what’s new in version 7.30?

We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well during this time. We’ve been in touch with many of you as you work through the operational impact of Covid-19 while making plans for your team to be safe and sound. 

While most of us are still under lockdown due to COVID-19, we have been working from home. It took us a while to adapt and reduce costs so we could use this time to put our heads down to take massive strides in delivering new product features. We’re still working on all of this, but we wanted to check in with you to show you some of the items we are working on that will be ready and waiting for you when you reboot.

The New Rooming Calendar

We have crafted a new drag and drop Rooming Calendar for you, with auto room capabilities, perfect for your front-of-house operations.

What is rooming?

Rooming refers to allocating your guests to specific rooms. It’s important to room guests to track arrivals, departures or no shows; to avoid situations where you have to move guests to a different room during their stay; ensure that special requests like a honeymoon room or a family room are accommodated and to automatically charge guest accounts using our stock and POS interface.

So what are the new features in the Rooming Calendar?

Rooming by the lodge staff is typically managed on the Rooming Calendar. Our previous calendar now called our “Classic” calendar, requires a lot of pop-ups and quite a bit of manual work to room bookings. Our stunning new calendar, which we call our “Modern” calendar fits visuals to your full-screen width, so you can see more information than ever before; automatically auto rooms reservations at the click of a button (our absolute favourite Jenga trick) and enables drag and drop should, you want to customise the view.

Autoroom function in action

AUTO ROOM – Automatically room your unallocated reservations in the optimal configuration, to ensure that you get the most out of your availability.

Drag and drop function in action

DRAG AND DROP – Shuffle a reservation between rooms by simply dragging and dropping it to the relevant room. Clicking on a reservation item also highlights the valid rooming possibilities in green.

Managing a reservation

MANAGE A RESERVATION – Manage multiple aspects of a reservation without leaving the rooming calendar screen. Manage guests, view itineraries, check multiple rooms on a reservation in, and so much more.

Managing a reservation

ROOMING CONFLICTS – Our team has included an indication to alert users of any potential rooming conflicts. This will minimise the risk of overbooking a room, despite multiple people being responsible for rooming reservations.


Business Intelligence – Dashboards

We all love great pictures, even more, when they tell a story. If your job is to stay on top of everything, you’ll love our new Reservation Manager and Sales Overview Dashboard. The Reservation Manager and Sales Overview Dashboard are the first of many dashboards we’ll be introducing. Graphs on this dashboard will give you visibility into the reservation and sales overview side of your business. The sales dashboard will help measure key metrics, individual team members, and sales activities.

 Learn more about dashboards here.

Our new charts will help you analyse the booking trends of your Agents and quickly spot gaps and positive or negative changes in their performance.

You spoke and we listened 

Last year we released dashboards as part of our Agent CRM. We received feedback that you would like to include revenue information, our developers heard you, and have added a revenue-based chart so you can monitor how your agents are performing month-on-month.

Product Usage

ResRequest is a powerful system, so how can you be sure that you are using it to its full potential?

The Product Usage Dashboard is a quick and easy reference point, to assess what areas of the system are being used and what you can still tap into.

If you need any assistance or guidance with the rooming calendar and dashboards, please contact support@resrequest.com

FAQ: Managing Covid in ResRequest

Who would have thought that at the beginning of this year our lives will look so different in a few short months? There is no doubt that COVID-19 has reshaped the way we work – especially in tourism. At ResRequest we noticed some trends amongst our clients with booking management during COVID, so we would like to share them with you! As we’re well aware, everyone manages their bookings differently, so we had our Support team on hand to customise this process, as the questions came in. Here are some of the FAQ’s we received:


“How can I use the Source Codes field to track COVID reservations, without affecting the reservation status?”

Source codes enable you to keep track of where your bookings are coming from. However, some customers have opted to keep track of COVID affected bookings using this field, as it can easily be reported on. 

Our recommendation is to create 3 source codes:

  • COVID – Cancelled: Where bookings are cancelled outright.
  • COVID – Postponed: Where bookings are moved to a date in the future.
  • COVID – Pending: Where bookings are awaiting confirmation of date change or cancellation.

