Trip Tools to Make You Sing

We have added a few new features to our arsenal for managing trip inventory and availability. Well, I say new, the reality is we have had them for a while now but they are easily overlooked and we don’t want anyone to miss out on these great new features. There are three in total, trip equipment, capacity for add-ons, and a new online minimum setting.

Tool #1: Trip Equipment

We’ll start with trip equipment. Trip equipment allows you to assign equipment like vehicles to trips on the fly. Meaning you can go to an individual trip date and add equipment just to that trip. This is great when you need to assign specific vehicles to trips for pick ups and drop offs. It is also great when you want to keep track of which specific equipment should be used for a particular trip, i.e. vans 1 and 3 but not 2. And best of all you have the added benefit of knowing that Arctic will help you ensure that you don’t end up overbooking a piece of equipment trying to use it in two places at once.

To use this feature, you first add the individual pieces of equipment to your “rental” inventory just like you do for the inventory associated with your add-ons. Once the equipment has been added, you can go to the “View Trip” page for the trip you wish to assign the equipment to and click the “+Add Item” button found in the “Equipment” box at the right of the page.
In the “Create Trip Equipment” window, you will then be able to select the equipment you wish to use and then set the time for which the equipment should be allocated. For example, if you are adding a vehicle for the trip drop off which will take the driver 2 hours round trip to execute. You will configure the window as shown here:


Note: Arctic will automatically fill in a “Start” and “End” that corresponds to the trip’s start and end. However you can modify this so the equipment is only allocated for as long as you need it, freeing it up for use for other trips. This is especially handy for managing your fleet of vehicles.
You can add as many pieces of equipment as you need for a trip and set  allocation times according to how each will be used for the trip. Once equipment has been added, Arctic will show each item along with its allocation time in the “Equipment” box. You can easily remove or edit any of the equipment selected by clicking either the “Pencil” to edit or the “x” to remove.
Tool #2: Capacity
Next up is the new capacity feature. The capacity feature is available for use with add-ons and is found on the add-on form.

Capacity allows you to set a per trip capacity for add-ons. It can be used with both add-ons with associated inventory or add-ons without associated inventory.

The capacity box allows you to tell Arctic that only x amount of a particular add-on are available for any given trip. This works great for options you need to limit on a per trip basis. For example, if you can only take up to 3 triple kayaks on a trip due to loading logistics or you can only offer fishing to 2 guests per trip due to permit restrictions.

For add-ons with associated inventory, capacity is just another level of control at the trip level. For example, going back to the triple kayaks, you might have 15 triple kayaks in your available inventory but that doesn’t change the fact that you can only take 3 on any given trip.  With the capacity set to 3, Arctic will ensure that only 3 of the triple kayak add-ons can be added to a specific trip even though you have inventory that would allow 15 triple kayaks to be selected.

For the fishing example, which doesn’t have any inventory associated with it and is simply a permit constraint, you can enforce a limit per trip without having to set up an unnecessary inventory item to manage the spaces available. Capacity is quickly becoming one of my favorite new tools. It’s awesome.

Tool #3: Minimum Guests for EACH Reservation
The last new tool in the trip tool arsenal is a new online minimum setting. It is the “Minimum Guests for EACH Reservation” setting. This new setting allows you to add a minimum number of guests per online reservation. This is great for trips that need reservations to have a minimum number of guests no matter whether the trip is open or not. The new setting is found on the “Online Reservations” tab under the “Minimum Guests for the FIRST Reservation” which is the setting that allows you to tell Arctic how many guests are needed to “open” a trip to ensure its profitability.


If a guest’s reservation doesn’t meet the minimum set for EACH reservation, then Arctic will allow them to submit an inquiry. As with the minimum for the FIRST reservation, Arctic will allow you to choose whether or not to convert the inquiry into a reservation even though it doesn’t meet the minimum. This gives you the flexibility to ensure that only reservations with the correct minimum are what is being booked online while also allowing you to approve reservations that might fall outside the set guidelines.

Now that you know about these great new features, I expect to hear some beautiful singing at our next karaoke night. (Who wants the mic 🎤 next? 😎) And as always, if you have any questions about how to implement these new tools into your operations, let us know. We are always happy to help.

Authortize.Net Disables ECC

For all of our Authorize.Net users, we recently were made aware that in late June 2019, Authorize.Net disabled Expanded Credit Capabilities (ECC) for all of their users.

What this effects in Arctic is your ability to process unlinked refunds for credit card transactions that are older than 90 days. ECC must be enabled on your Authorize.Net account in order to process unlinked/blind refunds for credit cards.

