What are connections?

ResRequest connections

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To be competitive in an increasingly online and automated space, Safari Agents and Tour Operators have implemented software applications that manage their business needs. A software application is the first part of their solution, the second part is electronic access to your system (to view rates and availability and make bookings) so they can prepare quotes and book directly from their solution. This process saves time and helps them compete with online agents.

What does a Tour Operator get with access to rates, availability and booking?

  • The ability to compete with online travel agents
  • Agents can effortlessly build itineraries
  • Prepare quotes quickly, in any time zone
  • Confirm bookings in a few quick steps

What’s your part in this?
Electronically connecting your agent (the buyer) to you (the supplier) is a change in the traditional way of making a booking. Agents are improving the tools they use to book so they can be more competitive, responsive and offer dynamic pricing. The booking process is changing from phone calls and several emails to using automated electronic bookings from systems designed to give Agents a competitive advantage. Your part is to recognise that your agent needs your support to leverage this competitive advantage.

What agents already use this connection to ResRequest?
Specialist agents like, Expert Africa, Bushtracks Expeditions, Go2Africa, African Eagle, Wetu and Wilderness Safaris have developed connections to ResRequest through ResConnect. As agents recognise the power in this connection, more and more have signed up to ResConnect to make it possible to sell Africa’s finest properties using their business tools.

Tourplan operators are also able to connect directly to your stock. The following agents using the Tourplan system are now able to connect to our ResRequest customers and will be requesting booking access permission:

Agents using Tourplan (create bookings): African Ample Assistance, Abenteuer Afrika Safari, African Bush Camps, Africa Travel Group, Africa 220, Cedarberg Africa, Discover Africa Group, Elewana Travel Ltd, Gamewatchers Safaris, Highline Tours & Travel, Iluka Tourism Investments, Infinite Africa, Inspirations Travel & Tours, Jenman African Safaris, Ker & Downey Africa, Live the Journey, Maplanga Africa, Natural Selection Safaris, New Frontiers, Personal Africa Travel, Safari Destinations, Springbok Atlas – South Africa, Team DM UK, Tour d’Afrique, Travel Counsellors, Sandown Tours & Incentives, Sense of Africa, Tourvest Destination Management, Travel Wild Botswana, Uitkyk Holidays, Vintage Africa, Wild Africa Travel, XO Africa Travel and &BEYOND.

What are the steps to connect?
Once an agent has developed a connection between their booking system and ResRequest they will request permission to access your properties. You or our call centre setup their user account and you define what they can see and do in your ResRequest system. Our call centre then links this user to the agent’s ResConnect account which enables them to electronically connect to your rates, availability and make bookings.

We have recommended to ResConnect agents that only confirmed bookings are booked, however each relationship will need to be managed on a case by case basis.

How the setup works:
When you allow an agent to create bookings, the ‘Req Received’ button (at the top right corner of your screen) will flash and show the number of bookings received. These bookings need to be assigned to a consultant and checked.

Do we support editing and cancellations?
We do not support edits to bookings, however when amendments or cancellations are requested, an email will be generated to the supplier.

Will implementing an electronic connection change the relationship with your agent?
No – you’ll still work with your agent as a human – you’ll still meet with them at trade shows and sales visits, but the actual booking creation can be electronic.

Will this help you sell more bed nights?
Absolutely! New agents you have not worked with, will be signing with your property and existing agents, who prefer an automated booking process, will electronically incorporate your property into their itinerary building.

Can you control what the agent can see and do in ResRequest?
Yes, an agent will only see rates and room types allocated to their user profile and they can only look up availability and make bookings if you say they can.

Should you consider limiting an agent’s user access?
Limiting the agents electronic access is like owning a Ferrari and not adding the petrol. When we launched ResConnect 10 years ago, Agents only wanted a way to check availability and rates but now the trend is to create and cancel bookings. Why? Because it saves so much time and improves efficiency for your agent. It gives them a competitive advantage over other online sales platforms.

What happens if agents start booking and cancelling frequently?
Electronic connectivity makes checking availability and making bookings so easy that it will very likely be tempting for your agent to frequently hold space and cancel. Initially some agents may not realise this makes more work for you. Remember to set your reservations that don’t materialise to ‘Deleted’ and if your agent’s actions are causing more work for you – show your agent their conversion stats and ask them to find ways to streamline the process to avoid a negative rating with you.

