Arctic Reservations

Arctic Reservations

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The Seedy Truth About C.R.I.M.E.

It’s happened again… Those little surprise accounts… You run your reports and there they are. A few accounts you don’t recognize. Reporting, but from where? Why? What was that for? The memory is foggy. You just can’t quite figure it out. You’ve been bamboozled… You’ve been hustled… You’ve just had an experience with C.R.I.M.E. (Crummy Random Irritating Mystery Entries) perpetrated by your own staff, maybe even yourself. Commence the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Once you have collected yourself and gotten over the shock of the C.R.I.M.E.’s committed against you, know that Arctic is here to save the day. That’s right, Arctic has added a new feature to help fight C.R.I.M.E.

Invoice Editing Restrictions

Ideally, invoices reflect charges and fees of activities and retail items as they were set up, and those are in turn reported to the specific accounts they are assigned to. This removes the need to directly edit these charges on the invoices themselves, and keeps things well organized and trackable. Arctic does all the work. Reporting works well. This is the recommended approach for activities and retail items. This is L.E.G.A.L. (Legitimate Entry Good Accounting Love).

For all of those charges that fall outside the norm and can not be handled by the default pricing levels and discount rules, item templates are the solution. Using item templates is a wonderful way to help your record keeping by giving you a reliable accounting structure when a specific charge or fee is added. This also keeps things organized and trackable. Again, Arctic does all the work and reporting works well. This is the recommended approach for these types of miscellaneous charges and discounts. This is also L.E.G.A.L.

When a miscellaneous charge is added directly to an invoice not using an existing item template and an account is not specified by the user adding the charge, Arctic will do its best to account for the the funds associated with the new charge. However, this gives Arctic insufficient data to accurately track the funds and the account where they should go, which leads to the creation of a new account. Arctic does its best with the data it is given, but unless an account is explicitly selected, new accounts will appear. It’s trackable, but messy. This is not recommended. In fact, this is a C.R.I.M.E.

In an effort to fight C.R.I.M.E., Arctic has instituted invoice editing restrictions that prevent users from being able to add custom charges and discounts or directly edit activity charges on invoices. Super users and administrators can still add custom charges and discounts as well as directly edit activity charges on invoices.

In the war on C.R.I.M.E., Arctic has been deputized to keep your accounting structure S.A.F.E. (Secure Accurate Fit and Effective).  As the new Sheriff in town, Arctic has automatically implemented the new restrictions on your installation.

However, if you would prefer to police your data entry on your own and wish to allow your users to edit invoices and are not worried about having rigidly clean accounting, you may tell Arctic that you do not want it to fight C.R.I.M.E. on your behalf.  To relieve Arctic of its badge, you can change the settings to allow users to add custom charges and discounts and directly edit activity charges on invoices.

To disable the new restrictions, head over to the “Settings” page under the “Invoicing” section and click the “Pencil” icon next to “Restrict Editing.”

On the “Configure” page, there are two settings. One for custom items and discounts, and one for activity charges. You may disable one or both of the restrictions per your preference.

Once you have set your preferences, click “Save Settings” to save your changes.

If you have any questions about Arctic’s war on C.R.I.M.E., feel free to contact support and we will be happy to help. In the meantime, know that Arctic is doing all we can to keep your accounting structure S.A.F.E.

Ten New Features You May Have Missed

Over the last year, Arctic has introduced many new features as part of our regular and ongoing updates. We try to announce new features on Twitter, but we know that it can be easy to overlook those updates, especially in the bustle of the busy season. So we want to highlight some updates, big and small, that you may have not have noticed.:

1. Moving payments

It is now possible to move credit card and e-check payments between invoices. This can come in especially handy, if you have a group leader who uses the group booking link to make a second reservation for themselves despite the fact they already have one and just needed to make a payment. (We’ve all been there. 😁) Now you can easily move the payment from the second reservation to their first reservation without any fuss.

You can find out more about how to move credit card and e-check payments in the the new documentation on the feature.

2. Moving reservations in and out of group reservations

Oh yeah, you’re excited now. No more acrobatics to fix reservations of guests who somehow managed not to use the group booking link to make their reservation. (I think I hear singing. 😋) AND you can also easily move a reservation out of a group if someone will not be able to go with their group, but wants to reschedule rather than cancel.

Check out the documentation for more about this awesome feature.

3. Notices in the toolbar emails and activity log notices

In an attempt to make it easier to know when you have emails or activity log notices that require attention, we have added notices for both of these things to the top toolbar of your Arctic installation.

Now, you can tell, at a glance, if there are any emails or log notices that require attention and easily access them by click the notices shown above.