According to Authorize.net you can re-apply for ECC using the following steps via Authorize.net

The following is from Authorize.Net directly and explains the process for reapplying:

To apply for Expanded Credit Capabilities (ECC):

  • Click ‘Contact Us’ at the top of your page
  • Click ‘Support Cases’.
  • At the top of the page, click ‘Support Cases’ again.
  • Look under the section titled ‘Create a Case’.
  • Click ‘Apply for ECC’.
  • Agree to the terms.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Submit your request.

 

We are only enabling the ECC feature for merchants, who require this service, due to specific circumstances. So if you apply for ECC, please describe, in detail, the specific business policy, process, or situation, or the specific software requirements, that make this a required feature for your business, so that we can then further review the request.

 

Also in order to process your request, we will need one of the following items to validate your request:

  • Copy of a government issued identification card (Driver’s License, etc.)
  • Copy of IRS Form SS-4
  • Voided check showing the merchant name and account number
  • Copy of utility bill showing the merchant name and/or merchant address
  • Copy of a credit card statement showing the merchant name and/or merchant address
  • Notarized letter that properly identifies the individual submitting the request
  • Letter from a bank identifying the individual and listing the bank account number
  • A copy of Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization (and if non-profit, IRS proof of non-profit status

Please attach one of the above options to the application after you create it.

 

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact support and we will be happy to help.

Testing. Testing. 1, 2, 3. . .

Have you ever been training someone or even trying to look at a new configuration you put into place in Arctic for the guest-facing site, and wished and longed and hoped for a way to make test reservations through your guest-facing site that didn’t require a bloody payment? Have you silently cursed in frustration as you finally with great reluctance entered your own personal card details or that of the company to be able to complete a test purchase, then frantically rushed into the backend of Arctic to void the charge? Or worse forgotten to void the charge? 🤦‍♀️

Well, I’m gonna let you in on a little known feature that will end all of your testing misery and fulfill all of your wishes, hopes and desires. As an Arctic user you can test the guest-facing site experience all the way through checkout without needing to make a payment. 😱

We have a feature that allows any backend Arctic user to access the guest-facing site to make test reservations and transactions without needing to also process a payment. The feature recognizes the fact that you are an Arctic user and will give you an option to “Pay Later”.

No, I am not kidding. No, it is not witch craft. And no, it is not new. But it is easily overlooked.

How do you access this magical feature, you ask? Well, first you have to open a tomb, fight some scary, overly large scorpions and snakes, and then escape some enchanted booby traps to get to the secret chamber where the magic lamp is hidden. Once you find the lamp, you have to rub it three times counter clockwise. Trust me, you do not want to know what happens if you rub it clockwise. . . Oh wait. Those are the instructions for summoning a genie 🧞‍♀️. Sorry, about that. Wrong book. We need the book of Arctic secrets not the book on fabulous fantastical creatures and how to summon them.

Ah, here we are, page 29.1, to access the guest-facing site and be able to skip payment, go to the “User Menu” with your name on it in the upper left hand corner just under the Fox and select “Access Guest-Facing Site.”

When the guest-facing site is accessed through the “User Menu,” Arctic will know that you are an Arctic user and will give you the option to “Pay Later” so you can complete all test transactions without having to provide an actual form of payment. I know, mind blow right? 🤯

Analyze This & Track That

Have you ever wondered about the path your guests take on their journey through the vastness of the internet until they land on one of your tours? Or wondered which ad campaigns were the most effective at reaching your particular market and clientele? Sometimes these two questions can seem almost as impenetrable as pondering the source of life in the vastness of the vacuum of space or the even harder one of what to have for lunch. 🤔

To help you find the answers you seek, Arctic supports the use of analytics code and conversion tracking code which are designed to give you valuable metrics so you can make good decisions about how your website might need to be revised to maximize its efficacy or where you are getting the most bang for your advertising dollars.

Analytics code is designed to track your guests throughout their interweb journey, keeping up with how they arrived at your website following the meandering path they took while on your site through their final checkout. This data can be invaluable to understanding how your guests are getting to your website, how easily they can find the information they need to make a decision, and how easy it is for them to complete a booking. Analytics can also help you track the revenue generated through your website, conversion rates (i.e. the number of users that actually complete booking), what is being booked, and so much more.

Conversion tracking code provides you with invaluable data regarding how effective a particular ad source, like Facebook or Google Adwords, is at reaching your particular market. Such code can tell you about conversions directly linked to the ad source and, depending on the code provided by the vendor, can also incorporate revenue figures, all of which helps you make the most informed decisions about how best to reach your customers.

The analytics code and conversion tracking code are generally provided to you by your analytics or ad vendor respectively. Once you have the code, you or your web designer can easily integrate them into your Arctic installation and guest-facing site. Arctic has a full set of tools that makes doing so simple and straight forward.

