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!

 

Catch up on Connections

If you missed our webinar on connections – we’ve written up this blog to share the details, Q&A and upload the presentation slides and audio recording. We have separated the presentation visuals and sound for ease of following due to the live technical glitches and delays. 

Presentation slides

Audio recording

The panel of speakers begins 15 minutes into the webinar.

15:00 Craig van Rooyen – Tour d’ Afrique

24:00 Erica Gardner – New Frontiers

33:00 Chris McIntyre – Expert Africa

46:00 Terri Boshoff – Wetu

52:00 Nicole Kanz – The Elewana Collection

1:00 Questions

 

In this webinar blog, we’ll introduce you to ResRequest’s online sales options and then focus on why connections are important to the trade. We spice things up even more when each of our panelists responds to questions we’ve put forward to them. Questions that address what makes connections so important to their business model.

We’ll start with the basics. The screen you’re looking at shows a room inventory on ResRequest’s availability calendar.

 

Your inventory is set up in ResRequest and adjusts as your team books, blocks or cancels bookings. This means ResRequest is your inventory hub and we see it as our responsibility to make sure that your sales partners can easily check your availability and rates, and make bookings.

 

 

When you implement an online sales strategy you should consider three target markets. They are:

  • Your direct customers who enjoy shopping on your website
  • Agents who would like to buy and sell your product and who prefer instant response rather than delayed communication with your res office
  • and mass market Online Travel Agents like Expedia and Booking.com who depend on online responsiveness

Direct bookings

Direct online customers are a priority for us. We are constantly upgrading our booking plugin, ResNova, and enhancing our booking form which are ideal tools for this sector. Our booking tool for direct customers gives your online guests the ability to book directly from your website. They get an instant response and result – which is what online shoppers expect.

 

OTAs

 

For Online Travel Agent sites, we support a connection to Expedia which is further extended to Hotel.com and Venere.com. Our connection to Booking.com is complete and currently in certification with them. We also support 100s of OTA platforms via channel managers.

 

But these are not the only agents who work with online programmes, traditional trade agents have extended their business models to include online bookings to ensure they’re able to capture guests searching on the internet. These agents specialise in different locations which makes holiday shopping a breeze for customers looking for an experienced-based trip. This is definitely a market you should be working with. And how can you work with this market?

 

Agent connections

 

One of the great features of ResRequest is that it is a cloud-hosted application. This means you can give your agent a login so they can check your inventory, rates and make bookings. It’s a manual connection but something you absolutely should make use of to support agents that work with manual or isolated systems.

 

But what about agents that do have an in-house software application? These agents don’t want to be routed to a manual login or re-routed to different web sites to find out rates, check availability or secure bookings. These agents have implemented in-house solutions to be competitive in the online space. To have that competitive edge, they need instant access to availability and rates for quick quoting and they need to be able to make a booking to close the sale before their customers go Googling. They need to bypass human interaction at the transaction level.

 

Many of these agents also extend their booking services to a web interface offering a B2B2C platform. This is to ensure they can service online shoppers, much like OTAs, but with their specialised knowledge and skills translated onto their website.

 

We generally see that agents with high volume profiles have automated in-house and online solutions.They do need to be a certified integration partner of ours for you to connect their system to your ResRequest system.

 

We have direct electronic connections to over 40 specialist agents and online travel agents and the list is growing…

 

So how do these connections work?

ResRequest connections

An API, which is an application program interface, is simply an interface that allows two systems to communicate with each other. So, with our API, and some custom development, we are able to connect your ResRequest system to your agent’s in-house system.

 

If you’re still asking yourself: “Why would my agents need an electronic connection?”

 

A reminder of the two strongest motivators: The first is that many specialist agents now incorporate an online sales model – so they can attract travellers 24 x 7, essentially competing with OTAs like Booking.com and Expedia. This model needs an automated booking engine in order to satisfy their online shopper. To support automation, connections are needed.


The second reason agents need connections is that some agents have implemented an in-house system to speed up their business processes. Their holy grail is fast quoting and sale closure. Implementing a connection between your ResRequest inventory, rates and bookings and these agent’s systems, generate sales for you more easily which means you keep doing business with them.

 

A question we’re often asked is: “Can I control what these “connections” can see and do in our system?” Absolutely! Each connection is linked to a user you create in ResRequest with controlled access.

 

Questions that we posed to our agent panelists:

  • What’s changed to make online sales more important?
  • Why do agents need to see availability, rates and make bookings?
  • What are the essential components for connections to work for you?
  • What frustrations do you have with the industry or technology?