What can you do if your agent does not have a system but they want a similar competitive advantage?
That’s easy – give them a login to your ResRequest system. Here’s what this means for your agent:

We would love to hear how you benefit from this business to business solution, get in touch if you would like to share your thoughts.

More exposure on Airbnb

Airbnb shares how you can get more exposure for your property by listing it on airbnb.com. More than 80 million people have travelled on Airbnb so listing your property gives you access to a broad base of customers who love to travel. It is free to list and Airbnb only charges a 3% commission.

About Airbnb
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. Whether a spare bedroom, an apartment, a villa or a private island, Airbnb connects travelers to a more diverse and authentic range of experiences in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries.

How Airbnb works: 

  • Ordinary residents – “hosts” – can list their own homes on the Airbnb website. They create online profiles for themselves and for their property, choose their own price and availability and set guidelines for guests.
  • Increasingly we are seeing that unique properties do really well and that it has become and avenue for small lodges, tented camps, tree houses etc. The key thing is that there is a host who can communicate with and welcome guests and that each bedroom is unique.
  • Guests search for hosts and properties that meet their criteria – dates, location, number of beds or rooms, wifi, breakfast included, etc.
  • Hosts and guests can learn about each other through information provided on their Airbnb profiles, including past reviews, photographs, and identity verification. Additionally, hosts and guests can communicate with each other through the Airbnb website, to discuss travel dates, expectations, and price.
  • Airbnb facilitates the entire financial transaction and holds onto the payment until 24 hours after the reservation begins to make sure both guests and hosts are happy before the payment goes through. Hosts keep 97% of booking fees, and guests pay a 6-12% fee to Airbnb.
  • After the stay, both hosts and guests leave reviews for one another. The reviews are public for all future hosts and guests to read.
If you’re still not convinced, hear what President Obama had to say about Airbnb.

Who can list on Airbnb?
Anyone with a bedroom, an apartment, a small guest house, B&B, lodge or self catering accommodation. What is important is that there is a host to facilitate the guest experience, and that each room needs to be listed separately unless you are renting out the whole place.

Would you like to become a host?

Where do I go to list my space?

If you have any questions, feel free to contact velma.corcoran@ext.airbnb.com or go to https://www.airbnb.com/help.

ResRequest does not currently have an integration with Airbnb, but do let us know if this is something that you would be interested in.

rainmaker | Google 360° virtual tour

rainmaker is the accredited Google Street View Trusted Agency in Africa, bringing you all of the new features and benefits of the Google Travel Services. This will significantly improve your direct booking conversions, digital presence ranking and, thus, your revenue, average daily rate and occupancy.

Providing stunning rainmaker VISTA 360° Virtual Reality Tours (powered by Google Street View Trusted), properties can gain the most immersive and best converting content, not only for their own website but also for their Facebook Page and, most importantly on Google. All tours are seamlessly integrated into all relevant Google Services such as Google Search, Google Maps, Google Now, Google Trips, Google Plus, Google Places, Google Hotel and Google Destination. As a result, this increases traffic to direct websites right from Google.

THIS COULD BE YOUR HOTEL

SEE HOW OTHER PROPERTIES GOT MORE BOOKINGS via Website, Google MapsFacebook and Google Search.

Want to know who’s using 360° Virtual Tours? Take a look.

Don’t miss this great opportunity rainmaker and the Google Travel Services provide for all hotels, lodges, guesthouses, B&Bs and restaurants in southern Africa.

Contact riette@rainmaker.travel with any question you might have.

Rates | price right and save

Contact our Call Centre to schedule your rates setup with us today

Many Clients issue next year’s rates around Indaba. Should you require assistance to load your rates onto your system, then please send them to us as soon as they are finalised to avoid any delay.

On that note… When setting your Rates there are some things you should consider:
We’ve once likened your ResRequest system to a Land Rover (a high performance machine, custom designed to work hard and go places other machines cannot) – following on from that analogy you need to think of your Rates as the fuel that makes your system run. If your rates aren’t set up optimally your system is compromised: you cannot get the level of reporting you might want, your accounts department has to do manual work outside the system, making a reservation can become time consuming and margins for error creep into this process.
We know that you are used to thinking of your Rates in a certain way – and setting them up in a certain way. In order to get the most from your system – we recommend the following:
 
1. Set up Rack Rates – and give Agents commission. This is cleaner and quicker to set up than multiple Nett Rates. You can adjust the commission on a booking by booking basis, if you want to. But every booking you create for an Agent will use their default commission percentage. (You can now round rates up or down, so Agents don’t see cents on their invoice – see note below).
 
