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 surveys help establishments get insight from customised, branded surveys and proactively drives reviews to TripAdvisor and Google to improve rankings.

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.

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.

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

A once-off ResRequest setup fee of approximately 1 hour is billed at our standard data set up rate, but if you sign up before 30 June 2019 we’ll do the set up for FREE!

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!

 

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

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

 

Keeping your data safe

On the 25th of May, The General Data Protection Regulation commonly known as the GDPR, came into play. This new legislation is designed to set for companies on standard for consumer rights on data. Companies will need to be able to show the systems they have put in place to protect consumer data and their privacy.

The legislature is quite broad when defining personal identification information which makes compliance a challenge. Companies will need the same level of protection for things like an individual’s IP address or cookie data as they do for name, address and emails.

How does ResRequest comply with the GDPR regulations?

We are reviewing our processes and putting checks in place to ensure that we are adhering to the new standards.

Our subscriber policy is not to data mine and we request consent to sign anyone up on our mailing list. Your email address and personal data you consent to provide us with is used only for contacting you with ResRequest business related information. ResRequest system users’ email addresses are added to our mailing lists during implementation and at the direction of the system administrator. We use these contact details to send you notifications from us on our system functionality. This information is important to ensure you get the most out of your ResRequest system to add value to your business. We hope you enjoy reading our newsletters and learning about the product you lease. 

If we have met with you or you have shown interest in using ResRequest, we may use your contact details to send you information about ResRequest that we feel will be beneficial to you.

We do not share your details with data collectors. Should you wish to no longer receive our communications, remember that you can unsubscribe at any time.

Our dedicated SAAS team constantly monitor our online platforms to ensure our security is always upgraded and detect breaches. Our server hosts are recognised service providers.

ResRequest does have third party platforms which are part of our business service, such as Guest Survey interfaces, Financial Accounts interfaces, connections to Online Travel Agents, Booking Engines, Point of sales systems, Telephone Systems, Payment Gateways and Business Analytics. These systems are dependent on accessing data from our customer’s system to process our customer’s operational needs and an NDA between you and the service provider is recommended.

To learn more, please read our updated our Privacy policy and Terms of use which can be found on our website.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Imminent VAT change

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

We will cover:

Understanding the changes

Implementing the tax changes in your business

Making changes in ResRequest

Understanding the changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Implementing the tax changes in your business

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

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

Consideration of changes around operational rulings

We know the following:

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

Business considerations

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

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

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

Scenarios on existing bookings

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

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

The existence of contracted rates with customers is not relevant.

Here are factors to consider which may influence your approach:

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

Operational considerations

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

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

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

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

How some clients are approaching the change

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

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


References

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

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


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

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

We’ve highlighted the key steps to follow below.

1. Create the new tax rate

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

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

See our online Tax Rate Code table for more guidance.

 

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

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

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

3. Change Extras

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

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

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

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

 

4. Change Room Rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

5. Update your online platforms

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

 

6. Deactivate obsolete rates

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

 

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

Stop it spamming

Written by Richard Howes

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here are some things which make deliverability more difficult:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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