4. Emoji support

Arctic now supports Emoji’s for emails, notes, trip descriptions, item descriptions etc. So express yourself! 😻 😹 🙀 🙉 🙈 🙊

5. Find item template usage

Ever wonder how many of a particular discount were given or how many of a particular item charge or fee were added to an invoice? Well now you can easily get usage information for each item template.

To check the usage for an item template, go to the “Settings” page under “Invoicing” and click the “Pencil” next to “Manage Item Templates. On the “Browse Item Templates” page, choose “Find Usage” from the “Tool” menu next to the item template of your choice.

 

6. Overview report enhancements

The overview Report has received a few upgrades that are super helpful. First you can now drill down into the figures shown on the report to see the relevant records that make up the figure shown in a particular cell. Also the overview Report now displays add on information. This will allow you to see how many optional items and add-ons you sold during the season so you can hone your offerings by focusing on the things that are the most popular.

7. Manage and clean old retail terminals

If you have old and unused retail terminals on your installation, Arctic recently added the ability for you to be able to remove them. To remove an unused terminal, go to the “Retail” menu and choose “Terminals”. On the “Browse Terminals” page, click “Delete” next to any terminal you wish to remove.

 

8. Booking agent access to registration and waivers

Now booking agents can login to their guest portal to see all of their active bookings. From the guest-facing site, the booking agent can invite guests to register and sign waivers. Or if they prefer a more “white glove” approach, they can complete their guest registrations and download waivers to send to their guests for paper signatures. The booking agents can also pay their invoices online as well.

For more information on guest portals for booking agents, check out the documentation on the new feature.

9. Provide a PDF as the paper version of your online waiver

Arctic has now added the ability for you to upload your own PDF version to use as the paper waiver for each online waiver you create in the system. This allows you to control the layout and design of paper waiver rather than relying on the Arctic generated PDF for those guests who prefer to return a paper waiver rather than signing online.

To upload a PDF to use as the paper version of your waivers, go to the “Settings” page under “Online Waivers” and click the “Pencil” next to “Manage Waivers”. On the “Browse Waivers” page, choose “Edit” next to the waiver for which you wish to upload a PDF.

On the “Update Waiver” page, scroll down under the waiver content box to the “Paper Version” section and choose “Upload” and then select the PDF file you want to use.

Once the file is selected, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Submit” to save your changes.

10. Easily create multiple trip start times per day

We have added the ability to easily create multiple start times per day when creating trips. To use this feature, go to the “Create Many” page and choose “Multiple Start Times Per Day” and then enter each time the trip runs.

These are just some of the great features we have added recently and we are always adding more; so don’t forget to keep checking our Twitter feed where we announce all of our most recent updates and newest features.

If you have any questions about any of the features showcased above or need anything else, be sure to contact support, we are always happy to help.

Arctic Reservations at AOA Conference in Daytona Beach

Arctic will be attending the American Outdoor Association Conference this year in Daytona Beach. As usual, we will have a booth (#319) and love the opportunity to talk with outfitters from near and far. Whether you are new to Arctic, a long-time user or just vaguely know what Arctic is, stop by our booth and say hello.

For existing users, we have some one-on-one time slots where we can help provide guidance on getting the most out of your software. Look for our newsletter to reserve such a time slot.

And for outfitters considering Arctic for their reservation management needs, we can provide a guided walkthrough of the software, showing how it may support your business’s needs.

In light of the venue for this year’s conference and the damage done by Hurricane Matthew, Arctic will be donating to the American Red Cross and Roots of Development to aid in the recovery in Haiti, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

New Usage Management Features

We have been excited to see our outfitters embrace video and photo sharing and using new email notifications to maintain closer contact with guests. We want to continue to encourage use of these features, but they place a substantial burden on the system with close to a million photos and hundreds of hours of video being stored today. As a result, we will need to introduce usage-based pricing to help cover the increased load generated by particularly large collections of photos and emails. Starting on January 1, 2017, Arctic Reservations will be introducing usage-based pricing. The majority of outfitters will see no change in their monthly charges. All affected outfitters have already received email notifications and can see estimated charges on their invoices. For those that do see an additional usage charge, we aim to keep the pricing manageable and will be adding some new tools to help you reduce usage as needed or desired.

When the new usage tools go live, you will be able to access them by going to the “Settings” page under “General Settings” and clicking the “Pencil” icon next to “Usage”.

Step 1

On the “Usage” page, Arctic will display all of your current usage statistics. At the bottom of the page, you will find two buttons, a “Clean Social Sites” button and a “Clean Photos For Sale” button.

Step 2

When you click either of these buttons, you will be able to specify a date and Arctic will remove all social sites or photos for sale for trips prior to the date that you entered. By default, Arctic will choose a date one year prior to the current date. You can alter the date to be any date you prefer.

