Your guests digital guide

 

Smartphone technology is advancing at incredible pace and you can do more and more with your device. Travellers now use their mobiles to book flights, accomodation and make travel plans.

 

HandiGo has further enhanced the travel experience by developing a new app to cater for the needs of guests when they  arrive at their destination.

 

Inspired by their founder’s increasing frustrations with language barriers that were inhibiting his hotel’s customer service, Pete Poolsawad decided to make a change. His vision was for a simple and effective way for hotels to engage with guests using the latest technology.

 

HandiGo, is a digital pocket concierge, catering to all a hotel’s services and facilities, all at guest’s fingertips anytime, anywhere. An internet connection and their mobile phone is all that a guest requires to use this this service.

 

What does the app offer?

 

Information and photos

Using HandiGo, guests can learn about nearby attractions or get information about game reserves without needing to carry around guidebooks to ask lodge staff, thus reducing the workload of the staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Menu highlights 

Guests can access in-house menus and order room service directly from their phone and lodges can gather information about their guests’ preferences.

 

 

Booking forms

Guests can book tours, activities and facilities instantly on the application (i.e. Room Service, Spa Reservations etc.) making it easy for guests to arrange and purchase services and also for lodges to upsell.

 

Live chat

Manage language barriers between guests and lodge staff with this feature that automatically translates conversations, where everyone can chat in their mother tongue.

 

Voice calls

The roaming costs of using the phone networks in foreign countries can be an unnecessary costly expense for tourists. HandiGo provides a free two-way calling tool for guests and staff to talk for free.

 

Broadcast notifications

Contact all guests directly or individually with promotions or urgent messages. You can even contact them in their own language.

 

Review scores

Pick and choose which guests you send review prompts to as they check out and link these reviews to your preferred hotel rating websites such as Tripadvisor.

 

As app downloads increase year-on-year and the digitalisation of all industries continues, lodges will have to join the trend to keep on top of their guests’ travel expectations and HandiGo is one way to do this.

 

If you’d like to trial this product, scan the QR code below to download the app then scan the code with the app for a demo.

 

HandiGo is offering ResRequest customers an exclusive promotional rate of $99 USD per month, before December 31st 2018.

Get in touch with Ben at HandiGo if you’d like to take up this offer and give it a go!

Millennial travel

 

 

You’ve seen them. You’ve heard about them. You’ve read about them. A group of people, probably in their early twenties to mid thirties, all with a mobile phone in hand and busy trying to get the perfect photo or selfie. These people are probably what society would term millennials, people aged between 18 and 37, and they are becoming increasingly significant as the fastest growing travel market globally.

 

This new and expanding market is influencing the travel industry in many ways. Let’s explore some of these trends.

 

Apps

App downloads are on the rise and are a particularly popular choice for millennials when travelling to a new city. Apps such as Google Maps provide real-time guided navigation and is free to download.

 

Social media counts

Social media drives the millennial’s travel choices and is a large part of their experience while on holiday. Make sure your social media efforts reflect the strongest points of your destination, especially any special features of your property or your services, which will stand out to followers and their sphere of influence. Millennials like to express their identity through travel so unique experiences will draw their attention.

 

Specialised travel

Millennials also like travel experiences that cater to specific interests such as yoga or hiking. They want to be able to tailor their trips to their interests and create a personalised travel trip. Adventure travel is also growing in popularity for this reason. It offers a trip focused on a particular activity.

 

Online

Millennials are online for the majority of the day and the internet is their go-two option for researching, communication and purchasing. Millennials use the internet for booking flights and accommodation and the industry will need to move a lot of their services online.

 

Since Millennials are an ever-growing market it’s increasingly important for industries to cater for their preferences. Are you keeping up with the demands of the markets that you target? How do these trends affect your business and how you strategically market your product? We hope this article has helped provide some clarity on how you can do this.

Read more Forbes

 

Top travel trends

 

The hospitality industry has changed rapidly over the past few years, largely due to the increasing digitisation of all aspects of life. Let’s look at some of the trends these changes are bringing to the industry.

 

Data-driven

Data is all the information you can collect about a person or activity. Data analytics uses all this information to show trends, forecasts and build reports. Hotels and lodges are starting to collect this data on their guests, potential guests and the preferences of both so they can offer a tailored service and more personalised approach. For example, you can use data analytics to personalise your summer sales campaigns to target guests who like to travel in summer. This more personalised campaign is more likely to get a positive response.

 

Tech

Technology is driving the trends in most industries, and the hospitality one is no different. From apps on your phone to unlock your room door to choosing your own entertainment, lighting, meals and pillows from your phone! Hotel management is also shifting to cloud-based services and reducing the number of IT experts needed. Customer service has also gone online and allowing real-time feedback is far more important to management than hearing about complaints weeks after the guest has left. Collecting all the customer service feedback into a single space accessible by all staff is also part of tech’s influence on the industry.

 

Millennial

The millennial market (people aged between 18-34) is a fast-growing travel market. They are tech savvy, like personalised services and flexibility. Hotels and lodges that offer a seamless check-in using a mobile, or offer gourmet ‘Instagram’ meals and a fast wifi will be top of the list for most millenials!

 

Wellness

Health and wellness is another trend that is impacting multiple industries. Guests are increasingly more health-conscious and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle while travelling. Thus the need for gyms, in-room equipment, healthy food options and spas are becoming a standard requirement for many hotels and lodges.

 

Environment

The green trend is growing globally and more and more guests are aware of the negative environmental impact that travelling has and want to offset some of that where they can by choosing environmentally friendly places to stay. Hotels and lodges that recycle water, grow their own produce, use solar energy and energy efficient lighting are some of the features that guests are looking for.

