Arctic Reservations

Arctic Reservations

Our Blog

Six Months In

We launched Arctic Reservations version 2 a little over six months ago, and it’s been an amazing six months. We were thrilled to welcome a number of new outfitters into the Arctic community at launch time, and they eagerly took to the new version. With their feedback and support, we refined and polished the software.

Version 2 was our chance to reflect on the first seven years of Arctic and redesign the product from the ground up to be more flexible, more powerful and easier to use. For guests, version 2 introduced a fully redesigned checkout process for online bookings that has greatly increased conversions by further simplify the online shopping experience. In addition, we tried to create a more versatile platform so we could quickly adapt to new needs and implement new features.

Already, outfitters have used version 2 to process almost $5 million in transactions and have provided over 50,000 guests with amazing adventures and experiences. We’ve broadened the horizons in terms of outfitter diversity, adding campgrounds, hotels, aquariums, sea kayaking, zip lines and more. And in the midst of this busy season, we have launched a number of new features for version 2. Since launch, we have introduced the following features:

  • Arctic Retail – a full featured point-of-sale terminal, as well as management options for tracking vendors, purchase orders, and more
  • Gift certificates – with the ability to issue and track gift certificates and customer balance
  • Package management – an extremely versatile package management tool where you simply define what qualifies as a package, and then Arctic looks through your calendar to find all possible packages… no need to define each individually
  • Two new report builders – use a spreadsheet interface to layout and format reports like rosters, trip summaries and more, as well as a pivot table interface to aggregate and analyze data for trends
  • E-Check payments – accept electronic checks and ACH transfers online
  • Powerful new programming interface – to help integrate Arctic with other products, we’ve added an API that allows developers to connect, manipulate and update data in Arctic Reservations (see our open source implementation)

These features just scratch the surface of what is possible in version 2. Currently, we are testing new features and will be rolling out many new ideas over the coming months. And we look forward to helping more of our version 1 customers transition to the new version during their off-season.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make Arctic Reservations version 2 such a success. We can’t wait to share what’s next.

Version 2

For the last 18 months, we have been hard at working reimagining the features and functionality of the ideal reservation and customer relations management system. Based on over seven years of experience working with outdoor adventure companies, we wanted to create a new version of Arctic Reservations that truly addresses the needs of adventure outfitters. There are many challenges to managing scheduling and inventory in the industry, such as sharing inventory across trips and rentals, managing permits and compliance, running multi-location businesses, filing waivers, communicating with guests, etc. Arctic Reservations has long been a leading tool for the industry, but we thought we could do it even better.

Version 2 represents that labor come to life. We have worked to create a new version from the ground up that is even easier to use, but able to rise to the complex challenges that many outfitters have to tackle on a day-to-day basis. The new version introduces many powerful features, including:

  • Manage independent business units through one installation. Finances and configurations are kept separate, while reports and data can be run across the whole organization. User accounts can be specific to one business group, meaning reservationist will be able to easily manage the reservations relevant to their focus.
  • Customize forms and reports to add and remove fields as you see fit. It is possible to tailor Arctic Reservations to your exact business needs.
  • Remarkable new design editors. Customize the look and feel of the guest-facing website and emails in seconds – no coding needed.
  • A powerful new inventory engine that allows you to manage and allocate your limited resources across all sectors of your business: tours, rentals, lodging, retail and more. In addition, rental inventory can now be shared with trip inventory, so that you can better manage your scarce resources.
  • Accept online rentals of rooms and equipment.
  • A full retail POS interface and e-commerce store (coming Spring 2013).
  • And much more…We can’t wait to share the hundreds of new features. Email or call to setup a guided tour.

Today we have started setting up the first version 2 installations for some new and for some existing customers. Over the coming weeks, we will be revising the software, creating a public demonstration installation and working to transition more of our existing customers over the new version.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us to schedule a guided tour.

Decrease Paperwork with Electronic Waivers

With an increasing number of guests completing their registration forms online these days, many outfitters have been similarly seeking to move waivers and agreements into an automated electronic format. Arctic Reservations has long offered the ability to get guests to complete their trip waivers online, but we have often recommended using this in conjunction with paper waivers. Due to increased demand for electronic waivers, we have been in contact with some of the large industry insurers to discuss the exclusive reliance on electronic waivers. We are happy to announce that you can now greatly simplify the paperwork and compliance demands by taking advantage of the new e-waiver module in Arctic Reservations.

The e-waiver module offers the following safeguards:

  • The program complies with the requirements of the U.S. Federal ESIGN act, and most state regulatory requirements (please contact us regarding your specific state).
  • Each electronic signature is stored in an encrypted, date-stamped format that is uniquely linked to the original customer.
  • The system can handle waivers for minors, as well as allow users to opt for a traditional paper waiver at any time.
  • All completed waivers are securely stored and are fully retrievable for at least seven years.
Implementing this new module can be a great benefit to office efficiency, as it decreases paperwork, decreases storage space and allows you to expedite trip starts.
Existing customers who are interested in exclusively using electronic waivers should speak with a support representative to learn more about the e-waiver module and the necessary implementation steps.