2. Use Components – anything that Accounts has to calculate outside of the system for their reporting purposes can probably be included in your rate build, so that the system does all the calculations for you. For instance – if you attribute a certain percentage (or fixed amount) of a bednight to “Beverages” or a “Conservation Fund” – set these up as components within your rate. You can choose whether these are shown to the client or not – they can be purely for back-end reporting and financial controls.
 
3. Use Optional Components – these allow you to add certain things to the rate on a booking by booking basis. Again – you can choose to show them to the client or not. And they add an amount to the rate – as opposed to the Components above, which extrapolate amounts from the rate. For instance – you could make Park Fees an Optional Component, which means you don’t include them in your rate, but you can add them as you make the booking instead of adding Extras after you’ve made the booking. Optional Components can be a percentage or a fixed amount – and can differ from rate group to rate group (i.e. Adults might pay more than children).
 
There are some new additions to the Rates Module that will make your rates even more dynamic and precise. 
 
1. Ordering of Rate Groups – you can now decide what order you’d like your rate groups (e.g. Adult, Child) to appear when you create a reservation. You can also ensure that unused rate groups don’t show up at all if you don’t want them to.
 
2. Rounding Rates – if you create Rack Rates and offer commission (as opposed to Nett Rates) you can now round those rates, so you don’t see cents – you see whole numbers. (This is OPTIONAL – you don’t have to round). In rounding, one party tends to lose – depending on whether you round up or down. In ResRequest – if you want to ensure your client doesn’t lose, you would round Down, which means the Commission rounds Up. Depending on your currency, you can round to the nearest unit (81.50 becomes 81 or 82), you can round to the nearest 10 (81.50 becomes 80 or 90); you can round to the nearest 100 (181.50 becomes 100 or 200); or you can round to the nearest 1000 (1081.50 becomes 1000 or 2000).
 
3. Optional Components can be added by Default – for Optional Components (i.e. those components you add which add a charge to the rate) you can now decide if they should be included or not as default. If you set it to include as default – when you create a reservation it will automatically add the component, but you can de-select it. This is good for components like Park Fees – which you want to add to every booking, but don’t want to include in the Rate.
 
4. Specials Rates – will allow you to create “specials” attached to normal rates. It’s useful for almost any kind of Special you want to run. Some examples of specials our Specials Rate Module handle:
– Circuit Discounts
– Stay for 5, Pay for 4 Nights
– Honeymoon Special – Bride pays 50%
– With 2 full paying Adults, 1 child travels free
  
We know that Rates can seem a little overwhelming – we would be very happy to chat to you about your specific needs, and help you set up your rates in the best way possible for you in order to streamline your booking, reporting and accounting procedures. Contact our Consulting team if you would like to workshop setting up your rates effectively or working with our financial interfaces.

Love your agent

One of the major advantages of moving away from an excel booking sheet and onto a central reservations system as sophisticated as ResRequest is that you can leverage your availability to increase sales.

We know that the online realm can be a little bit alarming – and knowing how much access to give and to whom is a worry we all have. Especially those of us who feel connected to our bookings and don’t want to cede control to the anonymous web!

One of the “gentlest” ways to leverage your availability is to give agents you trust, who already know and sell you, a certain amount of access to your system.

You can do this in several ways:
1. You can give agents access to your system – as you would someone in your office with a login – but with limited rights.
2. You can use our plugin ResNova to put your availability onto your website, and you can tell your agents to check there.
3. You can allow agents to access your system through their system – using ResConnect. This only works if they have a system which interfaces to ours. We are happy to supply you with a list of these specialist agents and tour operating system that we connect directly to.

Today we are talking about #1

Add agent conact

You can setup an Agent in your system as a User – and decide how much access you will give them to your system. You can specify which Properties and Accommodation Types they can see and which Rate Types they can use.

You can give them the right to:

1. See availability: and decide whether you will show actual numbers, or just available / not available.
2. Hold space
3. Make a reservation

When a booking comes into your system from an external source (which is what we consider an Agent User to be) – the booking goes into the Req Received area on ResRequest, which means you have to accept the booking into your system, and can thereby keep track of new bookings coming in.

If you would like to give agents access – or have already done so – you might find this little video useful. It explains to agents how to access the system, and how to make reservations (if they have the right to do so).