Reservation Summary

A new report is now available for all Arctic Reservation customers. The reservation summary report allows you to prepare a table showing all launches over a certain period of time. For each launch, there are lists of the individual reservations with details on the primary guest, the number of guests and deposit information. This summary is easy to print (just clicking print in the browser should give you a high quality, nice looking printout). Whether printed or viewed on the computer, the list gives a nice overview of coming season and can offer a great quick reference to upcoming availability.

You can provide a variety of different search parameters when preparing the reservation summary, such as what trip types to include and what date range to include. In addition, the reservation summary can be customized for some outfitters to include pool dates in case a particular launch is overbooked and more permits need to be purchased.

And of course, the reservation summary has full support for sublaunches. Sublaunches and their reservations will be enumerated separately on the summary.

Want to try preparing a reservation summary? Current customers can access it through the “Reports” menu. If you are not yet a customer, sign up for a demo to try out the handy reservation summary.

SSL Installation

I am happy to announce that Arctic Reservations is once again offering SSL encrypted access. This feature was offered a short while ago, but due to complications that prevented some users from accessing the software, we rolled back the SSL option until the larger problems could be fixed. After many tweaks and hours calling others for input, SSL is now available again!

All users can access their primary Arctic Reservations installation via a 256bit SSL certificate. This means that all data sent between your computer and our server is encrypted using todays leading encryption technique. Although the risk of such communications being intercepted is extremely low, it is becoming increasingly important to protect client data.

The need for security is especially important for an upcoming feature that I can only hint at now: “credit card processing.” When handling client credit card information, it is vital to implement such leading encryption tools to prevent fraud and ensure the security of your customer’s personal information. More details about credit card processing will be coming soon, as our first beta testing will begin shortly.

Note that SSL certificate installation required some big changes: we had to rewrite a core set of files and completely reconfigure the server (this is why it took so long to offer this feature). During the upgrade, all installations had to be moved to a new IP address. Although this should not adversely effect software performance, your computer may still try to access the old IP address for 24-48 hours. As a result, you will not be able to access your installation. If this happens to you, please call your support representative and he/she will provide instructions for clearing cached DNS information. During such a large overhaul, other problems may have arisen. If this is the case, please contact support right away… we will be standing by to make any needed corrections.

By default, all accounts allow users to select whether or not to use SSL certificates when they first access the website. Administrators can change settings to either always require an SSL access or never allow SSL access. I strongly encourage administrators to always require SSL certificates.

New Overview Histograms

The overview report has been expanded to include two new options. These new options allow you to view histograms of either reservations or inquires, allowing you to breakdown useful statistics. For example, you can compare how many reservations are booked in the morning with how many are booked in the afternoon. Or you could compare the number of reservations booked in one month with another month. In addition to comparing booking times, you may also compare how many reservations each reservation agent has booked. The same histograms are available for inquiries as well.

These new reports are meant to help provide indicators in terms of when customers are most willing to book reservations as well as when to anticipate the most load on reservation staff.

With time, more histograms and other graphs will be available throughout the Arctic Reservations staff. Today marks the first step in providing useful analytic tools for viewing and interpreting the large amount of data that Arctic Reservations automatically collects. If you have suggests for a specific graph or tool, we’d love to hear it. Just leave a comment on this post.

New Features: Inquiry improvements

New features were added over the weekend, including:

  • Trip specific inquiries – You can now create inquiries that reference a specific trip. This helps the person following up the inquiry, as they have instant access to all details regarding that trip (including availability, etc).
  • Inquiry to reservation button – Along with the new trip specific inquiries is a new button that allows you to convert an inquiry into a reservation. Clicking the “reserve” button next to an inquiry will mark the inquiry as completed and will take you to the new reservation page with the customer and trip information already selected. This makes it easy to book a reservation for a customer during a follow up phone call.
  • New trip selector – To go with the new customer selection tool is a new trip selection tool. This can be seen both on the new inquiry and the new reservation page. The trip selection tool allows the pages to be much cleaner and more useful.