To set up, edit or delete source codes navigate to Admin > Setup > Code tables > Other > Source > enter the Name and Abbreviation > Click save.


“I feel the need for an additional reservation status, to separate reservations held aside due to COVID postponements, from standard reservations”

Requests came in for a new reservation status, where bookings could be ‘held’ until the bookings were confirmed with new travel dates or cancelled by the agent or guest.

For this, we recommended using the ‘Waitlist’ status. This way you can report on actual confirmed stock for forward bookings and note stock still pending confirmation. By coupling this with a Covid status, teams can differentiate between bookings that are waitlist and those that are Covid-related ‘on hold’ bookings.

See: COVID 19 – Reports – Waitlist reporting


“How can I easily track COVID-affected reservations using reports?”

Our new ‘Keyword’ reporting filter is ideal to track booking movements around COVID.

On the Financial Analysis reports, the new field called ‘Keyword Filters’ can be found nestled with the rest of the Res Filters. This can be utilised to filter keywords found in the Reservation name, Reservation number, Voucher reference or Cancel Reason. ie. #coronavirus

Navigate to Reports > Financials > Financial analysis (day)

Here’s a practical example: You may opt to reference a keyword in the reservation name, for all reservations that are postponed to a later date due to COVID. In this instance, you’d include the same reference on all reservation names.

Should you, for example, choose to use “COVID” as your keyword/flag, a reservation name would appear as “Smith x2 COVID”. You’d then enter “COVID” in the Keyword filter field on the report, to view all bookings with “COVID” in the reservation name.


“What if I want to honour the rate the reservation was originally booked with, even if the reservation is postponed to next year?”

Some of our customers had already finalised their 2021 rates prior to COVID-19 hitting, which resulted in the 2021 rates being applied when allocating new travel dates to the postponed COVID reservations, instead of the 2020 rates. To honour the 2020 rate in 2021, you would need a “deferred rate”.  Simply put, a deferred rate is a 2020 rate duplicated to ‘Deferred rate’ types for 2021.

Override rates are also an option to override rates for 2021, where rates had already been finalised for 2021, or rates had not been set up for 2021 yet.


“Are there other areas I should consider?”

Many hotels acted quickly, changing Payment plans, cancellation policies, and booking terms and conditions in Custom notes,  to better handle and adapt quickly to the changing market.


“How can I see the impact COVID has had on my business?”

Some of our customers asked for a snapshot of what their stock looked like this time last year, to compare data between 2019 and 2020. This type of statistical data will give you invaluable insight into the true effects that COVID has had, and assist you to project your cash flow for when tourism reboots.ResInsite is a business intelligence tool which can generate comparison data, beautifully! Find out more about ResInsite and how it can benefit your business HERE. You will also be happy to know that all ResRequest customers have access to a FREE ResInsite Lite package, for the duration of 2020.

You will also be able to retrieve year on year comparisons in graph format, at the touch of a button! (Available in our new version release (V7.30). Have a look at our Sales Overview chart.


“I need to refund cancelled reservations. Where do I start?”

Issuing credits, credit notes, and refunds quickly became one of the most commonly talked about topics, with the questions streaming in!

It’s important that the way credits and refunds are done are in line with your specific financial processes.

Contact our support team who will happily point you in the right direction.


“How can I keep track of both existing reservation dates, and potential future dates for the same booking, until travel dates are confirmed?”

A few of our customers opted to duplicate their reservations to hold stock for both present and future dates. This is in order to secure both sets of dates until they know when the guests can book flights.

Although this is being done by a few, it’s important to note that managing the reservations in this way will inflate your bed night revenue stats, as you’re basically doubling up.


“Is there a way I can keep an ‘archive’ of reservations cancelled due to COVID, but separate from actual cancelled reservations?”

The ‘Delete’ status is not exactly an option to select under the status’ dropdown, but it is a status that can be used for reservations with no payments, and can also be reported on.

To achieve this navigate to the reservation > change the status of the reservation to ‘Quotation’ > and click the bin button to obtain the ‘Deleted’ status:

Why would you work this way? It’s another status option when trying to apply a “filing system” to manage your reservations affected by COVID.