Once the code is installed and merrily pumping out data, clearer answers to those large impenetrable questions will start to emerge. Well, at least the ones about your websites and ad campaigns. The ones about the source of life or what to have for lunch will still be pretty murky. 🙃

As always, if you or your designer has any questions about installing analytics or conversion tracking codes, please let us know, we are always happy to help. And if you ask nicely, we might even throw in some suggestions for lunch but you’re on your own with the source of life. That one is totally outside the realm of Arctic support. 😉

It’s Spring & Features Are Blooming!

 

OMG! Can you believe it? We are already in March and have leapt forward into daylight saving time! Looking at all the snow we have gotten everywhere it seems like the upcoming rafting season is going to be pretty epic and that the current snow season has had some serious powder to play with. We are super excited that Mother Nature has decided to bless us all with her bounty, especially out west where she has been stingy for a while.

As some of you transition into a new season of stellar fun and others are winding down or trading hats, we wanted to be sure you stopped and smelled the features.🌸 We have several new features that have blossomed in the last several weeks and we don’t want you to miss their awesomeness.

Let’s kick off our garden tour with the new email features. The email features are full of blossoms this year. We have added two new email triggers to the trigger line up and some nice little enhancements to add to the great email tools Arctic already has in place.

The first new trigger is an “After Rental Created” email trigger so you can have emails automatically sent to clients after making a rental. We also have a new “After Payment Received” email trigger. The “After Payment Received” trigger can be sent automatically for payments received online, via the backend or both. It’s a great way to send your guests a receipt or acknowledgement of a payment received. This trigger will automatically include an updated copy of their invoice as well for their reference. How awesome is that? No more answering questions about whether or not you received a payment. Arctic will preemptively answer them for you. 🥳

Also in the bloom of email features is a new feature that allows you to suppress activity-related attachments from certain email triggers. This will allow you to be able to send automated emails to your guests without drowning them in attachments.

If you look deeper into the garden of new email features, you will see a couple of nice little enhancements. The first one is the ability to suppress trip related email triggers for last-minute reservations. So, if for example, a last-minute reservation should not receive one of your standard before trip email triggers, you can set the trigger to not send for new reservations. The next little nicety you will find is the ability to pull in past trip history into email templates with the new “Trip History” placeholder. You will also find that the evaluation links always work whether the evaluations have already been completed or not. Previously after a guest completed their evaluation, the evaluation link in their email would stop functioning. This caused some confusion for guests who forgot they had already submitted a response. Now, if an evaluation has already been completed when the guest clicks the link they will be able to see they have already completed the evaluation.

Email features are not the only things that have sprouted this year. There are some small but beautiful new blooms for the online waiver feature and the evaluation feature. In the online waiver garden, we have extended the time for online waiver completion. Online waivers can now be completed up until a trip ends. This allows you to be able to direct guests to complete their waivers online via their own devices should they arrive without having completed the waiver for their reservation.

And for evaluations, there is a new button to allow you to clear an evaluation response. If a guest would like to revise their evaluation, you can now clear their original response which will allow the guest to complete it a second time.  The button is accessed from the “View Response” page as shown here:

In our trip garden, we have a couple of awesome new features. The first allows you to add “trip specific” inventory to a trip. These are inventory items like vehicles, rafts, etc., that you want to track usage for, but do not constrain guest availability, so can be manually added at your convenience. If you are interested in using the new “Trip Equipment” feature contact support and we will be happy to enable the feature for you and explain how to use it.

The second feature in our trip garden so far this year are some new tools to make updating specific trip dates easier to do. On the “Update Existing Trips” page, you can now “Check All” and “Uncheck All” which makes selecting a specific date range a much easier task. For our power users, you can even bulk check or uncheck a range by checking/unchecking the first date and then holding the “shift” key when checking/unchecking the last date.



(Your mouse 🐭 is thanking us right now. 😉)

And last, but not least, in our fantastic spring feature garden is a blossom we have been looking forward to. It isn’t quite in full bloom yet but it’s still exciting none the less. We are launching support for EMV chip card terminals. It’s been a long time coming but the hardware has finally caught up with the times and we have solutions that will work with your Arctic installation. The new integration will allow you to quickly process chip cards and contactless payment methods from the retail module. The feature is still in beta testing but if you are interested contact supportand we will be happy to tell you more.

That’s a wrap on our garden tour today. We hope you enjoyed it and are as excited about our new blooms as we are. Be sure to keep listening to our little birdie . He’s always tweeting about the new features popping up and will keep you in the know.

Viator Integration Comes to Arctic

That’s right folks! You heard it here first! Well actually, you heard it on Twitter first if you’ve been listening to our latest tweets. But here is where you get the grand reveal and right in time for Christmas! You all must have been very good outfitters this year. Anyway enough with the jocularity and down to serious business.

