We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well during this time. We’ve been in touch with many of you as you work through the operational impact of Covid-19 while making plans for your team to be safe and sound.
While most of us are still under lockdown due to COVID-19, we have been working from home. It took us a while to adapt and reduce costs so we could use this time to put our heads down to take massive strides in delivering new product features. We’re still working on all of this, but we wanted to check in with you to show you some of the items we are working on that will be ready and waiting for you when you reboot.
The New Rooming Calendar
We have crafted a new drag and drop Rooming Calendar for you, with auto room capabilities, perfect for your front-of-house operations.
What is rooming?
Rooming refers to allocating your guests to specific rooms. It’s important to room guests to track arrivals, departures or no shows; to avoid situations where you have to move guests to a different room during their stay; ensure that special requests like a honeymoon room or a family room are accommodated and to automatically charge guest accounts using our stock and POS interface.
So what are the new features in the Rooming Calendar?
Rooming by the lodge staff is typically managed on the Rooming Calendar. Our previous calendar now called our “Classic” calendar, requires a lot of pop-ups and quite a bit of manual work to room bookings. Our stunning new calendar, which we call our “Modern” calendar fits visuals to your full-screen width, so you can see more information than ever before; automatically auto rooms reservations at the click of a button (our absolute favourite Jenga trick) and enables drag and drop should, you want to customise the view.
AUTO ROOM – Automatically room your unallocated reservations in the optimal configuration, to ensure that you get the most out of your availability.
DRAG AND DROP – Shuffle a reservation between rooms by simply dragging and dropping it to the relevant room. Clicking on a reservation item also highlights the valid rooming possibilities in green.
MANAGE A RESERVATION – Manage multiple aspects of a reservation without leaving the rooming calendar screen. Manage guests, view itineraries, check multiple rooms on a reservation in, and so much more.
ROOMING CONFLICTS – Our team has included an indication to alert users of any potential rooming conflicts. This will minimise the risk of overbooking a room, despite multiple people being responsible for rooming reservations.
Business Intelligence – Dashboards
We all love great pictures, even more, when they tell a story. If your job is to stay on top of everything, you’ll love our new Reservation Manager and Sales Overview Dashboard. The Reservation Manager and Sales Overview Dashboard are the first of many dashboards we’ll be introducing. Graphs on this dashboard will give you visibility into the reservation and sales overview side of your business. The sales dashboard will help measure key metrics, individual team members, and sales activities.
Our new charts will help you analyse the booking trends of your Agents and quickly spot gaps and positive or negative changes in their performance.
You spoke and we listened
Last year we released dashboards as part of our Agent CRM. We received feedback that you would like to include revenue information, our developers heard you, and have added a revenue-based chart so you can monitor how your agents are performing month-on-month.
ResRequest is a powerful system, so how can you be sure that you are using it to its full potential?
The Product Usage Dashboard is a quick and easy reference point, to assess what areas of the system are being used and what you can still tap into.
If you need any assistance or guidance with the rooming calendar and dashboards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is ravaging the globe and causing panic amongst nations. Many industries and businesses are already feeling its impact and the tourism industry is devastatingly hit the hardest. The extent of this impact would depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and while it is human to feel anxious and fearful, it is important to take the measures set out by the government and health officials.
Due to the spread of the virus, most businesses are forced to change their strategy and adapt quickly to what seems like the new norm – working from home. There is no doubt working from home can be challenging, however, research from a Harvard Business review article suggests that people who work their same office schedule from home get more done per day.
Here are four points to consider if/when you are working from home:
1. Start your day early
Waking up and immediately switching your laptop on to start your working day is not only an unhealthy habit, but you will find yourself burning out quite quickly as the day peters out. Start your day as if you are preparing to go to work.
Doing this consistently creates a good habit and puts you in the right frame of mind to kickstart the day. Get out of your PJs and dress the part, spend some quiet time in meditation, exercise, listening to music or your favourite podcast, have a cup of coffee and even spend some time with your family before you do decide to switch on your screen.
2. Establish your workspace
It is important to note that whilst it’s a dream come true to work from home, if you’re not cautious you could quickly find yourself working on the kitchen counter, in the lounge and the bedroom. Working in these environments at home will most certainly take a toll on you physically and psychologically, therefore you need to be intentional when setting up your workspace.
Make a clear distinction in your mind when considering this, and that is, the kitchen is for mealtimes, the lounge is for rest and entertainment, and the bedroom is for sleep. Your workspace should be away from all distractions, you can call it your “in-house office”, make it clear to your family and pets that when you’re in your office you must not be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
Now that you’ve identified your “in-house office”, some important things to remember are:
- Ensure your workspace is well-lit.
- Set up a sturdy desk that’s clean and clutter-free.
- A comfy chair that supports your back.
- A good pair of headphones/earphones comes in handy if music helps with your productivity.
- Make sure everything you need is within easy reach.
- A bottle/jar of water and some snacks to ensure you don’t visit the kitchen too often.