Reports

Another common topic is – reports. We have listed a few report templates that could be insightful and of use, but it is almost guaranteed that they will need a few tweaks to suit your unique reporting requirements.

1. Waitlist reporting

This is a quick way to view the list of Waitlist bookings. Remember, you can also retrieve this info, and more, using your Financial Analysis, or Standard Reservation reports.

Navigate to the Waitlist icon > Select Waitlists >

2. Reservation status change report:

This report will display reservations where the status of the reservation was changed, over a particular date range. For example, you could use this report to see all reservations travelling in 2021, which had a status change between Jan and May 2020.

To generate this report in your system, you would follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Reports > Financials > Financial Analysis (day)  
  2. Select the Travel date range you wish to view
  3. Res filters > Status date range – Select the status date range you wish to view and apply the date range.
  4. Res filters > Status: Confirmed, cancelled and provisional 
  5. Select data > Group: add Res#, Source, status confirm date, status Provisional date, Status Cancellation date, cancellation reason
  6. Select data > Fields: add arrival and departure date
  7. Display options: Select Include group totals

3. Reservation travel date changed:

This report will display every reservation edited between April and May and will, furthermore, show if the arrival date changed between those dates:

1. Report Audit trail 

2. Reports > Audit > Audit trail

3. Audit trail time: 1 April and 31 May

4. Action: Edited

5. Data options > Fields: Reservation number arrival date before and arrival date after

4. COVID Source code reservations

This report will show you all reservations with the “COVID” source code and what the arrival and departure dates for those reservations are:

Navigate to Reports> Financials > Financial Analysis (day) 

1. Select the Travel date range: 1 Jan 2020 – 31 Dec 2022

2. Res filters > Status: All

3. Res filter > Source: e.g COVID 19

4. Select data > Group: add Reservation number, status, source code, and cancellation reason

5. Select data > Fields: add arrival date and departure date

6. Display options: Select Include period totals

5. Reservations with Payments/deposits


This report will display payments and the total amount outstanding on all reservations with a COVID source code:

Navigate to Reports> Financials > Financial Analysis (day)

1. Select the Travel date range: E.g. 1 April and 31 May

2. Res filters > Status: Select which status’ you would like to include

3. Res filters> Source: Select you source code you require e.g COVID-19

4. Select data > Group: Add Agent, Reservation#

5. Select data > Fields: Add Payment and Total amount outstanding

6. Display options: Select Include period totals

If you’d like some guidance, our support team will happily set up report profiles for you or walk you through setting them up yourself, over a call. Feel free to contact us with any queries you or your team might have. We are here and ready to assist.

Business intelligence made easy with ResRequest charts

You may wonder what business intelligence is and what it involves. According to Forbes – business intelligence encompasses the analysis of a company’s raw data and analytics, to produce actionable takeaways. Data analysed might include current sales figures, customer shopping habits or operations costs. With more data on hand, business intelligence has become critical to making informed business decisions and can be utilised as a key component in forming predictive analyses.

Business intelligence involves the delivery and integration of relevant business information in an organization. Companies use BI to detect significant events and identify/monitor business trends in order to adapt quickly to their changing environment and a scenario. You can improve the decision-making processes at all levels of management and improve your tactical strategic management processes.

ResRequest’s reporting capabilities set us apart from most other systems, but it is an area that is under-utilised. Why not find out about what you may be missing out on? Contact a consultant and ask them to help build and save a report that you are looking for.


This graph shows how many bookings an agent made in a specific date range (week/month/year) and compares it to the previous period.

To easily analyse customer data we have enhanced our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module to display charts. Using this nifty feature you can review trends at a glance. This process forms a key part of the sales and service cycle of your customer management strategy.


Agent booking trends over a period of time, ie: 1 year.

Agent booking bed night activity at different times
of the year across multiple properties.

If you have been diligent at entering your Agent’s details into ResRequest you will quickly accumulate a honey pot of data. Analyse your agents’ performance to quickly see which agents are bringing the most bookings, guests by nationality, agents activity and more!

