Connect your rooms, rates, and availability from ResRequest to online travel platforms so you can sell Direct, via OTAs, and via Travel Agents. Connecting to these online travel platforms is valuable as they specialise in electronic marketing and selling your rooms.
ResInsite takes your ResRequest data and transforms it into pre-built tourism charts. Developed and supported by Travel Trackers, this application is ideal for business stakeholders who need to see business trends and make decisions that improve operations and increase revenues.
Our Team in 2021
Even though this has been one of the most challenging years since Y2K, there is one thing all of us in tourism can agree on… bring on 2022!
To keep us sane until 2022 we’ve put together a 2021 collage. There were highlights, lowlights, tears, and laughs. We hope you enjoy this wrap-up as much as we do.
We were devastated that most conferences and exhibitions were cancelled again but we enthusiastically participated in several online webinars, and we launched our own Web Series.
Our Web Series included guest speakers from the tourism industry and our own powerful panelists. If you missed out, or if you loved them so much you would like to watch them again, visit our Webinar page for links to the recorded sessions.
Vaccination rollouts gained momentum mid-year with most of our team only being eligible to travel in the last quarter. Once travel protocols were in place we dusted off ResRover, popped on a mandatory mask, and started trekking to client sites from Kruger to Kenya.
Most of our team are based in Durban and were impacted by the bizarre looting in July. As part of our healing process, we celebrated Heritage Day in September by reminding ourselves what makes life in South African lekker.
We too have been affected by the Covid churn in the recruitment marketplace with some team members opting for full-time parenting, lie-flatting, and career changes. This drove us to re-work processes and increase automation – while our remaining team picked up the extra workload – these guys are the tourism industry’s true superheroes!
We also found some great new talent. We welcomed Ivan to our Professional Services team and Joami joined our UI, UX, and Digital Marketing team.
As tourism markets reopen, our HR department is looking for strong, skilled candidates to regrow our team. Visit our online Join Our Team page to find out more about positions available.
Our People, Our Culture
We took some time to recognize the hard work our team has put in the last year and a half. Our team members had the opportunity to nominate each other for going above and beyond and we had a lucky draw, with 5 double tickets to Dune up for grabs.
Sadly we had to postpone our first ResPlex movie drive-in due to the arrival of Omicron, but that didn’t stop us from watching our selected movie from the comfort of our respective homes.
After the Durban looting on top of a new Covid wave, our HR team concluded that we needed more than a one-day holiday for our health and well-being. With the aid of Gordon Goose, we received this welcome medicine.
Credit to Gordon Goose for production content.
With Covid forcing us to be socially distanced and locked indoors, we got our social groove on by converting our ResFit programme into smaller ResFit Clubs. Our Cliquer Club (“Where we just Click”) thrilled us with weekly photos where they put into practice some of the skills being taught by our certified photographer, Jaco.
Our Foodies Club had us drooling with posts of scrumptious meals and delights. Our Hiking Club attempted several excursions and our Jedi Council and had some heated and controversial debates. Here are some of the artwork and experiences we shared.
This year taught us so much about being grateful. While it was one of our most challenging years as a team, we gave to others in need. Here is a highlights reel of our 2021 givebacks.
We salute our team mascots Maggie and Violet for being such an integral part of our culture.
From us to you, we wish your every bed-night is filled, as the post-Covid tourism boom promises.
May your lodges fill up and may all your seasons be bright!
Have a healthy and happy Christmas and New Year.
For information on any of our products and services, or to simply wish us a jolly-good Christmas, feel free to Contact Us.
In November we established our new Professional Services Department to meet a growing need for business-level consultation and address how ResRequest fits into your business processes.
This department is strategically positioned to assist you with business consultation, with this team also responsible for implementations and data restructure projects.
“Our objective is to provide high-level consultation to ResRequest customers that will maximise their business efficiencies and revenues through the use of our produts and services,” says Albert Smith, Professional Services Manager.
By consulting with clients and working with developers where applicable, this new department will help you customise and optimise ResRequest in your business.
Introducing the Tourism Reboot Package
“We have seen clear indications that markets are reopening and we can help you prepare for the rebirth of tourism in your market,” says Albert.
To kick off the new year our Professional Services Team is offering a ‘Tourism Reboot Package’, intended to be the launchpad to give your business efficiencies and booking volumes a boost.
The Tourism Reboot Package includes the following:
- A full system audit and report on ResRequest modules not being utilised or needing attention.