3. Shift your mind to a strong mental state
Mind over matter, right? Absolutely! However, by now we know that working from home comes with a host of distractions, which can cause you to lose productivity and your focus.
So how can you beat distractions and help push your mind in the right direction? Here are a few pointers:
- Stay motivated – Listen to motivational podcasts to stay mentally sharp. Set clear goals for the day and perhaps have a checklist nearby to help you stay focused on all your tasks.
- Avoid distractions – There’s a lot going on in the world right now and the temptation to watch TV and scroll your social media feed is highly tempting. Whilst it’s important to know what’s going on as far as the pandemic is concerned, the negativity can shift your mind to a state of panic and fear. Set specific times in the day to check your notifications or watch the news, whilst also making time to ensure your motivation levels are high.
- Manage your time – Hours at your workstation will most likely get you fatigued, so take 5-minute breaks for every hour you’re in front of your screen.
4. Improve communication with your team
As you know, we at ResRequest love technology and are big advocates for digital transformation. With most countries now in lockdown, businesses are forced to adopt work from home strategies which include having a good communication platform such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack or Microsoft Teams to name a few. This may be a new way of communication for you, but if utilised correctly it can help you and your team reach your goals, even if you’re not in the same building.
Find appropriate times in the day/week to check-in with your manager/ team leader, as far as your KPA’s are concerned, and be sure to nott just disappear for days and weeks without communication. This goes a long way to ensure that you remain motivated and focused on accomplishing your goals.
We hope that this separation from each other does not go on for a long period of time, but we also understand that in order to get back to the office and pre-covid life we have to self-isolate. We have witnessed how self-isolation / self-quarantine can help flatten the curve in China (here’s why this helps), and now it’s our turn to play our part.
Our team met last week to plan on how we can continue to build product and help our customers while being in lockdown. We have implemented an extended work from home policy and although we’re isolated from each other and in different locations, we’re ready and available to take your Skypes, emails, and calls. Our development team is also feverishly busy building product, in order for us to continue giving you what you need when we get back to a (new) normal.
This extended work from home called for some additions to our existing work from home policies, which we’d like to share with you for you to glean some tips. (Take a look at our work from home policy).
Take a look at some of our heroes working in the comfort of their homes. Follow us on Instagram to see what we’ve been up to.
Christmas wishes from our team
What’s kept us busy this year
We’ve had a great year preparing a bigger foundation for exciting plans we have for 2020. A big change we underwent was merging our team into our new Durban office, dubbed ResPlex. This merge meant moving 17 families from Richards Bay to Durban and we’re thrilled to announce that they arrived in true superhero style and they’ve all settled in well to the new climate and surrounds.
Our move was pretty smooth but it did not go without a few Kryptonite setbacks which may have affected you. We have still not found a reliable VOIP telephone system – please bear with us and feel free to send any suggestions if you’re a SA local!
Of course, our move meant we also had some key staff out of action which resulted in some slippage in our services during May and June but we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve fixed these gaps and our superhero strength is back!
We grew our talent
We said goodbye to some team and we welcomed others. Added to our team are: Kenton to our data onboarding team, Gareth to our rate setups team, Jerron (with his superman strength) joined our technical team and Michelle leads our new user interface and experience team (UI & UX). On our design front, Ben jumped in to rock our marketing team and Natasha Cross joined us to lead our training programme and team. Clinton is our recent addition who joined our frontline support team, so you’ll be hearing from him soon!
We welcomed future recruits
Not only did we grow our numbers in the office, but also 4 sprogs were born to 3 of our wonder women.
We worked best together
Having our team all in one space has also given us many opportunities to host a bunch of socials including a poker afternoon and new office warming braai, with a team salad competition thrown in. Of course dress up for Halloween is always a hit and a chance to pull out some scary pranks.
We loved travelling
We now service 600 properties in 19 countries, 2 being in Asia. So ResRover and Ntando attended trade shows across the globe including ITB Berlin and WTM London.
We grew stronger with ResPlex Talks
This year we introduced ResPlex talks hosting topics such as The evolution of Development Methodologies and Navigating cultures and customs in Customer Service. This new addition to our staff wellness programme has given us all the opportunity to broaden our knowledge and learn new skills.
We wrapped up the year with a great Christmas picnic
[Above] We celebrated our new-found spot with a festive Christmas picnic in our lush garden. We know that we have a talented crew so we opened the floor for a talent show where some of our talented sang, played the guitar and danced.
[Below] John, Keenan and Alex added some stunning vocals and chords while Mike awed us with his storytelling and magic tricks.
Jerron claimed our ‘ResRequest Strongman’ title in our impromptu arm-wrestling competition.
We wrapped up the afternoon with our tradition of watching annual reviews from each of our departments to remind us of all that we have achieved and experienced this year.
And because of this incredible effort that each of our team contributed – Santa bought us some personalised mugs for Christmas, because every superhero needs a recharge.
That’s what we are, not just a team, but a family. One day we might be the justice league but for today, we are team ResRequest.
Here’s to 2020 – we hope it’s your best year yet! And ours!
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?
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)
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 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!