Take advantage of these tools to gain a better understanding of your agents’ performance and your customers. If you would like to learn more about using the CRM module please reach out to our team who are standing by to assist you.

Keep it clean

In computer science, garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) describes the concept that flawed, or messy input data produces poor, unrecognisable output or “garbage”.

 

Essentially, a system is only as good as the data you put into it. This may seem like a basic principle, but if not followed, it can be a massive exercise to try and clean up the data in your system at a later stage.

 

From ResRequest’s perspective, “garbage data” can be found in areas such as duplicate contacts, reservations info and poor housekeeping of agent/guest CRM etc. The “garbage data” becomes very apparent when you want to start reporting on this information. If the data being inserted into the system is not “clean”, you will not be happy with the results when you try and use the data.

 

Here’s an example of data that was not maintained well, on a Standard Reservations Report, compared to managed clean data:

     VS

 

 

 

 

Why would you want to keep the data in the same format?

Not only will your reports look so much better, searching for reservations in your system will be so much easier if the information follows the same format.

 

Let’s compare how a well-maintained guest contact record compares to an incomplete one on a Guest CRM report:

If you decide to run a mail campaign, to target guests from the USA, the guests who don’t have this info attached to their contact would be left out of the campaign so you would lose potential business due to the information not reaching the right people.

 

Overall, the benefits of inputting and maintaining neat data in your system are so worthwhile and will save you a lot of time in future!

 

What tools are available in ResRequest to help keep your data clean?

Replace contact: Deleting contacts isn’t so simple once the contact has been used on a reservation so we’ve given you the functionality to replace a contact with another contact. This means that all the relevant links (for reservations and financial folios) of the replaced contact will transfer to the remaining contact.

Duplicate contact check: When adding a new contact to your system, ResRequest prompts you to check if the contact you’re adding is a duplicate of an existing contact. For example, when inserting the name “John” while adding a new contact, the ResRequest system will display all existing contacts’ named “John”, so the user can determine if it is an existing contact or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although it would be great for the system to prompt you in all areas where data is inserted, at the end of the day, you are the owner of your data and it is up to you to keep the data in your system in good order.

Are you connected to your buyers?

Connecting to your key agents electronically will ensure you never miss out on valuable bookings. Tour operators use a host of software systems to stay on top of technology trends. Online bookings are one of the fastest growing trends.

ResRequest interfaces to a number of tour operating systems enabling, tour operators to book ResRequest properties when permission is granted. Recently we added to our channel partners and integrated to GranIT Safari.

GranIT Safari Software (GSS) is a specialist safari software product that manages tour operators’ business processes. The system has the ability to handle groups, F.I.T’s, packages, Fly-Drive packages and is currently being used by over 50 tour operators primarily in East Africa and Madagascar. It is available in English and French.

“With Safari Software we’ve reduced our response times to as little as 10 minutes.” Nilima Chandran – Naked Wilderness

Agents using GranIT Safari include Leopard Tours, Liberty Africa Safaris, African Horizons, Kobo Safaris, Utalii College and many more.

“It’s user-friendly, yet complex enough to deliver optimum options and endless possibilities.” Tomas Sorensen – African Horizons

GranIT Solutions’ partnership with ResRequest comprehensively links both the GSS and ResRequest software to be able to check room availability and book rooms in real time at the click of a button. Room availability can be checked at the quotation and tour levels. This ensures that the rooms booked on the itinerary are actually available.

“This software is the only one that does what we need without making us change our operating procedures to suit the software.” Richard Corcoran – Liberty Africa

Looking good with GuestRevu

GuestRevu helps thousands of hospitality professionals in over 35 countries spend less time stuck behind their desks by automatically collecting online reviews from dozens of sites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com, emailing questionnaires to guests so they can provide valuable direct feedback, and consolidating data to make analysing trends a piece of cake. Listen to your guests, learn from their experiences, and earn their custom and loyalty.

The best part of direct feedback is that you have a chance to resolve any potentially harmful situations before they become reviews on public platforms. By providing your guests with the opportunity to address concerns with you directly, they will often feel that their feedback is being taken to heart, and feel less inclined to vent on social platforms like Facebook and TripAdvisor. Another great benefit is that you can fix problems when you get direct feedback. As they say — prevention is better than cure.

