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.

 

Lights, camera, action!

It’s been a busy year. Here is what we’ve been up to!

Movements

We exhibited and attended a record number of trade shows in 2017 – WTM Africa, Cape Town Indaba, Durban. Our sales team then toured Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania and attended the Sanganai Tourism Expo, Magical Kenya Travel Expo and the Swahili International Tourism Expo. They were all successful endeavours and we enjoyed meeting clients and making new contacts.

 

Team

We said goodbye to Dylan and Ant this year and welcomed Ntando, Sam, Brandon and Keenan to the team. Ntando joined the Sales team, Keenan and Sam take over from Anthony in testing and Brandon assists Walter in technical support.

A few mini-people also joined the ResRequest family this year with two of the ladies giving birth to sons.

Our Durban office was spruced up with a makeover to accommodate the expanding team and the Empangeni office who will be moving to new and improved location over Christmas. Exciting news!

Our mid-year function this year was a movie challenge which got everyone dressed up and in character as they produced a murder mystery short film with hilarious plot twists and some surprise actors!

Give back

This year our Give back formed part of our corporate wellness programme, ResFit. Each team had a budget to select a charity to support. Learn more about ResFit here! Initiatives that the teams supported this year were a revamp and repairs of a local church in Zululand, a collection for the local SPCA and sponsoring designing and producing promotional banners for The Neema Foundation. Team members also did their own Give back activities such as volunteering to fix computers at a school or taking children from a orphanage out for the day.

We can’t wait to see what 2018 has to offer!

Exploring Africa

Our sales team recently returned from a month-long roadshow to Zimbabwe, Kenya and Tanzania to attend tourism expos and visit customers. Snippets of their journey were shared on social media but we wanted to share the full low-down.

Zimbabwe was first up where Ntando joined Mike for this leg of the trip. The Amalinda Collection in Bulawayo was their port of call. The team at Amalinda were very hospitable and our crew was in awe of The Amalinda Lodge – a wilderness of granite with their unique rooms nestled in large rocks. This exclusive, privately owned safari lodge is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Matobo Hills, the oldest National Park in Zimbabwe, tucked away into an ancient Bushman’s shelter. “Camp Amalinda was amazing, the staff were very helpful and friendly and the food was divine”, Ntando reported. The Amalinda team were shown numerous reports on how to track the success and strengths of their business.

ResRequest East Africa

Next up was the Sanganai Tourism Expo in Bulawayo where they had the opportunity to connect with local clients who were exhibiting at the show, as well as a few prospects who were a great fit to use the ResRequest software.

Ntando met up with Jill in Kenya where they visited The Elewana Collection at their Nairobi offices for a workshop. We Are Africa hosted a networking event in the evening where the two got to catch up with property owners and tech partners over delicious nibbles which were much-needed after a busy day!

The Magical Kenya Tourism Expo was the main reason for the visit to Kenya. Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) is one of the fastest growing tourism events in the region and is currently positioned as the leading travel trade fair in East Africa. It aims at raising the profile of the destination Kenya and the region as a whole (press release, Go Places Online).

This year was one of the biggest shows to date so they had the opportunity to meet with many potential clients and ResRequest clients who were exhibiting including The Wellworth Group, The Elewana Collection, Tanganyika Wilderness Safaris, Kicheche Camps and Angama Mara as well as technology partners, Expedia and Wetu. To top it off, they signed up a group of luxury tented camps.

ResRequest mints

Their complimentary ‘Fresh With Flavour’ mints were a treat in the tropical weather and Ntando made sure that he handed them all out to lose any extra baggage for when he jumped on the back of a local boda-boda motorcycle to get back to their hotel! The ride was an experience to say the least, with Jill nearly losing a shoe but they arrived at their hotel in one piece albeit with hearts racing!

Zanzibar was a welcome break from the buzz of Nairobi. The team stayed at Fumba Beach Lodge on the south of island and then Hotel Zanzibar in the east. They worked on a POS system installation and effective management of the ResRequest system by grading all staff members and giving them the appropriate user access.

Their last day was spent in Stone Town meeting with Paola from Next Strategies she had a bunch of questions about using the ResRequest software and Jill and Ntando were happy to assist her and help get her up and running using her system.

The two also attended a couple of Atta networking events, where they got to share drinks and laughs with clients and partners and exchange business cards with suitable prospects.

Dar es Salaam was next on the itinerary to visit with The Selous Safari Company and The Wellworth Group. Jill and Ntando showed the two teams some tips on how to use their ResRequest systems better.

ResRequest also attended The Swahili International Tourism Expo (S!TE) in Dar Es Salaam, which has been running for three years and proved to be beneficial as they had another opportunity to meet with The Wellworth Group, Hotel Zanzibar and Essential Destinations.

 

Arusha was the last stop to meet with prospective clients and made sure that their trip ended on a high with ResRequest welcoming another two East African establishments on board.

After a lengthy trip travelling, visiting four countries, attending three travel shows and visiting numerous customers, it was a successful trip. With weary feet, tired eyes and minds buzzing, the long flight to Johannesburg was a good opportunity to catch up on some necessary sleep, and to turn the aircon as low as it could go!

 

ResRequest goes Google

ResRequest- GoogleSEO, SEM, CPC, CTR. Foreign speak? Not any more thanks to the Google Digital Skills workshop. We attended a workshop hosted by Google as part of their mission to provide digital skills to schools, communities and small businesses to get them online.

The session started with a few words from the South African Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services and his Deputy discussing the importance of internet access and digital skills for all. This was corroborated by the Head of Public Policy at Google, Caroline Hankinson and Head of Google South Africa, Guy Hankinson.

ResRequest- Google

The Google Digital Skills program started 9 months ago and trained 7000 people. These workshops opened school children’s eyes to new career opportunities and community members realised that they can up-skill and then consult. The struggle of SME’s to find customers can be assisted through using digital tools.

The workshop continued into a practical application and we learnt about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), CPC (Cost per click) and CTR (Click through rate) and how to apply these effectively.

ResRequest- Google

The workshop ended with a delicious lunch at the Three Cities Square Hotel. With an increasingly digital world, having a strong online presence is a business asset and one on which we continue to improve.