Our embarrassing travel moments!

We’ve all had them – those cringe-worthy moments when we want to laugh and crawl into a hole at the same time. Somehow these moments are more embarrassing when we are travelling, maybe because we don’t always know who’s watching!

 

We asked our team for some of their top most embarrassing moments. Put your coffee aside because you may spill it, and see if you can relate to any of these stories.

 

“I had a connection through Abu Dhabi in the early hours of the morning. Half asleep, I disembarked the plane in Abu Dhabi and sleepily followed the other passengers into the airport. It was only when I found myself being asked by taxi drivers where I was staying that I realised that something wasn’t right! I was in arrivals and not transit! The surprise gave way to panic as I only had an hour before my next flight. I started trying to find an official to ask how to get to the transfer lounge but it was 1am in the morning and the airport was empty. Finally, I ran into some flight crew and I tried to explain what had happened, they looked confused and pointed further down the hall. I raced off, heart pounding and arrived at immigration. This could not be happening. I had no visa but I was asking to leave the country! I stammered out the story to the gruff immigration officer and he called another officer ove. ‘No visa’, his colleague barked. I tried again to explain what had happened and begged them to let me through as my flight would be boarding by now. Together they started talking fast in Arabic and I wondered how bad the Arabic prison system was. Suddenly I was handed my passport and told ‘Go on. Your flight is boarding’. My legs felt shaky and I felt dizzy with relief that I had made it through. I arrived at the boarding gate just as they were finishing and collapsed into my seat, exhausted. It had been both the longest and shortest hour of my life ever!”

 

Another flight story on a very different aircraft and an even more nail-biting experience.

 

“We were travelling to a remote part of Africa from Joburg and were waiting for the plane from the lodge to collect us. The airport was full of commercial planes and a few large charter planes. We then noticed a small, unbelievably small, plane bobbing through between the bigger planes. We had a sinking feeling. Surely not? Could people even fit in that? The miniature plane came to halt and we got a phone call that our charter was ready. We went out to meet our pilot, and of course, he led us to the plane that we had been observing, which seemed even smaller close-up. Trying to suppress our nervousness, we loaded our bags and prepared for take off. The little plane seemed to take forever to lift off and sounded like the engine was taking strain. Finally we were in the air and the pilot tried to engage us in conversation but we were on the edge of our seats, unable to speak. It seemed like every breeze tossed the plane around. Throwing up probably wasn’t the best first impression to make, but it felt very likely! The two hour flight felt like a lifetime and we finally arrived at our destination, white-faced and shaking. ‘How was the flight?’, the lodge manager asked as we disembarked. We smiled weakly, ‘We’re so happy to be here’.”

 

Off to Europe for a train ride, a long day and some luck.

 

“Ten years ago, I was returning to London from a small town in Germany called Ahrensburg, and because money was tight, my travelling time was dragged out over 24 hours (2 flights, 2 trains rides, 1 hitchhiked lift and a bus ride) with lots of waiting around in-between them all. By the time I landed in London, I was extremely tired and as soon as I had jumped onto the tube out of Heathrow airport, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I realised that I had missed my stop and travelled to the opposite side of London! Thankfully I still had my luggage, but my chance for a hot shower and a proper bed would have to wait as I had to double back on the tube ride, and this time I made sure I didn’t close my eyes!”

 

How would you like to be without your luggage for three weeks while you travel around East Africa? This is what happened on one of our team members, and let’s just say, he now always triple checks his flight time.

 

“I arrived at the airport confident that I had plenty of time before departure. I was travelling to East Africa for three weeks and had quite a hefty bag to check in. I ambled over to check-in and thought I may as well check-in early and then grab a leisurely coffee to pass the time. However, that plan changed quickly as I was told that my flight was leaving in 20 minutes and it was too late to check in luggage. My cries fell on deaf ears and I tried to explain that I had read the flight time wrong. Now, not only was I having to sprint to get to boarding, but I had to leave my bag with everything I needed behind. Needless to say, the first thing I did on landing was to buy some clothes and deodorant. I learnt a stressful lesson and this drama is never to be repeated.”

 

Travel is exciting and always a big adventure but sometimes there are unpredictable hiccups that make these trips even more eventful. These dramas sometimes make the best stories with valuable lessons attached. What are your most memorable travel adventures?