- An audit and review on your agents, including historical performance, commission structures, and where to focus your relationship-building efforts.
- A review of functionality not being used that should be incorporated into your processes.
- Consulting sessions to:
- Formulate your Operating Procedures and recommend process optimisations.
- Review reporting being used and build/adjust reports.
- Review your current online sales strategy and connections.
If required additional services can be assessed, and quoted. These include:
- Rebranding/updating of your ResRequest public pages and documentation.
- Training sessions for new staff and existing staff needing a refresher.
This package is a fixed fee of $1050 with 30-hours of consultation over an eight-week period. Sign up before 31 January 2022 for a 10% discount.
If you are as eager to prepare for the market upswing as we are – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of our Professional Services team (below) will be in touch.
tourism.today – travel trends the tourism industry needs.
Safari Analytics, Pomerol Partners’ African office, has partnered with technology systems including ResRequest, Benson, Hospitality Technology International (HTI), and Protel, to create tourism.today, a collection of highly intuitive interactive charts that show travel trends and tourism recovery as it happens.
tourism.today takes aggregated and anonymised data and plots booking trends in Africa. The data is extracted from participating technology systems and plotted on interactive charts to highlight travel patterns including what markets are opening and which source markets are the most active. The information is based on bed nights, yield trends, created dates, and originating countries.
Tom Imrie is a Pomerol Partners Africa Senior Consultant, and one of the founders of tourism.today. Tom says they saw an opportunity to help African destinations recover from the global pandemic by understanding source market trends by looking at real data. “We wanted to build charts from live data that could help African buyers and suppliers see where tourism was coming from and when those markets would be travelling,” says Tom. “It was important to us that the data give the tourism industry crucial information and market buying patterns like length of stay, lead time, and average purchase rates.”
“This information will help tourism markets with their marketing and rate strategies both during and beyond Covid,” says Ntando Bhengu, new Business Development Manager at ResRequest, one of the participating technology providers.
tourism.today is designed to equip groups including property owners, travel agents, tourism boards and associations, and charter companies with real-time charts that show travel trends impacting Africa to better inform their sales and marketing strategies.
If producing content-rich, interactive itineraries that inspire your guests to travel is key for you, WETU is your answer!
WETU is the place to store and distribute your content for and to your travel partners, and it’s a quick way to get noticed. It only starts there, imagery and videos stored in WETU that are relevant to bookings are automatically added to your WETU itinerary, making your customer eager to convert.
Here is our favourite part… You can create a gorgeous WETU itinerary from ResRequest in seconds, with an easy ResRequest integration. In two clicks, your sales team can open their ResRequest booking, in WETU.
Paul de Waal, WETU CEO believes technology doesn’t sell travel, great content does. “You have a small window of opportunity to engage and communicate with your customers using your best content. Travel is back on everyone’s mind and this is the time for suppliers to be putting their best foot forward with their best content so that what we see is worth selling,” says Paul.
Launched in 2009, WETU came to be after Paul saw a massive opportunity to help the travel industry store, organise and share its content.
Today the WETU platform seamlessly, efficiently and quite beautifully arranges, organises and curates the complex, complicated world of different languages, cultures, time zones, suppliers – all perfectly wrapped up in a variety of streamlined itineraries, brochures and catalogues.
“People are bombarded with information, they want one place to go to that they can trust with accurate, informative and exciting content”, Paul explains.
How WETU can help you
- Centralised access to all your content
- Interactive itineraries bring that rich content to convert prospects
- Professional presentations that impress and inspire
- Centralised curation, storage and distribution for all your best content
- Exposure to over 200,000 global trade visitors to the Content Portal
- Digital tools such as iBrochures, itineraries, catalogues, APIs and file sharing to optimise your marketing and B2B collaborations
“It’s time to get intentional with what you put out in the world,” says Paul. “Suppliers who load their best-quality content to WETU are the ones that stand out from the sea of same and really leverage our incredible trade reach.”
Let the numbers speak for themselves
WETU has 1396 itinerary building clients (50+countries) and is available in 15 different languages. WETU statistics from January 2020 (before Covid):
- 550 000 unique visitors accessed content
- 69 000+ itineraries built
- 600 000+ itinerary views
Take a look at some WETU itineraries
Did you know that 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide? So it’s fundamental to have a social media presence for your hotel because of the huge potential in this space.
Guests today not only use search engines but also troll social media to make informed decisions about their next vacation. Looking through online reviews and posts from other travelers to help guide their decision as to whether or not they will book with your accommodation or not. Hence it’s essential that you have a solid social media marketing strategy that will entice guests to frequent your accommodation and also recommend you on social media.
