Accommodation bookings & transport
Screen exposure and content available
We explain how accommodation booking companies expose information about guesthouses and lodges to its users, and how specific changes is being programmed to help our “Key Partners” secure the highest room occupancy.
We will use Paarl, Western Cape for example:
The following research revealed just how much pressure is on business owners to find clients:
https://www.airbnb.com/ (Offer more than 300 accommodation options in Paarl)
https://rsasearch.co.za/Forms/Home/home.aspx (Offer 146 accommodation options in Paarl)
https://www.lekkeslaap.co.za/ (Offer 119 accommodation options in Paarl)
https://www.booking.com (Offer 91 accommodation options in Paarl for the specific time slot we searched)
To be listed on a booking site, or host your own website, does not meen that the internet will provide large numbers of clients.
Internet users do not have time to browse through every option. The Booking.com software will select several accommodation options per price range to expose in the browser.
The selection of accommodation options is also determined by the payment plan the companies choose. Accommodation companies willing to pay larger commission will be introduced to more internet users. Companies pay up to 25% to be on the first 4 pages when people search accommodation in Paarl. (Attached is a letter from Middelplaas Guesthouse in Paarl)
Booking.com also informed guesthouses about an additional Admin fee of 2,1% applicable from 1 October 2019 to collect and manage payments. This in the midst of the current economic challenges accommodation companies face. (Booking.com news letter)
The reality is that internet users will request accommodation from companies they view on their computer. They will start at companies being introduced first, if they are happy with the price being asked. Internet users will not spend 30 minutes to first go through all the options and then start to request if rooms are available. There is a good chance that company number 91 (in example Booking.com) will not be viewed at all.
This platform only benefits Booking.com the best. They earn more commission when companies are under pressure to find clients.
Most people use their phones to search accommodation. The exposure on phones is actually more limited than exposure on a tablet, laptop or computer.
We need to acknowledge that airbnb will in future always play a role in the accommodation industry. It unfortunately has a negative impact on established guesthouses and lodges.
The problem is that many people who are under financial strains will rent out a room to guests. Their costs to service such a room is limited. They do not need to employ staff as guesthouse owners need to do.
Internet users prefer to visit airbnb as they think that their might be great opportunities to find accommodation at lower rates. With more than 300 options in towns such as Paarl, the internet user still has the same problem, that is limited internet time. We also received feedback from guesthouse owners that they struggle with the Airbnb platform. Airbnb cannot help them with the number of rooms available etcetera. Airbnb is developed with the focus on people who want to rent a room to travellers.
Airbnb is by no means a low cost structure that support companies and the public.
Service fees - Hosts.
Airbnb charges hosts a 3 percent fee that covers the cost of processing payments. HomeAway, which owns VRBO.com, charges hosts for listing their homes on the site. People planning to use the site regularly can pay $349 annually to advertise their property and are not charged a commission for each booking
Airbnb charges guests a 5% - 15% fee whenever a reservation is completed to cover company costs. As noted, the guest service fee varies depending on the cost of the subtotal. The more expensive the subtotal, the lower the percentage the service fee.
We understand the challanges well established accommodation companies face as a result of Airbnb. The only way to address the problem is to develop a platform that will use the benefits out of such a platform to the advantage of the “Strategic Accommodation Partners”
Development for our Key Partners and for the rest of the accommodation companies in Paarl.
One thing should be clear when you read about our support plan. We intend to be the lowest priced accommodation option available for internet users, and we want to help Travel Agencies in South Africa and abroad.
We also intend to allow accommodation companies to register without any costs. The well-planned media which we will discuss later will contribute that many accommodation companies and individuals using Airbnb will register their businesses. We will eventually offer the same number of accommodation opportunities as Airbnb.
We therefor need to develop specific structure to ensure that our “Key Partners” will be well protected.
To explain best, we develop a browser on a business model that can be compared to priority boarding passes on airlines. Certain people will get priority where others must wait.
Our “Key Partners” will always be introduced to internet users if they have accommodation available in the required timeslot.
We investigated the business module of Booking.com while we develop the technology. We know that accommodation companies can pay extra for better exposure. We assume that this module might be followed by other accommodation booking platforms as well.
The booking companies understand that the internet user’s time is limited, hence they will prefer to present the companies who are willing to pay more commission first to internet users.
We are a service provider and will if possible, help all the companies in South Africa. We know that the current supply exceeds the demand and all the companies as a result straggle financially.
We hope that the accommodation industry will regain momentum within a short period. We however have a commitment towards our “Key Partners”
The Software structure we develop will always position our partners on the first page when people search for accommodation in a specific area.
It is important to be positioned within the first 20 spots on a landing page. The landing page varies between companies.
Airbnb = 18 ads on landing page
RSASearch = 50 ads on landing page
Lekkeslaap = 10 ads on landing page
Booking.com = 30 ads on landing page
The booking site we develop (rsastay.com) will post 20 ads per landing page. Booking.com prefer larger counts so that they can argue when they ask accommodation companies to pay the 25% commission that companies are positioned on the first pages. They argue this even onto page number 4.
The rsastay.com booking site will not enable companies to pay more for better exposure. Every company will get a chance to be on the first page, even if you are not a “Key Partner”.
Our plan is to always allocate the following positions on the landing page:
First ad (Key Partner)
Second ad (Normal guesthouse)
Third ad (Key Partner)
Fourth ad (Normal guesthouse)
Fifth ad (Key Partner)
Sixth as (Normal guesthouse)
If we use the example where Airbnb support more than 300 accommodation options in Paarl, and if we decide to invite up to 10 “Key Partners” for the area, 290 companies will share the opportunity to receive the First ad. If you are one of these normal companies, you will move down the browser and will eventually be on the last page until it is your turn to take number one again.
