menu.

Click ‘Associate a file type or protocol with a program’.

Scroll through the list of file types until you locate the CSV option, then click it once to highlight it in blue.

 

Click the ‘Change program’ button at the top of the window.

 

Click the Microsoft Excel option under ‘Recommended Programs’, then click the OK button.

 

From the list of ‘Recommended Programs’, choose Excel.

Any CSV file you click to open with now open in Excel automatically. If you don’t want to open it in Excel, right click on the file and choose ‘Open with’ to select a different program.

 

How to set Excel as the default program on Mac

Right click on the CSV file in your Downloads folder.

Choose ‘Get Info’

Under ‘Open With’ choose ‘Excel.

Click ‘Change all’ and confirm your decision.’

 

How to set Excel as the default program on Windows 10


Step One: (Windows Key + S) opens up windows search. Search for Control panel. Once it pops up in the search, select it.



Step Two: Select default programs.

Step Three: Select Associate a file type.



Step Four: Scroll down until you find CSV, once you have found the CSV file format on the left-hand side of your screen, you will need to make sure that Excel is selected. If not you, will need to select Excel from the list.

 

We hope that this will help you to easily open and read all your ResRequest attachment downloads, but please don’t hesitate to contact our Support Centre with any queries.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Imminent VAT change

Recently the South African Minister of Finance announced a tax change of 1% effective from 1 April. What will this mean for your business and how will you implement the changes in your operations? We’ve prepared a document to guide you through. Please note, this is our advice and experience and we are not responsible for the decisions or actions taken in your business operations.

We will cover:

Understanding the changes

Implementing the tax changes in your business

Making changes in ResRequest

Understanding the changes

In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba advised that, for the first time since 1993, South Africa will be facing a 1% VAT hike to be implemented on 1 April 2018. During his speech he listed many more areas which will see tax changes emerging.

What’s changing? VAT, personal tax (although the increase will be below inflation and only apply to the bottom tax brackets), sinner’s tax, fuel levies, donations tax, excise duties on luxury goods and estate duty. See Businesstech.co.za for a summary. Medical aid rebates, capital gains tax, company tax, dividend withholding tax.

In addition to these policies Gigaba outlined the mechanisms to source taxes from different sectors – see CNBCAfrica.com for more details. The message was clear, SA government plan to source more tax money across the board.

You can argue about the fairness, you can debate the timing, what you cannot do is avoid the reality that it’s here and you have to decide how best to handle it in your business.

In tourism, especially in the luxury safari industry, rates are determined well in advance of travel. Most accommodation suppliers cater for group bookings and international travel which is often booked 12 to 18 months in advance. Part of their success requires releasing rates far in advance so international operators can prepare and print their travel products in brochures. This makes short term rate adjustments complicated and needing thought and discussion before choosing your response.

This blog outlines our experience when governments have introduced VAT and tax changes across the continent. We have included our understanding of the situation and samples of general fiscal changes and how they were managed which may help preparing for the SA VAT change of 14% to 15% from 01 April 2018.

Implementing the tax changes in your business

Choosing your response to the tax changes should be specific to your situation. Take into consideration the following:

  1. What is the operational ruling around the tax change?
    This will help you determine the best way to implement the changes in your business applications.
  2. As a business should we increase our rates or should we absorb the tax?
    Take counsel from your auditors, marketing teams, rates and reservation managers. Don’t rush in following your neighbour’s strategy as it may not make business sense for you based on your margins, business relationships and corporate taxes.
  3. What is the best way to implement the change in my system?
    This is dependent on the ruling around the tax change. Government may be prepared to accept conditions such as honouring 14% for bookings that already have deposits recorded or bookings already invoiced; however, there is no indication of this and we assume that legislation will be based around SA ruling that VAT becomes payable on the date of an invoice.
  4. How should I notify my trade partners?
    Advising the trade of the change is tricky, it’s important to be honest about your preferred choice and your reasons for the decisions you’ve made. Consider sending an announcement to your partners that there are changes coming and that you’re identifying the best option for all parties. Follow-up with details of your choices as soon as you’ve made them.

Consideration of changes around operational rulings

We know the following:

  • VAT becomes payable on the date of invoice. Thus the ruling VAT rate at that date applies.
  • This is not affected by the date on which payment is received. (This is a subjective interpretation.)
  • Operator terms and conditions are likely to include a statement that rates are subject to statutory charges, such as VAT. Thus there is not likely to be any legal impediment to increasing contracted rates to account for the VAT increase.

Business considerations

If reservations travelling on or after 1 April are invoiced before April, it seems that 14% VAT will apply. However any changes to those reservations subsequent to 1 April will require variation credit notes and / or invoices, which will attract VAT at 15%.