So just posting random content and pictures will surely do the trick, right? The answer to this question is an emphatic, NO! Managing your accommodation’s social media is beyond ‘just posting’.
If this is your first time creating a strategy for social media or perhaps you want to rethink your approach, then you can read our previous blog post that guides you through 5 ways to improve your social media strategy.
This blog post will help you discover ways that you can better engage with your audience and help you increase your exposure through social media.
Have you ever felt ignored? Right or wrong, it creates a negative association that stays with you, and chances are you are reminded of it when you see that person again or even hear their name. The same applies when guests leave a comment on your social platforms and there’s no response.
A golden rule that all social media marketers should follow and never break is, ‘you must respond to all comments made on your page’. Even if you have a few hundred followers, never break this rule. Engagement is key, and if you want to position your brand positively, respond to all comments, but also ensure that your response time is quick.
This is often the most overlooked aspect of social media marketing. Make use of high-quality photos across all your social media platforms because this will convey consistency, professionalism and sets a good reputation for your brand. Highlight your guestrooms, restaurant decor, food, wildlife, show pictures of your guests enjoying their experience (make sure to get consent from your guests before posting), and perhaps even tagging your guests on social media, this will increase your exposure and family and friends of the guests will take notice and hopefully plan a trip to your accommodation in the new future.
Stay engaged on your platforms, and use high-quality photos to accurately depict local attractions and essential features your accommodation may offer, which will in turn easily influence search results.
Hashtags play an important role in improving your brand’s visibility and help grab attention on your social media platforms. A hashtag helps to highlight the social media post to the audience. Hashtags have no boundaries, so people from all over can connect to you without any barrier.
Influencer marketing is a profound way to reach new audiences and boost your brand awareness. Most travellers in this era are young and tech-savvy, and leveraging partnerships with travel influencers can help hoteliers reach a wider audience and boost engagement and bookings.
Research shows that today’s consumers trust peer recommendations over and above all other forms of marketing, so making use of social media influencers can be of great benefit to your brand.
The added benefits are that most influencers are on highly visual platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, and these are excellent sources for compelling and engaging content. Partnering with an influencer can be a cost-effective method to boost your content creation thereby having a direct impact on your online social presence.
There are many ways to skin this cat, and there’s no holy grail when it comes to social media marketing and each approach and strategy will differ from brand to brand within the same industry. So finding the right strategy will involve trial and error, but the most important thing to remember is to be consistent and follow through with all interactions on your platforms.
For most people, 2020 sucker-punched us and bumped us around like some traumatic roller coaster ride. For a select few (Zoom stakeholders, Amazon investors, introverts), this insane calendar year had much better outcomes. Albeit that we had different results this year, there is one thing we can all agree on…
With 2020 just about over, it’s time to catch a breath and reflect on our wins and, for us in tourism, prepare for a much-welcome recovery.
We rebooted our team wellness programme, ResFit, with a fun emoji theme. We added elements for Family (including those with fur, fin, and feathers), Earth, Interests, Tech, Sport, and Give Back. We’ve included some favourites for you from our ResFit gallery.
Changing to working from home came with challenges but our team consciously continued to participate and connect with each other by meeting virtually and sending regular personal messages and stunning selfie posts through our internal chats.
We prepared our office according to Covid guidelines but we have not yet been able to head back. Each time we’re about to reintroduce office working, we hear of another spike in Covid cases. So instead we converted our office into temporary digs for a few staff. We are looking forward to introducing some safe in-person collaboration – especially since our superheroes desperately need access to ResCafe!
At the beginning of the year we learned the importance of filling our Superheroes with coffee. Of course our heroes need more than ordinary coffee, we organised a special brew of vibranium-based espresso.
DEFN: Vibranium (/vaɪˈbreɪniəm/) A Marvel Comics metal, noted for its extraordinary abilities to absorb, store, and release large amounts of kinetic energy.
Our secret is that our coffee machine is made of vibranium so when you get the chance to drop by the ResCafe, we look forward to filling your cup with a vibranium-boosted espresso.
Community Give Back
We continued to Give Back to communities around us, by donating furniture to a local residential home, The Horizon Farm Trust.
With budgets being under strain we looked for Give Back projects that could help communities, using resources we already had at our disposal. With everyone spread far and wide we had to put some interesting collection plans in action. Our team rose to the logistics challenges and managed to collect outfits for the Princess Project, odd socks for the Odd Sock Project and unused reading glasses for the Bright Sight Project.