 

Questions that we asked our customers – safari accommodation providers:

  • What impact has using API connections had on your business?
  • What would you say to other suppliers who are unsure about working with connections?

 

Questions that were asked during the session:

Q: How do you handle waitlist in your system?

A: Erica – Waitlisting is a challenge. We can hold a waitlist booking, however, we prefer to hold a confirmed reservation. It is also a manual process.

ResRequest – From a software perspective, an agent who makes a booking and exceeds the number of rooms available has to give a reason when holding the rooms. This will automatically be created as a Waitlist booking.

 

Please note: Even if ResRequest supports certain functionality in the API – the agent buyer who has done the development to their system may have opted out of some of the available functions as they do not require them for their business practice.

 

Q: Does it help to see ‘‘provisionals’?

A: Yes – it is very helpful for agents to see if provisionals are being held when they view your availability. This will encourage them to still consider your property rather that look somewhere else when your lodge appears full. They cannot see the actual booking details, only that provisionals are being held on the dates that are search for.

 

Q: How much would the operator see if they were given access?

A: You can fully control the access that you grant to an operator, ie: view / read only or create bookings / update. You can also limit the properties, room types and even the number of rooms at room type level. Also the rates that are only applicable to a specific agent can be shown.

 

Q: Is a email notification sent once a booking has been made by an agent?

A: It all depends on what development has been done. Our API has the information available for a notification to be generated however if an email notification is not set up then a ResRequest customer would only see incoming bookings via the Req Received button / report in their system.

 

Q: How do you deal with different rates for same rooms, i.e. International vs SADC?

A: Multiple rates can be assigned to an agent contact and toggled to select the correct rate for quoting or booking.

 

Craig – In Tourplan we always load our contracted rates first. If we don’t see the correct rate, then we sometimes need to query this – however if multiple rate categories are given ie: STO, RACK and BAR then we have more options to book the property. Please note: We can only hold confirmed bookings and cancel a booking in Tourplan. We do not see any Waitlists or Provisionals, so unless you are going to oversell your property and make more rooms available we are limited in what we can book. Bigger properties tend to oversell.

 

Q: Can you only look up the availability of a specific camp or supplier?  

A: Yes

 

Q: Is there any way to look up availability of a region and show results of multiple camps?

A: Not at this stage with this type of direct connection.

 

Q: Is there an API adaptor to get rates of the camp via ResRequest and upload these into a system like Tourplan?

A: We do support and send rates via ResConnect. Our Channel Manager and OTA interfaces support bulk rate push, this is developed to map to the OTA’s / Channel Manager’s interface.

 

Q: Does ResConnect offer a Close To Arrival (CTA) tool within the API to reduce dead nights?

A: Not yet! We’ll get to this.

 

Q: Is there a way to filter Wetu properties based on availability?

A: Not currently. Availability is not a searchable feature in Wetu.

 

Q: Do you need to be on a higher package to get the Live Availability option in Wetu, or can anyone listed on WETU have access to this tool?

A: Two part answer here:

  1. As a Supplier: you do not need to be on a higher package to show availability for your property, however, each supplier needs to opt into showing the availability with their relative availability provider. It is not something that is automatically activated.
  2. As an Operator: you do not need to be on the highest package to see the live availability of the properties who do have it.

 

Q: Are the users of Tourplan happy with the ‘confirmed’ only status they offer when connecting via API ResResquest?

A: Tourplan do not currently cater for provisional bookings; however, our API does support provisionals.

How to get connected?

 

Now that you know more about the importance of this space for your business you’re probably asking: “What do I do next?”

Here’s all you need to know about getting direct connections set up. All you need to do is email us and one of our connections team will confirm all the setup details, such as the user permissions for the connecting agent. This setup takes approx.1 hour and is charged at our standard support rate.

 

Some agents only have view functionality enabled, however, more and more operators are moving towards wanting to create bookings. So, if they are able to create bookings they will request this access. It is up to you to decide on the permission you wish to grant, however we do encourage legitimate confirmed bookings to be held where possible.

If you have any questions about this process please drop us a line

For the full version of the webinar – you can find it uploaded onto YouTube here.

Rocking INDABA

indaba 2017_wp

INDABA is one of the largest tourism trade shows in Africa. It showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world.

 

Mike Coppinger, Jill Bennett-Howes, Natasha Bame and Ntando Bhengu represented ResRequest this year at the tradeshow and exhibited in the shared SATSA stand. The weather didn’t play ball for the opening day with Durban experiencing heavy rain, but fortunately it was dry in the exhibition centre!