 

Quirkiness

Standard, chain-type of hotels and lodges will find themselves behind the trend if they offer the same experience whichever location one visits. Guests like hotels and lodges to have quirky/unique touches such as themed bathrooms or roomed names. This can extend into the personalization discussed under data, such as providing custom music lists.  

 

These are just some of the emerging trends changing the hospitality industry. If you have experienced something new or interesting on your travels, comment below and let us know! You could be on to a new trend!

 

References

Bizcommunity

Site-minder

Kilifair 2018

 

Kilifair 2018 was the next trade show on our sales and marketing agenda and Ntando made his way to the show for the second time.

 

Kilifair was held in Moshi, Tanzania at the Ushirika Sports Stadium, an outdoor venue, and as luck would have it, it started to rain just as the show started and, while rain is a blessing in African culture, it did mean getting wet whilst queuing to get in. Luckily the rain didn’t last long and the sun came out to dry out everyone out and shine on the show but it was a mixed blessing as some of the exhibitors decided that it was now too hot and left the show, so appointments had to be rescheduled.

 

Ntando was registered as an international buyer and enjoyed the complimentary coffee in the buyers’ lounge and respite from the baking sun. While cooling off inside, a passerby mentioned that the organisers should host the show in winter and Ntando pointed out that it was in fact already winter!

 

On the evening of the first day, Ntando attended the Kilifair networking event at the Ameg Lodge in Moshi. It took awhile for the event to get started as people arrived slowly but it turned out to be a fun event and he met new people which led onto the next day being filled with more meetings with prospective customers.

 

He returned exhausted but happy to bring back news of a new client and a host of new experiences, including some of his airport drama stories!

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.

 

Around the world at WTM

It was that time of the year again and time for WTM Africa 2018 in Cape Town. As has become tradition, Natasha and Ntando took our ‘Flavour your day’ mints, brochures and ResRover, our newly appointed mascot.

On arrival in Cape Town, it was clear that they were no longer in Durban. The chilly Cape weather greeted them and Ntando realised that he hadn’t packed enough warm clothes! Driving to the hotel in Cape Town became a tour of the city as finding the hotel was more complicated than anticipated, and with the hotel tucked away in a small lane, walking there was the best way to reach it!

WTM Africa runs for three days and attracts some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry. Our Sales & Marketing team wore their boldly branded shirts ensuring that they could always be found! They thoroughly enjoyed the show with plenty of people to chat to and met up with some great prospective customers and our technology partners, Wetu, Expedia and Tourplan. It was a full 3 days of talking and meeting friendly travel professionals. Meeting up with our customers at these travel trade shows is a great way to check in with them and to put some names to faces. They found the exhibitors to be very hospitable and open to business opportunities. On the first day, certain exhibitors hosted festivals on their stands – sharing local flavours and showing off their hospitality skills. This created a fun and festive vibe of music, traditional dancing and tasty titbits.

ResRover stole the spotlight with clients oohing and aahing over him but we had even more to share as we recently launched our ResInsite product. A business intelligence platform created by ResRequest and Pomerol Partners. Our customers were excited to chat about how using this tool can help them make better business decisions.

 

Overall the show was a fantastic event to meet with clients, especially the very new clients like Serengeti Acacia Camps and Kenzan Luxury Mobile Camps who have recently implemented ResRequest. It was also great seeing clients who have been using ResRequest for a long time and to share with them about ResInsite.

The ResRequest team love having the opportunity to visit the Mother City – even if there isn’t time to enjoy all that the city has to offer and despite the water shortage, Cape Town never ceases to disappoint. Even rush hour traffic around the mountain can’t even dampen your spirits. Luckily the next time that we get to visit is just a few weeks away – for FUSE, We Are Africa’s Un-Conference.

 

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.

 

ResRover goes to Uganda

 

ResRover’s latest journey was to the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo organised by the Uganda Tourism Board. We went to explore with the aim of increasing our footprint in far-flung Uganda. ResRover was already on his debut tour to Tanzania with Mike but luckily Ntando was able to pick him up between flights, to take him to Kampala.

(ResRover switching flights from Tanzania to Uganda)

Excited to experience a new country, Ntando was impressed by the expanse and beauty of Lake Victoria when approaching Entebbe International Airport. It had been a long trip to get to Uganda and the journey wasn’t over upon arrival. It turned out that the drive to Kampala felt almost as long as the taxi battled through Kampala’s notorious peak hour nighttime traffic!

(Photo: Kampala Express)

 

Although there was no time for sightseeing, Ntando was impressed with Kampala from what he saw from the taxi. He wouldn’t mind going back to experience what the rest of the country has to offer and pencilled in gorilla trekking and visiting Murchison Falls for the next visit.

 

Friday was the start of the expo but due to ‘Africa time’ fashion, it only got going around mid morning as the exhibitors were still setting up when he arrived to visit the show. The expo was opened by the Ugandan Minister of Tourism and then it was time to get down to business!  

Ntando visited stands and came across a few exhibitors who fit ResRequest’s profile of properties. There were also a number of travel agents who could benefit from ResConnect. He was happy to see Wild Frontiers exhibiting, and to hear them say how much they enjoy using ResRequest.

 

(Wild Frontiers at the expo)

 

Overall, although the expo was small, Ntando felt it was still worthwhile to represent the ResRequest brand in Uganda – and to also get a few more passport stamps for ResRover! Next stop Zambia and Cape Town.

 

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.

 

 

 

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!