A business has the option of either absorbing the VAT increase, or passing it on to the customer. Absorbing the increase means paying the 15% VAT but not recouping the additional 1% from the customer.

Alternatively, the business can pass the cost on to the customer, which means increasing rates to include the 1% increase. If the customer is VAT registered in South Africa, the increase will be recouped via their VAT input submission. They will then be faced with making the decision about passing the cost on to their end customer.

Scenarios on existing bookings

The significant factor is whether the service is delivered before 1 April, or not.

Timing of payment is irrelevant except in the case of an operator that is specifically authorised to pay VAT on receipt of payment (a rare scenario). It could be argued that VAT is payable upon receipt of a deposit payment but we have not encountered this practice in South Africa.

The existence of contracted rates with customers is not relevant.

Here are factors to consider which may influence your approach:

  • Payment status of the booking (consider the different implications of a booking being unpaid / part paid / fully paid).
  • The value of the booking (assess the scale of the cost should you choose to absorb the cost and assess the potential fallout if you increase the rate).
  • Lead time to arrival date (agents are more likely prepared to accept rate changes if they have enough time to notify their clients).
  • Customer relationship.
  • The extent of the practical overhead of changing rates and services (consider the time to publish new rate sheets, make adjustments to your system rates and re-price existing reservations).

Operational considerations

If you opt to absorb the cost you will need to:

  • Change the tax settings in your sales system.
  • Reprice all affected reservations that will be invoiced on or after 1 April.

If you opt to pass on the cost you will need to:

  • Advise all customers of the change.
  • Amend the amounts on your rate sheets.
  • Change tax settings in your sales system.
  • Change rate amounts in your sales system.
  • Reprice all reservations that will be invoiced on or after 1 April.

How some clients are approaching the change

  • Some clients indicate that they will absorb the VAT change for a 6 month window from April, thereafter rates will be increased to accommodate the change.
  • Some clients indicate they will absorb the VAT change for 2018 and will adjust rates in 2019.

Some clients indicate they will absorb tax on bookings that are confirmed and have a deposit already paid before 01 April. The supplier will absorb the change of VAT in these cases. If the booking is provisional, with no deposit, they will adjust pricing to a new rate which caters for the 1% increase, before confirming.


References

VAT 404 Guide for Vendors – External Guide Chapters 4 and 5 of the general tax guide (VAT 404) cover the time of supply, which is important (Pages 26 -32)

VAT 411 Guide for Entertainment Accommodation and Catering – External Guide The guide for accommodation and catering (VAT 411) gives more focused information on the accommodation industry. Chapter 7, page 47 is the most relevant.


I’ve made up my mind, now I need to change my rates, extras and bookings in ResRequest. What next?

If you use ResRequest to track your taxes on your room rates and / or extras, you’ll need to change your taxes on all affected bookings, rates and extras. In all likelihood you already have bookings that will be invoiced after 01 April 2018. These bookings will need the new taxes applied to extras and accommodation rates. There’s no way to work around it – you have work ahead!

We’ve highlighted the key steps to follow below.

1. Create the new tax rate

Add a new tax rate of 15% in your system. You will need this to change or create your 15% extras and room rates.

WARNING! You may be tempted to edit the 14% to 15% – this will not have the required effect and will negatively impact your taxes. The 14% tax rate must remain on the code table for historical bookings and for reporting. The new tax rate must be a new tax rate record.
 
How?
From the main menu select: Administration > Setup > Code tables > Tax Rate. Then add the new 15% tax rate (create a unique, recognisable description).

See our online Tax Rate Code table for more guidance.

 

2. Prepare reports for reservation comparisons before and after the tax change is applied

Before you make any changes to your bookings, generate and export detailed reports so you can compare changes before and after you apply the new taxes to your bookings. A recommended report is the Financial Analysis by Folio report. From the main menu select: Reports > Financials > Financial Analysis (Folio)

See our recommended online below. Add more Fields as required so the report includes everything you need for your reservation and accounts team to review after the changes.

3. Change Extras

3.1 On future bookings already created, that require the new tax, change Extras to use the new 15% tax rate (the Tax % will update automatically) and change the Unit Price if you plan to pass the increase to customers. In addition to editing all affected bookings, do this for all new bookings.

3.1.1 You could duplicate your Extras so each VAT-rated Extra has a record for 14% and a record for 15% – this is feasible if the volume of extras you manage can be cloned.