Step 3

Once you have selected your date, you will be able to then review your date selection before permanently deleting the social sites or photos for sale.

Note: Once the photos or social sites have been cleaned, they cannot be recovered. All content will be permanently deleted.

As mentioned, these tools are still in development but should be live by the end of the month to give any effected outfitters plenty of time to manage your usage before the usage-based pricing takes effect in January. We will announce when the new usage management feature goes live, so keep an eye on our Twitter feed on your dashboards.

With the usage tools provided, you will be able to easily maintain your usage within an acceptable range of expense for your installation. If you have any questions about the usage-based pricing or how to use the usage management tools when they go live, please feel free to contact support and we will be happy to help.

Arctic’s New Cross Promote Feature

cross-promoteRecently, we launched a cross-promotion feature that provides a simple way to help guests identify other potential activities or services of interest, and to increase online sales. The cross promote feature allows you to highlight additional trips, rental items and e-commerce categories once a guest has added an item to his or her cart. With this feature you can, for instance, cross promote camping or cabin rentals with your rafting or zipline trips. You can also promote an e-commerce category that includes guide books, maps, and waterproof bags that you offer in your e-commerce stores to help guests prepare for their upcoming trip. You can even cross promote other tours. For instance, you can suggest a zipline or rock climbing tour in addition to the rafting trip already selected by the guest.

This feature allows you to suggest other offerings to the guest during their online visit by making them aware of the other services or items that you provide that are complimentary to their current selection. The cross promote feature works differently from the package feature in that no discount is required to be offered on any of the activities that are cross promoted, and you can use it to promote e-commerce categories.

When using the cross promote feature, keep in mind that you do not want to promote too many other options as this can overwhelm guests with choices and may hurt conversion rates for guests moving through the checkout process. I would recommend adding no more than three options to any given trip, rental item or retail item. Also note, if you are using the package feature, you should avoid selecting the same items to cross promote as both will be displayed and may be confusing.

For more information on how to use the new cross promote feature check out the support documentation and, of course, feel free to contact support with any questions.

The Great Procrastinator Hunt

Today I want to point out one of the new email features that has been added to Arctic which will help ensure you get all the needed information and forms from guests. We have recently added a new email trigger option called “Before Trip – Missing Details”. This trigger option will allow you to specifically target guests who are missing registration information or have not signed their waivers.

Img 1

You all know what a chore it can be to collect all of the necessary information and how much time and energy it takes from you and your staff to track down guests who have not filled out their forms. This trigger will help with that. Now, you can allow Arctic to automatically message your procrastinating guests and urge them to complete their registration and waiver before arriving. You can create as many of these triggers as you need.

The beauty of the “Before Trip – Missing Details” trigger is that it will only be sent to guests who are either missing registration information, have not signed their waivers, or both, depending on how you configure it.

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This means you are not bothering the guests who completed their forms months ago when they made their reservations — your audience will only be the procrastinators. The “oops, it slipped my mind procrastinators” will most likely complete their forms after the first trigger but the “procrastinators of epic proportions” will get as many reminders as you care to generate. You might not want it to look like the scene out of Harry Potter where there are letters everywhere and owls overpopulating the neighborhood, but then again, for the really bad procrastinators that might be what it takes. 😛

Each “Before Trip – Missing Details” trigger can be worded specifically because your target audience will only be the guests who are missing details. Each subsequent reminder can also have the tone increase in urgency as the trip start dates get closer.

Bottom line; this will be a great way to remind your guests to complete their forms which should reduce the amount of paperwork that has to be completed upon arrival so your operations can run smoothly for you and your guests. And best yet, Arctic is doing the heavy lifting and will seamlessly and effortlessly track down your wayward procrastinators for you. It’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

The results are in…

The results are in and your votes have been tallied. Given the number of different ideas developed internally and suggested in our interactions with our faithful outfitters (that would be you), the survey gave us a great way to get everyone’s input to help us focus our ongoing development to ensure new features are as widely useful as possible and we continue our tradition of being a user driven software. Based on the survey results, our priorities for the new features in the coming months will be on the following functionality.

So without further ado here is the 2016 development plan! (And the crowd goes wild… Ok, so that’s overboard, but you should be excited.