ResFit 2.0

The ResRequest story


The African wildlife experience is on many people’s wish list. Thousands of people travel to Africa each year to live a safari dream – to witness sunset game drives and afternoon thunderstorms amidst spectacular game spotting. Africa is home to numerous quality and luxury safari lodges which offer an unforgettable experience coupled with spectacular views and authentic architecture.

But while your dream trip unfolds, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make these experiences happen?

Running lodges is a demanding job and staffers work hard to ensure that guests have the ultimate personalised trip. Behind the scenes, myriads of people are working tirelessly to plan and record a seamless guest itinerary, secure transfers, record guest preferences and personal details. All this information requires a system comprehensive enough to both record and track it. ResRequest is a reservations and property management software solution specifically for remote lodges, camps and boutique hotels.

ResRequest’s crew visit these properties to train and consult the staff on using the software, and team members get first hand exposure to the safari experience at these establishments and it helps them understand the needs of these lodges.

One of our support consultants visited a lodge near the Kruger National Park in South Africa. It was her first time at a safari lodge, and coming from the city, she was stuck by the tranquility of the bush.

“The silence is breathtaking, and then you hear the faint crackling of twigs and out of nowhere, you are faced with the spectacular sight of an elephant walking to a watering hole a few metres in front of you.”

It is this experience that can only be found at a safari lodge in Africa. There are few places in the world where you can take a swim in your personal plunge pool overlooking a dazzle of zebra (that’s right, a group of zebra is a dazzle!) grazing outside your private chalet. Sunset drinks on the balcony with a typical African sunset and only the sounds of the bush, followed by a gourmet meal in the warm evening air, and a nightcap around a log fire are what guests can expect when staying at a place like this.

Games drives are one of the main attractions for guests and without exception, an array of  wildlife from lions to impala, to dung beetles and elephants and unique flora, are a given to be seen. The guides have spent years working in the bush and can read the animal’s journey from its spore and can almost always track the animals down. They have many stories to tell of their encounters with the wildlife and it’s this personal touch that adds something special to a guest’s stay. A game drive with a guide is an unparalleled experience and must for all visitors to the African bush.

While these remote destinations are an attraction and draw card for guests, operating in such isolated areas can be difficult in terms of internet access. ResRequest uses a cloud hosted system which syncs with offline servers at the property. For remote safari lodges with a poor internet connection this means that they can continue operating and offering a fine experience to all their guests.

So the next time you’re travelling to a beautiful lodge in Africa and have a seamless check-in and stay, remember that it is all thanks to a dedicated team working behind the scenes to ensure your African safari experience is all you hoped for and more.

To learn more about ResRequest Enterprise, visit our product pages

 

(Photo: Odzala Discovery Camps)

Witness the fitness!

ResFit is back and better than ever. This year, ResFit 2.0 launched with a movie theme and new teams. The concept remains the same, with individuals and teams capturing the activities they do in their branded t-shirts and competing for points. Points can be earned by participating in fun stuff mainly falling into four categories: interest, tech, give back and sport.

(Office early morning pilates)

The aim of ResFit to encourage our staff to be active personally, as a team and within the greater community. We want our staff to explore their interests and hobbies, maybe discover new ones and we want to support the community through actions, not only donations. We aim to complete one give back per quarter and each team is encouraged to co-ordinate an outreach.

(Dylan of Suicide Squad and Chantel of Guardians of the Galaxy baking up a storm)

So far, we’ve had home-baked treats the office, scored some artwork for our office space, played Pokemon Go and flown drones. Many of our geeks love playing online games and one even develops computer games. As a company, we have supported Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that encourages travellers to pack for the communities they are visiting. We packed stationery school supplies for the rural schools supported by Lilayi Lodge.

(Jaco and Mike handing over our Pack for a Purpose package to Lilayi Lodge’s community initiative)

We have also collected pet food for local SPCAS and, for Mandela Day, we answered an international call to contribute time to the community on Nelson Mandela’s birthday to honour his legacy and help make the world a better place. We partnered with The Seed Fund to help clean up a local informal settlement, paint houses and plant a vegetable garden. Fitness is a popular ResFit choice and we have a few very sporty people amongst us with one even representing South Africa at underwater hockey and others attending pilates classes or playing squash.