3.2 Change Extra codes. Wait for 01 April 2018, then change your Extras codes so all new Extras are automatically created as 15%. Change the amount on the Extras code table if required.  To change Extras in your Extras Code Table, take a look at our Extras online user guide

3.3 If you are tracking camp-based guest extras, remember to update those extras for your front-of-house teams!

 

4. Change Room Rates

4.1 If you plan not to change your room rates, it will be less work to continue as normal, i.e. with no changes, until 01 April 2018. We recommend adding a note to your documentation or Terms & Conditions advising that taxes will be changing from 01 April which will show on documentation after the 01 April. From 01 April 2018 invoice everything that should raise 14% tax i.e. where the invoice date is prior to 01 April.

The next step is to change all your affected room rate components, across all your rate types and future periods, from 14% tax to 15%. If you have a high volume of rates, ResRequest can help as we have a tool capable of making wide changes to rates. Contact us if you have a high volume of rates that are impractical to edit, we’ll quote you for our time and project management for this data change. If you’d prefer to make the change from the front-end, review our Rates Guides for a refresher on rates setup.

The next step is to regenerate all bookings where the new tax and / or amount will be applied, review our Regenerate Folios Guides for help.

4.2 If you plan to change some or all of your rate amounts, edit your rate periods. Next add new rates – it’s recommended you clone the rate using the Copy / Add rates function. Once you have created the cloned rates for the new period, edit them to apply the 15% rate and any rate amount adjustments required.

If you have a high volume of rates ResRequest can help automate rate amount changes using a tool that can change all amounts by a specified percentage or fixed amount.

Next remember to change all affected future bookings to use the newly created rate types. Changing the rate type will automatically recalculate the room rate.

Remember to explain to your staff what the different rate names are and under which conditions to use them.

 

5. Update your online platforms

Remember to update your online platforms if you’re working with channels managers and to notify your business partners of the changes.

 

6. Deactivate obsolete rates

At relevant dates deactivate old Extras and Room rates as they become obsolete.

 

If you are a South African customer and you are struggling to come to terms with your decisions and operational changes, please contact our Call Centre for a chat on how best to setup your strategy.

Stop it spamming

Written by Richard Howes

Email remains a vital part of running our businesses with worldwide email volumes now fairly steady at around 495 billion emails per day!

 

A more problematic statistic is that 422 billion of those emails are SPAM, leaving just 73 billion legitimate emails. In other words, over 85% of email is SPAM. With the average office worker receiving 121 email per day, managing SPAM is crucial to email efficiency but also to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of phishing and other criminal activity.

 

Filtering SPAM has become very sophisticated as a result, but not perfect. That is because the way SPAM is differentiated from legitimate email is by ‘scoring’ email based on several criteria. This includes language used, mention of financial information, whether there are attachments, and other characteristics.

 

ResRequest and the travel industry by nature produce a lot of emails with attachments and financial information that need to be sent to the public as well as agents. This means that we can run foul of SPAM detection algorithms which flag legitimate emails from a ResRequest client system as SPAM.

 

Here are some things which make deliverability more difficult:

 

  1. Reservation numbers in the subject line.
  2. Capitals being used to catch attention.
  3. Attachments being sent in the emails.
  4. Sending emails on behalf of our clients’ domains rather than our own.

 

SPAM senders spend an inordinate amount of time working to defeat SPAM detection. If SPAM detection was completely effective SPAM’ers would not be sending out 422 billion emails per day. Any attempt to completely eliminate SPAM will inevitably also catch some legitimate email.

 

There are strategies to mitigate the risk of legitimate ResRequest emails being flagged as SPAM, however, none are perfect or foolproof. One strategy we have employed is to get our clients to implement SPF and DKIM records for their domains. SPF and DKIM records flag email servers as legitimate servers that do not send out SPAM. Unfortunately, these strategies are not yet universally employed but are being increasingly used to mitigate against SPAM.

 

Another solution is whitelisting. This, as the name would suggest, is the opposite of blacklisting. This is where the recipient of emails from a known domain lists that domain as ‘safe’ by whitelisting it. All email from that domain bypasses any SPAM filtering and is flagged as legitimate by default.

 

Currently, we use ElasticEmail as our cloud hosted email relay with an IP of 216.169.98.151. Any recipient whitelisting this address will always receive ResRequest email. When encountering agents or other recipients that are experiencing deliverability problems, please request that they whitelist the IP address above.

 

The challenge is that these mitigation steps are required to be undertaken by the email recipients. ResRequest actively encourages the use of whitelisting and SPF/DKIM records and is ready and able to assist with implementing these strategies.  