We supported an anti-poaching initiative by purchasing Great Plains anti-poaching Covid-19 masks, which we used as staff prizes in our virtual team building socials held during Covid lock down.
Our Social Bees were buzzing as usual and we kicked off the year with a braai at the ResPlex, where in true ResRequest fashion, we shared in laughter, fun, and food.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day dressed in red, and coordinated our annual Easter egg hunt event pre-lockdown. Little did we know that we would never get to run around the ResPlex looking for the loot, as lockdown effectively put an end to our plan. But anyway, we still look good in red!
Once lockdown and working from home became the norm our Social Bees made sure that our team stayed connected, arranging virtual team-builds with loads of quizzes, keyboard-pictionary, and the odd virtual workout. As lockdown levels lifted we headed to the beachfront for a community walk. This was perfect for our team to reconnect with one another, and adhere to social distancing norms.
Taking care of ourselves
We preempted the first phase of lockdown with an option to start working from home before the official announcement was made. The balance of our team moved off-site the week of lockdown and we transitioned to a fully work from home-based setup. Lockdown came with its own challenges. Many of us were negatively impacted by personal losses, moving home and becoming ill, we recognised we were under unprecedented pressure.
Through our team’s Discovery Medical Aid, we implemented an Employee Assistance Programme. The EAP programme helped our team individually with legal advice, counselling for those in need and financial planning. It also equips our HR team with a health-check. This helps our team direct the right training and conversations to keep our team-health as high as possible, especially during such a challenging time.
Our Social Bees and HR teams also stepped in to keep our team connected with “Grab a sundowner and chill” virtual socials.
Recognising our health and well being were taking strain, our HR team made an important call, announcing our first “ResRequest Public Holiday” on 25 September. This gave our team a 4 day weekend, which was much needed after many months of stress and worry.
In addition to keeping our minds healthy, we put in some effort with some gym sessions arranged virtually by our awesome PhysEd trainer, Rudolf Krige.
We welcomed new Superheros with new superpowers
There is always a high level of excitement when a new superhero joins the team. We can’t wait to find out what superpowers they will add to the mix. It was with much excitement that we welcomed Tracey as our first-ever HR superhero, Sheldon joined our first line of defense against the dreaded bugs as a Tester, and Rory and Justin (our own Batman and Robin father-son team) joined our Strategic Development and Product Maintenance Team.
We wrapped up our year in Wonderland
For the first time ever we held our year end Christmas wrap-up virtually (sniff!). We reflected over the year and peeked into 2021, in ‘Alice-Through-The-Looking-Glass’ fancy dress. What we saw is a future of hope and possibilities.
Similar to when Alice said: “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then,” we realised that we might not be able to eradicate the world’s Covid problems, but what we promise to do, is to be the best version of our new selves.
This has been a challenging year for those of us in tourism and so our wish for you is that you and your family celebrate a very Merry Christmas together, and that your 2021 is bright!
COVID-19 has certainly made most of us navigate this world with much fear and trepidation. From the paranoia of going to the grocery store to even the anxiety of leaving our homes out of fear of somehow being exposed to COVID. The tourism industry was undoubtedly hit the hardest with travel restrictions placed upon most / if not all countries across the globe. Since then we have seen a gradual lifting of those regulations and so responsible tourism has taken on an entirely new emphasis as we turn our attention to the most effective ways to enable our economies to recover from the fallout of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
To adjust to the “new normal”, the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) together with health experts and other leading associations are working together to achieve effective recovery protocols by developing meaningful action plans that optimise sector-wide recovery efforts, according to the WTTC.
The WTTC aims to publish protocols in phases for the following industries including; Hospitality, Attractions, Outdoor Retail, Aviation, Airports, Short Term Rentals, Cruise, Tour Operators, Convention Centres, and MICE, Car Rental and Insurance. Each set of protocols takes into consideration the guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By implementing these action plans the WTTC aims to standardize safe travel by developing new global standards and a stamp that allows travellers to identify businesses and destinations that are adopting world-class health and strict hygiene protocols.
To obtain a Safe Travel stamp, countries and their destinations will have to share their protocols with the WTTC, who will then validate that they are in line with the WTTC guidelines.
By following these protocols companies are eligible for a safety stamp that you can display proudly on your website, thereby providing travellers with confidence that your destination has taken all steps to ensure they travel safely.
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.