Arctic Photo Kiosk

Arctic Reservations started with a product for guests to exchange photos following their trip. Capturing and sharing photos of the beautiful and exhilarating moments of a trip allows guests to walk away with a tangible reminder of their experience. Today, we are returning to that original focus by adding a new product to the Arctic family. I am pleased to introduce the Arctic Photo Kiosk software.

The existing photo sharing features built into our reservations have been tailored to multi-day tours, while our latest product aims to bring photography functionality to day-trip outfitters. The Arctic Photo Kiosk software is designed to monetize trip photography by offering a comprehensive solution for processing, organizing and presenting photos to guests.

Throughout the day as guests go out on adventures, let your photo staff and/or guides capture magic moments. Feed these photos into the Arctic Photo Kiosk software, which will touch up, resize and group photos. When guests return from their adventure, they can browse photos either at on-site kiosks or once they return home through a special photo e-commerce website. They can select single photographs, or whole sets, to have digitally delivered, printed or burned to CD. The software will manage everything from initial upload of photos through order fulfillment, including offering comprehensive reporting and extensive customization.

Our on-site hardware makes uploads blazing fast and can power touchscreen kiosks, where guests can browse photos as soon as they return from their adventure. Use HD television screens featuring teaser slideshows to get guests interested in their photographs.

Arctic Photo Kiosks also has a powerful backend, capable of handling hundreds of thousands of photos. We put a lot of effort into creating a robust framework that will enable us to rapidly develop new features both for the photo software, and down the road, in new products.

Arctic Photo Kiosks was initially deployed by a California-based outfitter in the spring, and we saw it’s success as hundreds of orders and thousands of photos were processed in the first months of their season. Today, we are excited to make the software publicly available. For more information, including features and access to a demo e-commerce page, head over to the new Arctic Photo Kiosk product page.

Keep All Client Emails in One Centralized Place

For the last three years, a highlight of my work at Arctic Reservations is facilitating our annual Arctic Summit. This one-day conference provides us an opportunity to connect with the outfitters who use Arctic Reservations. During the Summit, we share updates on features added over the last year and hear input for what new ideas and tools should be prioritized going forward. This input has been invaluable in making Arctic Reservations a intuitive, user-friendly, and innovative system.

At last week’s Arctic Summit, we highlighted new features such as the ability to further integrate Arctic Reservations with social networking sites (sharing reservations, photos, etc.) and new cost modeling tools to analyze operating margins and increase profitability. But we also walked away from the Summit with ideas on improving our system even more, ranging from refining the booking process to managing tasks associated with a trip.

We were especially excited about the prospects of one of these ideas and have already implemented it for all the outfitters using Arctic Reservations. Since Arctic was created, it has kept a detailed email log for easy access to past customer interactions, but only those sent through Arctic Reservations. Now, outfitters can configure Arctic Reservations to also store day-to-day email exchanges with customers no matter what email service they use. Each customer record will have a thorough and detailed history of all interactions, helping outfitters offer exceptional service by tracking all customer feedback and requests. No longer will you have to switch between Arctic Reservations and your email client to look for a message received from a specific customer.

This feature is available on all Arctic Reservations installations under Email > External.

Thanks again to all the customers who attended the Summit. We look forward to implementing more of your feedback in the coming months.

Arctic Reservations at AOA Conference in Reno

Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar. For those who are still interested in learning how technology can boost your business, you can watch the recorded version at your leisure.

For those wishing a more personal and hands-on introduction to Arctic Reservations, we’ll be at the America Outdoors Association Conference in Reno next month. We’ll be in booth 404* providing demos, conversations and most importantly, some peace amidst the trade-show chaos.

For our outfitters currently using Arctic, please stop by! This is a perfect time to take advantage of our referral program. If you bring someone who would benefit from Arctic to our booth and they sign up, your account gets credited on your next invoice.

We also intend to come and cheer you on at the bowling tournament. Also, if you’re feeling extra sneaky, you might try and get us to play for your biggest rival. Three horrific bowlers will be available at the trade-show, and we know how to throw gutter balls like no one else. I’m just saying.

*If you were wondering if there was any connection between our booth number and the 404 “Not Found” error message you get on the internet, please note that we have a distinctly nerdy sense of humor. That being said, we promise you’ll be able to find us at the conference!