 

Another potential challenge is that because ResRequest sends out email on behalf of our clients, some email applications reply to the sending server address instead of the client email address. This is also as a consequence of risk mitigation by these applications where they are ensuring recipients are aware the email is sent from a third party, in this case, ResRequest, and not from the addressee in the “From:” field.

 

If you are experiencing this problem then please email support@resrequest.com and request assistance on SPF and DKIM records. Our technical team have setup a process to assist your IT company (the company who manages your domain) with setting up SPF/DKIM records and whitelisting ResRequest domains.

 

SPAM can cause massive frustrations as it is often unclear where the problem resides. We hope that this information will assist in making email management simpler and more reliable, and reduce (via SPF/DKIM) or eliminate (via whitelisting) the frequency of legitimate emails being flagged as SPAM.

 

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Increase your online sales

Imagine working with an online travel agent who understands how African lodges work. Someone who specialises in attracting customers who want your African experience. Someone who understands how your transfers and extras work and who can sell your beds, without you having to do anything!

Many of Africa’s top booking agents and safari specialists are investing in development to be able to link to ResRequest via our ResConnect product. Allowing them to easily check availability, quote accurately, and even book – saving the guest, agent and lodge time.

As a FREE business to business interface, ResConnect enables remote lodges to have a greater online presence and increase their sales by having real time inventory available for their agents. This is a safe and hassle-free way to streamline agent business whilst having full control of the shared information.

If you have any questions or want to know the next steps to getting connected, please contact us on: support@resrequest.com.

See what our connection partners have to say!

At Expert Africa we breathe a sigh of relief when one of our lodges moves to ResRequest. We know it’s a reliable platform, we know it’ll work well even when comms are challenging, and we know that we’ll easily be able to access their availability information through ResConnect – which speeds up our business of sending travellers to them on tailor-made itineraries.

-Chris McIntyre, Managing Director, Expert Africa

Our travellers can get all the safari lodge information they need in one place, from wide screen photos to number of beds, map location, Trip Advisor reviews, amenities, as well as availability which ResConnect provides dynamically.

-David Tett, President, Bushtracks Expeditions

ResConnect allows us to provide our African Safari Experts with access live availability and rates information – This enables them to instantly engage with travellers and rapidly develop and dispatch available and accurately costed itineraries 24/7/365.

-Joanne Dickson, CEO, Go2Africa

“ResConnect is going to allow us to make our booking process for lodges much more efficient”

-Johnny Prince, CEO, Timbuktu Travel

Timbuktu Travel is an online platform empowering people to easily discover and book hand-picked safaris across Africa.

followme2AFRICA is happy to partner with ResRequest to provide their clients with a seamless online booking platform. The integration will allow our clients access to rates and availability, ensuring maximum sales penetration as well as an easier way to transact. The integration will ensure reduced time for the booking process, a key requirement across their client-base.

The channel allows our clients to now access far more room stock as well as offers real time ability to up-sell on accommodation. This is a proven method to increase revenue for both our contracted suppliers as well as the company itself.”

-Tony Brink, General Manager & Head of Product of followme2AFRICA

Our continual partnership with important channel distribution platforms such as ResRequest reiterates our commitment to offering our clients the best service, platform connectivity, and booking efficiency as possible”.

– Rory Mathew, IT Manager of followme2AFRICA.

Africa Travel Resource is a travel company specialising in assisting travellers to create authentic and innovative trips to Africa.

We also connect to Wetu, Robert Mark Safaris, Wilderness Safaris, African Eagle, CAT-Africa, South African Golfing & Safari Tours, Enchanting Travels, African Ample Assistance, Abenteuer Afrika Safari, African Bush Camps, Africa Travel Group, Africa 220, Cedarberg Africa, Discover Africa Group, Elewana Travel Ltd, Gamewatchers Safaris, Highline Tours & Travel, Iluka Tourism Investments, Infinite Africa, Inspirations Travel & Tours, Jenman African Safaris, Ker & Downey Africa, Live the Journey, Maplanga Africa, Natural Selection Safaris, New Frontiers, Personal Africa Travel, Safari Destinations, Springbok Atlas – South Africa, Team DM UK, Tour d’Afrique, Travel Counsellors, Sandown Tours & Incentives, Sense of Africa, Tourvest Destination Management, Travel Wild Botswana, Uitkyk Holidays, Vintage Africa, Wild Africa Travel, XO Africa Travel and &BEYOND.

Next steps for lodges: Connections are quick and easy – just build a relationship with the agent you’d like to connect with. Set them up in ResRequest as an agent and user, then send a request to support@resrequest.com to link you up. Each connection is FREE – with a nominal once off setup fee.

ResRequest connections_logos

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!

 

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.