 

ResRequest’s stand was quite tucked away within the SATSA space but our signature red and branded shirts helped us stand out. With our ‘Fresh with Flavour’ mints and our brochures and starter packs laid out, we were ready.

elisabeth saruni

[Above: Jill with Elizabeth from Saruni]

 

The days were packed with meetings with clients and prospects for both ResRequest Enterprise and ResConnect. We found these meetings to be one of the highlights of Indaba this year. Nothing can beat meeting face-to-face and it was a great opportunity to connect with existing clients and be introduced to new contacts.

ashley lightspeed

[Above: Jill chats to Ashley from Lightspeed]

 

Every evening the team attended networking functions and with the rain over and typical warm Durban evenings, we enjoyed being outdoors and the team shared stories and socialised at the Atta and Okavango Expedition events.

 

INDABA 2017 was successful for us, as we continued to establish our brand and remind the market who we are and what we do.

Our geeky African story at WTM

The 2017 World Travel Market Africa (WTM) was held at the Cape Town ICC. Since its inception in 2014, the show has seen constant growth and attendance.

ResRequest was represented by Jill and Ntando. For newbie Ntando, who had just joined the team, it proved to be an insightful introduction to the travel industry and working with ResRequest! “Our first day at WTM was hectic! Within the first 5 minutes after we arrived we were swamped with meetings, so much so, I had trouble remembering who we had met!”

ResRequest shared a stand with our technology partners, Wetu Tourism Solutions, who did a great job with the design of our stand. 

ResRequest at WTM

Jill presented Our Geeky African Story as a background to how ResRequest was started and how the ResRequest system addresses the needs of safari lodges and boutique properties. John, the story’s protagonist, was one of our first customers over 15 years ago and he continues to successfully run his remote camps with ResRequest.

ResRequest-Jill

The trade show also provided an opportunity to network with our customers who were attending the show. “Our clients were very pleased to see us and welcomed our ‘fresh with flavour’ mints token, as a mResRequest- mintsuch needed treat!”

 

Social life is never dull with our crew as Ntando quickly learnt. Dinner that evening was at a burger joint, notorious for its milkshakes. However, for milkshake-loving Ntando, choosing a milkshake was the hardest part of the trip, “I love milkshakes and the stress of choosing 1 out of 50 milkshakes was intense!”.

As expected, the last day of WTM was quieter and Ntando was left to hold the fort after Jill left for her early flight. He had learnt from the best though, and had a fresh stock of mints in readiness for any last-minute passersby.  

Final words, Ntando? “I enjoyed my first ever travel trade show, I learnt a lot, especially how to handle the pressure in a busy new environment. I look forward to attending more trade shows and being an ambassador for ResRequest.”

Hop, skip and a Stride to your perfect trip

ResRequest-Stride Travel

Jared Alster- Stride Travel

Growing a travel business in today’s environment is challenging. Travellers have more choice than ever when it comes to booking a tour, safari or adventure vacation and the internet and social media has delivered huge amounts of travel-related content direct to consumers.

But how does a tour operator ensure that their brand breaks through all the chatter? What’s the most efficient way for a travel supplier to acquire new customers? If you have a significant marketing budget, Google and Facebook are both great options. However, for smaller operators with tight budgets or lack of marketing expertise, online distribution can be daunting.

That’s why Stride Travel was created. Stride Travel is an online marketplace for multi-day tours and organised travel. Stride is the first website to enable users to search and read reviews for all professionally planned trips – from traditional group tours and private guided safaris, to independent itineraries and small ship cruises.

Currently, travellers can search Stride’s comprehensive database of over 10,000 trips to 130+ countries from 500+ operators.

Tour operators view Stride as a unique marketing distribution channel.  Unlike online travel agencies and packagers, Stride’s meta search model highlights travel brands rather than hiding them. Stride’s open business model aligns their interests with those of operators and travellers by transparently matching travellers with their perfect tour company.

Many large and niche operators, such as G Adventures, Rothschild Safaris, and Butterfield & Robinson, have partnered with Stride because the business model has minimal up-front costs and provides significant upside in driving new customers.

Today’s consumers expect to be able to read reviews and easily compare options on any major purchase. Adventurous, international vacations are no exception. Yet today, the major travel review websites do not have a category for reviews on multi-day tours and operators.

Stride alleviates this issue and provides operators with a trusted third party platform on which to display traveler reviews and ratings. Stride’s research shows that travellers are up to eight times as likely to trust reviews found on a neutral 3rd party site vs. direct on an operator’s website.

If you’d like to learn more about how Stride can help grow your business, they’d love to hear from you. Please contact Stride.