  • More accounting reports, including cash flow projections: This was the most requested feature and is something that we will address soon. We have a number of new reports already in the works, including a cash flow report, a minor update to the end of day balance report and new reporting features to more easily access important date ranges. And, although not exactly an accounting report, based on conversations with outfitters at the AO conference, we will be introducing a report akin to the overview report from Version 1.
  • Revamped discount and promotions (easier setup, e-commerce support, more control): The current system for managing discounts and promo codes, although functional, has some key limitations and is not entirely intuitive. We are going to work to improve this process by creating a more streamlined interface, adding support for one-time use codes (like those used by Groupon or LivingSocial), adding support for better per-guest promotions, adding support for per-add-on discounts and expanding discounts to other areas, such as photo sales and e-commerce sales.
  • Up-sell items online, such as recommending additional trips or retail items when reserving a trip: Outfitters have expressed an interest in being able to cross-promote items on the guest-facing site. For day trip operators, this may mean suggesting complimentary trips or camping sites, while for other outfitters, this may mean promoting retail goods that will be useful during the trip. We are planning a cross-promotion feature that allows defining related and recommended items that will be shown after adding an activity or item to the cart.

We are tremendously excited about these new features, as well as some other ones that we have been working on internally, that will be launching over the coming months. We expect some of the features to be available in the very near future and we are aiming to have versions of all of them ready at the beginning of the summer season. We will continue to refine and polish the features as they are deployed.

We’ll call out some of the features in our newsletter and blog, but we recommend following our Twitter feed, as we provide timely notifications of new features and other important updates. (By default, our tweets appear on the Arctic dashboard.) If you have been following our feed recently, we are highlighting a number of updates that were recently deployed. It’s a great way to learn about new features and tools in the system.

 

AOA 2015 – What a Crazy Ride!

As many of you know, we just completed three whirlwind days at the American Outdoor Association’s annual conference in beautiful Salt Lake City. We had an excellent time and saw many familiar faces, which is always fun. We also had a fair number of new outfitters approach us, due in large part to the high praise and word of mouth referrals you all provide, for which we are truly appreciative.

As many of you saw, our booth was a bustle of activity from before the show opened until well after they drove us out. 🙂 We were excited to hear your feedback and ideas, as well as to hear some of the inventive ways some of you are using Arctic. Each outfitter has done a tremendous job of taking and making Arctic their own.

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s conference, we always want to hear from you so be sure you pass along your feedback for future features in your 2016 Development Priorities Survey. The survey will be open through the end of the month. After the new year, we will tabulate the surveys and summarize some of the key trends and priorities that we anticipate going forward. In the meantime, as expressed before, we hope that you all have a great holiday and wonderful new year.

Tis the Season to Optimize…

As some of your seasons are slowing down and some of your seasons have yet to kick into high gear, now is the opportune time to look at tweaking your Arctic configurations or incorporating features you haven’t previously been using or refining your use of the features you are already using. Whether you are looking to clean up your account structure for more efficient bookkeeping, implement packages, begin accepting on online waivers or tweak your evaluation forms, we are here to help.

All of these features will help you manage your business and customer relations through Arctic more efficiently and successfully. Most of these optimizations are small tweaks and can be done simply but if you want to throughly clean house and get the most bang for your Arctic buck, then you may want to consider an on-site consultation. With an on-site consultation, one of our staff will visit your office, learning about the specific challenges you face and giving you guidance on the best ways to use Arctic Reservations to help with marketing, sales and operations.

Now is also the time to ask those nagging questions and get advice about things that may not have gone as smoothly as you wanted them to this last season. If you feel like there are gaps in your reservation or rental process, let us know what your challenges are. Most of the time we can provide multiple options for handling the challenges presented from your particular business and then you can choose the one that works best for you and your staff.

Remember the “?” is your friend. Send in your requests and let’s optimize.

 

 

New Evaluation Follow-Up Email Feature

We have recently added a small but handy feature to Arctic. It is the ability to send evaluation follow-up emails to your guests who take the time to complete your evaluation forms. This feature gives you the ability to set up multiple email templates that you can use to send to your guests after they complete their evaluations. These emails, like all other email correspondence sent to guests from Arctic will be stored on the “Email” tab of their “Person” record for easy reference should you need them again in the future.

In many instances, when setting up the templates, you will want to leave the templates mostly blank pulling in only a small amount of “automated” information from the placeholders so that you and your reservationists can then personally address the feedback, good and bad, submitted by your guests. Arctic provides placeholders for pulling in basic reservation information for the guests as well as placeholders for the recipient and sender so that you can create personalized greetings and signatures for the emails.

The follow-up emails are sent from the “View Response” page. If you have multiple templates set up then Arctic will allow you to choose the template you want to use.

Step 20-A

To set up Evaulation Follow-Up email templates, go to the “Email” menu and choose “Templates” on the “Browse Templates” page, scroll down to the “Evaluation Follow-Up” section and click the green “+ Setup Template” button.

Step 20-B

If you have any questions or need help setting up an evaluation follow-up template, feel free to contact support and as always we will be happy to help.