New Feature: Reservation Process

Administrators can now change the sequence of events for when you create a new reservation. Under the reservations tab on the system settings page, there is a new option for what to do after creating a new reservation. For example, if you collect deposits immediatly after booking the reservation, you can set it to go to the resrvation invoice. Or if you want to collect user data next, specify the user details page. By default, it simply takes you to a reservation summary page.

Update: Reservation Notes

A new feature has been adding allowing different types of reservation notes (before, there was just a single notes field). Now you are able to differentiate notes that you want included on the trip roster, notes that you want only visible from the reservation system and notes that you want sent to the customer. When you later e-mail out the invoice for the reservation, the notes will automatically be inserted into that e-mail.

This allows you to track additional information, such as wet suite sizes and pickup time. The wet suite size might be stored in the roster notes field, so that it will be printed on the roster. The pickup time would go in the customer notes field, so that they would get the information later, along with the invoice.

In addition, invoice e-mails can include the trip name. You may also specify CC and BCC addresses to share the trip details with customer friends or keep an in office record.

Note: If you want to have the customer notes and trip name inserted into your invoice e-mails, make sure an administrator changes your invoice e-mail template to include these two new fields. If you use the default invoice e-mail template, we have already made the change for you.

Update (10-18-2006): Administrators can now specify descriptions for the different note fields. The descriptions instruct the booking agent what details to include in each of the note fields. To change these descriptions, go to the new reservations tab on the system settings page.

First Season With Arctic – A Job Well Done

This message was contributed by Zachary Collier, from Echo River Trips:

I just wanted to take a minute to say what a great job you’ve done with Arctic. We just finished our first full season using the system and want to point out a few of the highlights.

  • We ran 173 more guests down rivers in Oregon and Idaho with the same staff. The system makes us more efficient.
  • Our mailing costs have almost gone to zero. We don’t mail invoices anymore because it is so easy to send them by email and 99% of our guests want them that way.
  • I was able to check reservation system from Idaho instead of bother the office. Easier for me and them.
  • The photo site has been a big hit. Guests really appreciate it and it saves us from having to deal with the all the pictures our guests take.
  • I’m looking forward to analyzing our evaluation information that is already entered into a database. We used to enter (by hand) all of our evaluations into a spreadsheet each fall so that we could analyze them. With the online evals, we’ll be months ahead of the marketing game.

Thanks for all your hard work and your responsiveness to new ideas.

Find Invoices

Want to find or print a number of invoices? Whether you want to search by payment status, creation date or due date, a new invoice tool helps. The Find Invoice feature allows you to search by a number of criteria. Results will then either be returned in a table listing all matching invoices or will be prepared in a PDF document, which you can print directly (along with mailing labels, of course).

This feature can be found under the new “Invoice” section of the menu.

Customer Selection Window

This weekend, an upgrade has introduced a new way of having “internal windows”. This update will allow you to be able to do multiple things on one page. With time, you will see these internal windows on more and more pages. But to start with, we are going to do a very specific test to ensure proper function and cross browser support. To see the new customer selection window, create a new inquiry. The process has been consolidated down to one page, where you can do everything from creating a new customer to editing an existing customer while creating the inquiry.

As always, we love to hear feedback on new features. Just use your support page to tell us about ideas or problems with the new internal window feature.

With time, expect to see this technique used on more pages (such as the new reservation page).

Credits; Downloads

Two new features!

Credits – You can now credit people on their invoice. If you want to remove a charge and have a record of removing it, just credit the amount. This is an addition to the item types that you can have on an invoice (charge, discount, payment, refund and now credit). In addition, now when canceling a reservation or a reservation guest, the software will allow you to credit all charges associated with that reservation.

Downloads for Sale – If you use the Photo Site module to allow guests to share photos after their trip, guests now have the option to purchase a download of all photos from the trip so that they can have a local copy. This is meant to complement the existing opportunity to purchase CDs with all trip photos. Downloads are prepared automatically and delivered by e-mail, usually within the hour of the purchase.