(Jaco flying his drone)

Results so far:

Leading team: X-Men

Individual with the most points: Jaco

Most enthusiastic: Chantel


(Some of Team X-Men helping The Seed Fund clean up at the Malacca Road informal settlement on Mandela Day- 18 July 2018)

ResFit 2.0 will run until the end of the year when the grand winner will be announced but until then we have Spot Prize Winners who are announced on our social media platforms.

(Team X-Men had an office ‘Autumn’ clean out and found lots of stuff to recycle and donate to the local charities)

Kilifair 2018

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Making memories

Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018 was a fantastic show. It drew in a huge list of exhibitors and visitors from all over the globe. ResRequest was represented at Indaba within the SATSA stand again this year – and we enjoyed the vibe of sharing in the show buzz with our industry partners. We met with a record number of new prospects as well as our valued customers.

The Functional support team attended the show for the first time to share some love and connect with our customers and provide on-the-ground support and this is what they had to say about their experience. 

It was awesome to meet some of our clients in person. Many conversations started with a handshake and ended with a hug. Just a great reminder for me that the connections we have with people are a vital part of what we do.

Having a face to a name certainly adds a more personal dynamic to the support we provide, and I think our clients were happy to see the faces of the people they often chat to on the phone or over email. One thing that stood out to me the most was the recognition and thanks that we received from our clients for always being able to contact us and having access to a friendly voice on the phone.  I’m already looking forward to next year!Angie 

It was great to meet some of the ‘voices’ I have been speaking to for the past two years and to be able to ‘picture’ the person behind the voice. We hope that we blew them away with the reassurances of our future support and they felt that our support team truly cares.” Luzelle 

The best part of Indaba for me was to be able to meet our clients, putting faces to names and getting to know them just that little bit better.” Cheri 

Being at Indaba was the highlight of my year so far. It was a blessing being able to meet the clients that we have worked so closely with over the years.” Alex

It was a great experience to have interactions with our clients when they weren’t contacting us for support. It was also amazing to see just the tip of the iceberg at the conference and to see just how big the industry is and how much more we can tap into.” Chantel 

 

 

 

The Marketing & Brand team also joined in to witness the activity and build the presence that we had.

Simone hits up Spiderman with some of our branded mints.

‘This was my second time at Indaba and I enjoyed going back again. It is always a mind-blowing experience with huge, elaborate stands, the bright colours, different languages and seeing all the incredible destinations Africa has to offer.’ Kristen 

Our new consultant partners, Pomerol Partners also participated in the event and met with business owners who were interested in reaping the benefits of using ResInsite, our business intelligence tool.

‘I found the show to be lively and worth attending even though it was frustrating trying to find exhibitors who had their stands changed at the last minute. I enjoyed meeting clients who I hadn’t met before.’ Ntando 

As always we find Indaba to be a worthwhile show for us, as it’s on home soil, and where we can have a greater presence and impact our market.

 

Around the world at WTM

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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.

 

The year we got ResFit

At ResRequest, we love challenging people to grow and develop their passions. We believe that by looking after yourself, you can look after others. This year we started ResFit, our corporate wellness programme. ResFit is about being active in the community, on the sports field, in the office and as a team. We incentivised the programme by creating teams out of our departments where staffers could collect points by participating in activities as a team or individually. Since we love pizza and it’s become a theme for us this year, we named the team’s – Four Seasons, Pepperoni, Margarita and Chicken Tikka.

To give some inspiration to the initiative we defined it into some categories: sport, passion, tech and give back. However, points were only counted if people wore their ResFit shirt during the activity and captured it on camera. Each quarter, the points were calculated and the scoreboard was updated. The winning team received a prize.

Here’s some of the things we got up to this year.

Sport

Kristen ran in running events and Jen played underwater hockey.

Passion

Jaco played Pokemon Hunting and Sharon travelled Europe.

Tech

Ashton and Ant played online games and learnt languages online.

Give back

Some of the Empangeni office took part in the Big Walk for charity and Walter helped renovate a home.

As Audrey Hepburn said, “You have two hands. One for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.” This year our team has been using both their hands to make a positive impact.