GuestRevu’s partnership with ResRequest PMS makes this process even simpler by automating the feedback collection process, meaning that you’re able to automatically send custom-made surveys once a guest checks out, no manual effort required.

How does it work?
Save time and know what your guests are saying about you publicly by having all your online reviews collected and analysed in your GuestRevu dashboard.

Our integration to GuestRevu is automated so all you need to do is add your guests and their email addresses in ResRequest and GuestRevu will do the rest. For more info on this marketing tool, see our Guest Survey guide.

So what’s the deal?

Instead of adhering to the standard pricing structure, where you’re charged based on the size of your property, GuestRevu is offering an amazing flat rate of R350p/m for all ResRequest properties. That’s an average saving of around R200p/m! 

Not only that, but both GuestRevu and ResRequest will waive their setup and integration fees – that’s another saving of around R1,000!  

Managing your online reputation and gathering golden guest insights has never been easier, or more affordable. Sound good? 

Sign up with GuestRevu here and GuestRevu and ResRequest consultants will be in touch to get you set up.

New scam alert!

Scamming is becoming increasingly sophisticated and so have to be more alert and find out how we protect ourselves.

 

Beware of the latest scam

 

One of the newest ways that scammers are targeting people is to intercept invoices, edit banking details and send it to “customers” for payment. Recipients of the emails think it is legitimate and pay the money into the scammer’s account.

 

How can you prevent this happening to you?

 

Investec recently published an article on this kind of fraud with tips on how to protect yourself.                   

 

  • Let your current and new clients know that if they even receive any correspondence announcing a change in bank details, advise them to contact you and verify you are banking details before they pay.

 

  • You can also consider leaving your bank details off your invoices and call clients to give them this information instead.

 

  • If you are an individual who is supplying banking details, do not email invoices with bank details. Rather give your banking information directly over the telephone.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. What is a phishing email and how to spot it?
  • Setup checks on your email like two factor login verification.

 

We hope that this information is helpful and will be useful in protecting yourself against scammers.

Pay with Pesapal

How often do you use your credit card to pay? Most people use their card to pay for almost all transactions, however, many remote locations to do have access to card machines.

Pesapal, is a mobile point of pay system which started in Kenya and today operates in Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ResRequest has recently partnered with Pesapal to allow ResRequest properties the opportunity to process credit card payments through this gateway, regardless of their location or the type of credit card. Pesapal accepts mobile money (M-Pesa, Tigo Pesa, Airtel Money) and Visa and MasterCard, American Express debit and credit cards and has the the ability to process payments in USD as well 15 other African currencies including the Kenya Shilling (KES)  and the South African Rand (ZAR). Pesapal also lowers the cost of collecting money for businesses by offering an easily accessible, reliable and cost effective way of collecting money via mobile money or debit and credit cards and remitting directly to their banks accounts.

ResRequest properties’ using the Pesapal integration will now be able to offer international and local guests credit card payment option and save them the hassle of having to carry local currency.

Additionally, Pesapal also has a mobile point-of-sale system, Sabi, which will allow businesses to process payments onsite in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

For more info on how to use payment gateways, visit our Support site.

Navigating ResRequest like a pro

 

Are you a wizard on ResRequest? How many tricks do you know?

Many users are not always aware of all our handy features and top tips so we’ve highlighted a few of our snazzy features from frequently asked questions and noted some helpful hints from our support consultants.

Here are some of our most popular features. Are you using them?

Tips

 

1. Ops Chart

Our Ops chart is by far the most customisable and useful report for lodges to help with all parts of your operations on the ground.

Examples where teams will benefit the most from using the Ops Chart report are:

  • Logistics and transfers

Display logistical arrangements such as arrival and departure times of flights and which guests require transfers each day. Run this report every Sunday for the week ahead to streamline your planning.

  • Housekeeping

View which rooms are occupied or available per day and reference the internal notes for guest preferences or special arrangements for the room and what times the guests will be arriving or departing.

  • Kitchen team and catering

Generate a report for the kitchen crew to calculate how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners are required that day/week and how many adults and children to cater for.