Our 10 “Key Partners” will only move between Ad number 2 and Ad number 20 and will always remain on the landing page if they have rooms available. More detail is published on the “Partnership Page”
Content on website & on Enjoy Life phone app that will encourage internet users to support the booking site
We develop the booking website with specific features that we believe will create loyalty amongst users and will also assist the Homecare Foundation in its drive to support frail care patients.
Internet users will be reminded that this website allow business owners to list their companies with the accommodation fees based on the minimum asking prices.
There is so much information that we do not convey to accommodation partners. Some of the information is confidential and other parts is excluded, because it is just to much information.
It will take up to much time to explain what we will for example do to help beauty salons, boutique clothing stores, cycle shops, golf courses, numerous other companies with “Push Notification Technology”
What is important to know is that South Africans will browse through their phones. This will reduce the screen space compared to computers. It is therefore truly important to be exposed on the landing page when phone users search for accommodation in your area.
Enabling users to donate towards caretakers
What will make this booking site unique is the software development where we enable website users to donate towards caretakers, should they decide to help. We will not pressure people to donate. It will however have a positive impact on the project if we manage the process well.
We will start the process by publishing the number of caretakers in the 10 km radius of the accommodation company who are on our platform, the shortfall on budgets we intend to support, and the amount we already raised via numerous fundraising strategies.
The website user will know that the Homecare Foundation is pro-active in its fundraising activities. The website will make it easy for the person to donate if he/she decides to do. They will simply add an amount when they book their accommodation, like when you add insurance for your luggage when you book a flight. The accountants at rsastay.com will transfer the donation on his/her behalf to the Homecare Foundation where the donation will reach the families, he/she intends to help.
Gifts sponsored by the Homecare Foundation out of the Bucket List Fund
The Homecare Board develop different software platforms to support each other in this important project.
The Bucket List software (discussed later in detail) will compete against the National Lottery. The software will generate millions to support our causes.
The costs is viewed as marketing costs, although the Enjoy Life App will almost market itself due to the services provided on the App. It is important to know that our major focus is to explain to people who book accommodation just how much financial support we need to provide to caretakers, and we do this per area as well as the need nationally. We also publish our results.
This will therefore help us to secure donations from the public and it might on a smaller scale help us to receive donations from people abroad. Internet users who book accommodation can, without the need to load the Homecare Foundation's banking details, make small donations via the booking software. They just add the amoiunt they would like to donate onto the form where they book the accommodation.
The funds will also be used to help subsidize accommodation costs of foreigners who are invited back into the country and accommodation costs of South Africans using the app.
Phone users will find a gift box on certain ads of companies. Software will determine which companies will automatically receive these gift boxes. The software focus more on the shareholders. (The way companies are supported is explained later with more detail.)
The gift boxes will give a phone user between 10% and 100% discount. The idea is to provide larger gifts for our “Key Partners”, and the gifts will be funded by the Homecare Foundation.
Business owners can view it as a partnership with for example Lotto. Guest will pay a smaller fee to use their facilities and the balance of the accommodation invoice will be paid by the Homecare Foundaiton out of the Bucket List Fund.
We are preparing for our Pre-Launch which is scheduled for 1 Feb 2020. “Key Partners” will share in R2 million of the R8 million.
The rest of “Key Partners” (second group) participating the in Pre-Launch period will share in R1 million of the Bucket List Fund. R5 million of the Bucket List Fund allocation will go towards funding accommodation costs of foreigners when we re-invite them back for a second visit.
The “Key Partners” will get as close as possible to 90% room occupancy. Gifts will always appear on their ads, and the ads will be on top of the landing pages.
Readers should know that we position the software to be competitive against all the booking support companies offering services in South Africa. We compare it to playing chess. We have to outsmart them from the start by planing our moves in advance. Using other technology and marketing funds will give us the edge to win the game!
When South Africans realize that they often receive 100% discount on accommodation, they will spread the message to friends and family... The Enjoy Life App will be the dominant booking platform. Opposition booking companies will have to dig up solutions that we believe will be a challenge.
Deposits and interest
What makes this project unique is in the way we develop software to support the public as well. We need to ensure that the public will use this booking platform.
Our development team develop a function where each user’s deposit will earn interest on a call account to benefit the client.
The client will be informed about each company’s cancellation policy. Accommodation companies will set-up their own cancellation policies, which will determine when a client can reclaim his/her deposit and what percentage depending on the cancellation period.
We also need to act in the best interest of the client. We heard about people who booked accommodation and when they arrived at the guest-house, it was totally misrepresented on the internet. They then booked into another company but struggle to get their deposit back.
Our commitment will be that the client can pay his/her deposit, and the amount will be held on an investment account with the interest to the benefit of the client.
The client can on arrival use his/her Enjoy Life phone app to release the deposit if he/she is happy with the accommodation offered. (This is if the client did not cancel booking prior to cancellation date) The rsastay.com site will then transfer the deposit plus interest into the accommodation company’s bank account with the interest calculated and will inform the app user what the balance is to pay either at the company or via the rsastay.com platform.
If they cancel the booking on site due to misrepresentation, they can type in a comment on the phone app and find other suitable accommodation in the area via their phones. The deposit plus interest will then be used as partial payment on the other booking. If they book via any other structure, they can claim their deposit plus interest back from rsastay.com
We expect a large number of South Africans to prefer this service as none of the other companies reward them on their own money. They will also feel more protected against possible bad bookings.
This support function will only be possible with advanced software. It will be a nightmare to manage interest on deposits without software specifically designed for this purpose.