How can Arctic Reservations Serve your Business? Find out on November 1

Arctic Reservations was developed by a community of outfitters looking for a technological solution that worked for them and helped them provide amazing experiences for their guests. This community continues to guide the development of Arctic’s comprehensive software packages and we continue to provide intuitive, easy-to-use solutions to administrative and marketing challenges, big and small. Are you wondering if you might be a good fit for Arctic Reservations? Then join us on November 1 at 1:00 pm EDT and find out! We’ll talk about how technology can best grow your business, allow your guests to market for you, and free up your precious time. In addition, we’ll cover common mistakes outfitters make when implementing technological solutions. Many ideas we’ll talk about will be useful no matter what system you use or if you’re not quite ready to make the switch, so everyone can benefit from attending this webinar.

Looking forward to meeting everyone in cyberspace (and thanks to everyone who has already registered!)

Cheers,
Ronda
Director of Business Development

For Arctic Reservations, Fall is When We Start Heating Up!

So far, it’s been a fabulous year at Arctic Reservations and I want to thank all of our outfitters for the suggestions, comments and support you’ve given us. After working on Arctic for the past five years, I’m excited to have the opportunity to grow our community, build on the fantastic software we’ve created together, and enhance business and marketing practices so that you can continue providing amazing experiences for your guests. I have seen the role that technology plays in growing businesses, regardless of the economic climate, and we are continually incorporating new and useful technology into our products so that you are always on the cutting edge of business software.

I’ve brought on two wonderful colleagues so that, as we grow, our customer service, business development and product innovation will continue at the high level of quality you’re accustomed to. Ronda Ansted, our new Business Development Director, is skilled at streamlining processes and ensuring that technology works for people (and not the other way around). Bridgit Welch, our Marketing and Sales Director, has an impressive history of sustainably building a strong customer base, allowing us to build on our solid foundation. The three of us are gearing up for the American Outfitters Association conference in December, and planning a dynamic Arctic Summit for our core outfitters. At our Arctic Summit, you’ll get a sneak peak at upcoming features and learn how to best leverage our tools to your best advantage. More details to come…

In the mean time, check out our new about the company page to meet the team members in more detail.

Yours in adventure,
Nathan

E-mail Triggers, Booking Agents and more

We have rolled out a number of exciting new features in Arctic Reservations over the last several months. We want to briefly highlight some of these new features here:

  • Automatic e-mail triggers – Send invoice reminders, launch reminders and launch follow-up e-mails automatically by creating and configuring custom e-mail triggers. With extensive configuration options, you can custom tailor and send e-mails to specific customers at certain times. Alternatively, automatic e-mails can be saved to the outbox for a quick manual confirmation before sending. This reduces time spent on invoice reminders or launch notifications for office staff, and helps boost customer relations by staying in touch with guests.
  • Booking agent support – Booking agents can now book reservations through the online system. Commissions can be tracked automatically in Arctic for easy reconciliation.
  • Keyword manager – Review, edit and delete the list of keywords being used within Arctic, as well as getting quick access to the customers associated with each keyword.

The above list highlights just a few of the many ongoing changes and improvements we have been working on. In the last year, over 572 updates have been pushed into the live version of the software. With a list of new features in development, we are excited about what’s next and will be highlighting it here soon.

New Module: Complete Reservation

This post is one of a series, highlighting old new features (these are additions to the software that have been made in the last few months, but were never described on the blog). For more information, view the original post.

In the past, one of the most time consuming tasks for reservation staff of rafting and adventure companies has been collecting and entering guest information, either into reports or into their reservation system. This is especially true for overnight trips, where a substantial amount of information is required. Often, the process would require printing forms, postage, waiting for a response and then deciphering the guest’s handwriting to type the information into the reservation system.

A new module for Arctic Reservations, called Complete Reservation, helps cut down on waiting time to collect such vital guest information and, more importantly, saves your reservation staff time in terms of having to enter that information. Once a guest has booked a reservation, the staff simply sends them an e-mail containing all the trip details and the invoice. The e-mail will include a personalized invitation URL, that will allow the guest to visit the company’s website and fill in all their guest information.

All this works through the My Module functionality of Arctic Reservations, which allows you to integrate Arctic with your company website. Through an extensively customizable template system, the website will match the design of the rest of your site. In addition to booking new reservations and sharing photos, this website can be used by guests to access trip details, download invoices and liability agreements and enter all needed personal/group details.

Details entered automatically appear in the appropriate customer record, and a notification appears on the home page log, allowing you to review the details and ensure that all information is correct.

The information collected can range from basic details (contact information), to extensive food preferences and emergency contact information. And the module can be configured to collect different information for different trips.

Of course, due to the variety of group types (families, couples, groups of friends), the module seeks to accommodate all configurations. For families, most details entered are common to all guests (such as contact information). While, for a group of friends, each person can fill in their own details. And the primary contact can view who still needs to enter their information, and even send them a personalized link to the website as well.

This new module will help increase efficiency and help ensure all guest details are accurately collected, while freeing up office staff to pursue new reservations, instead of spending time collecting data. If you are interested in trying this new module or adding it to your installation, contact a sales representative.