  • Front of house (view which guests have paid, along with pax, res notes etc.)

This is really useful for the meet & greet team to know exactly who they are expecting, what nationality the guests are and how many people are in the group. The report can be set up to include special memos, such as a guest’s birthday so that the team can create an extra special experience for them.

These are just a few examples and there are many more possibilities. Get in touch with our team to help customise the chart to your liking.

Working with the Ops Chart: Here’s a tip

If you’re not interested in viewing rooming and just want to know basic details about which guests are arriving, their names or what extras have been booked, then deselect your Accommodation Chart in the report filter section.


2. Rooming calendar

The Rooming calendar is your hub for Property Management as most of the lodge processes are governed from here.

Navigate to the Rooming calendar through Property > Rooming Calendar or even set the Rooming calendar as your landing page.

Unallocated bookings

The Rooming calendar lists ‘Unallocated Reservations’ in a table below the calendar. These are bookings that have not been allocated rooms. Bookings that have been allocated to rooms are displayed as coloured blocks in the calendar in the row of the allocated room. As soon as new bookings are made they will automatically appear in the ‘Unallocated’ list. Each booking has a ‘Res Details’ option where you are able to have a quick view of the Guests contact details and the Financial information of the booking.

Functions

To activate any of the functionality, the bookings (either allocated or unallocated) must be selected (highlighted in green), the buttons in the tab above the calendar then become active for use on the selected reservation.

Reports

Within the Rooming calendar there are multiple day reports you are able to pull to help with daily logistics and planning at the property.

  • Day Sheet – Here you can see the breakdown of the Pax Analysis, Reservation Summary, Rooming Plan, Request and Extras for a particular day. This report may be used to track transfers too.
  • PAX Report – Here you can see a breakdown of how many guests are arriving, departing or in-house on a specific day.
  • Extras Report – Here you can see all Extras booked for that day. This report may be used to track transfers.
  • Arrival Folios Report – This report lists all folios of guests arriving on the selected day.
  • Departure Folios Report – This report lists all folios of guests departing on the selected day.

But wait, there’s more…We have a new and improved rooming calendar coming soon, so watch this space!


3. ResNova on mobile

ResNova is our booking widget which enables you to embed your ResRequest availability and rates anywhere on your website. It offers two formats so you can show your information in a calendar matrix or a quick search…or both! You have the option of just showing availability, or enabling bookings, and even linking up to a payment gateway to enable payments during the booking process. All of this is seamlessly integrated to your ResRequest system.

Mobile compatibility for ResNova is also now here! Whether your customer uses a mobile or desktop, booking your hotel is now super easy. Your ResNova widget will automatically adjust to your user’s device! PayGate can be used as a payment gateway for ResNova bookings.


Tricks

 

Do you have your special ResRequest tricks that you use all the time or a few quick shortcuts that make you a master of ResRequest? We’ve asked our support consultants for their top handy hints. How many of them do you already use?

1. Filter for email addresses

Add *@* to your Guest History report email filter to “find all your guests with email addresses, great for mailing lists.


2. Hide the financials from a Reservation Summary document

You can do this by using the document show/hide options if you want to use the document as a voucher for guests/agents.

 

This is what your Res Summary will look like with the Financial set to hide:

3. Insert keywords

Add keywords such as “lodge”, “safari, “luxury accommodation” into the Keywords field, on the Internet Marketing tab of your system defaults (Admin > Setup > Defaults) to increase your footprint on online searches.

4. Save time when creating large group bookings

By using the “different config” option, in your itinerary creation popup. You can add multiple combinations to a single itinerary, all from a single popup screen.

5. Narrow your search for contacts by using an *.

Example: You want to search for an agent with “African” in the name. Go to Contacts > Find contact > in the organization field, type in: *African*. You will then see a list of all the results, showing “African” in the name.

If you can’t get enough of these helpful tips, we have some more in our quick tips and tricks blog. Remember if you are ever stuck or need a hand, head over to our Learn Online support site available and our functional support call centre crew are only a request away.

We hope that these tips will save you time and help you get the most out of your ResRequest system!