As I was saying, we have recently launched Viator Integration. The new integration will allow Viator (and, as a result, TripAdvisor) access to real time availability for trips as well as allow Arctic to receive notice of new bookings.

The integration functionality is opt-in on a per trip type basis so if you don’t offer all you do through Viator you are able to just enable the functionality for those trip types you do offer.  Once enabled, Viator will have access to basic information and availability details for all instances of the trip type.

If you are interested in using the new Viator Integration, just email us at support and we will be happy to enable the feature for your use.

Isn’t it exciting?

The Great Arctic Make-Over – It’s Foxy

If you have been to our website in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that we have gotten a make-over. We are super excited to unveil our new look and logo. Jess of Jess Doyle Design worked closely with us for several weeks to capture what we wanted from a new look. She did a phenomenal job and we are sure you will love the new look as much as we do.

Over the next several weeks your installations will all be updated to the new look and you can expect to see more of the new “hotness” at the AOA Conference this year.

But don’t worry, even though we have a new foxy look, you can still count on us to be the same Arctic Reservations you have come to know and love. We’re just a bit prettier. 😁

Exciting New Financial Report Options

We have recently made some changes to the financial report options in Arctic. These changes and options effect only the financial summary report and the end of day balance report, both of which are the best tools for accurately tracking accounting data.

The first change is to the financial summary report. It is a small but significant change and but will make accessing your preferred financial summary view easier and quicker to access. Specifically, the different modes (sales, accruals, transactions) have now been separated into individual reports. When you first access the financial summary, you are now presented with a list of these new reports. The new reports are based on the “Reporting” modes the financial summary report used previously. The four reports are Accruals, Sales, Transactions (Processed), or Transactions (Applied), although we expect to add more in the near future.

The best part of this change is that if you have a preferred version of the report, you can “star” those reports and do not need to remember to select the appropriate mode each time you run the report. The starred reports will also then appear in your “Reports” menu on the left of your screen for quick and easy access. All of these reports, starred or not, are easily accessible by selecting the “Financial” tab on the “Browse Reports” page.

You will also be able to access the end of day balance report from the “Financial” tab of the “Browse Reports” page.

There is also a new reporting mode available for the end of day balance report. The new mode allows you to export the report based on allocation date of income rather than by payment date. The biggest difference between the two modes is that with the new allocation date mode, when invoice changes are made that effecting previously collected transactions (i.e., if a reservation is changed or canceled), you no longer need to go back and re-export the end of day balance report for the date the payment was received. The new report mode will show the reallocation of funds on the date they occurred.

For instance, if you process a deposit for a trip on the 15th but the customer changes their mind and chooses a different trip on the 18th, you won’t have to rerun the report for the 15th, you will see the new changes clearly shown on the end of day balance report for the 18th. With the original mode for the End of Day Balance report, Arctic would have told you to re-export the report for the 15th because changes had been made to the income received on that date.

This new mode will make it easier for accountants to see when changes are made to the allocations of the income received on the dates those changes are made rather than having to rerun past reports to be sure they have the changes accounted for in their accounting software.

The new end of day balance report is opt-in for existing installations, and can be enabled by going to the “Settings” page under “Invoicing” and clicking the “Pencil” icon next to “End of Day Report Mode” as shown here:

If you have any questions about the new financial report options, please feel free to contact support and we will be happy to assist you.

New Simplified Syntax for Multi-Activity Emails

We have recently added new placeholders and logic to help simplify the syntax for multi-activity email templates. The new placeholders and logic make multi-activity emails easier to create and update, with less knowledge of coding, and enables you to create the email templates that list information for each activity shown on a multi-activity invoice. This is great for email confirmations, order confirmations, and invoice payment reminder emails where you want to include details about each activity on a multi-activity invoice.

The new placeholders and logic only apply to the invoice email templates, order confirmation email templates, before balance due email triggers, and after balance due email triggers.

To get started, use the “+ Add Logic” button as shown here:

Under the “+ Add Logic” menu, you will find options much like the normal placeholders. Rather than just inserting a single piece of information, these options will add some logic to your template, either conditionally showing text or helping show information about multiple activities (in this case).

Under the “Invoice” category, select “Multiple Activities”. This will add the basic logic you need to your email template, allowing Arctic to loop over all activities on the invoice and print any text and placeholders inside the loop once for each activity associated with the invoice.

Here is what the initial content will look like when added to your email template:

{for_activities}
This will print for each activity. Use activity placeholders 
to add relevant information (date, time, name, etc).
{/for_activities}

You will replace the “This will print for each activity…” line with the placeholders you want Arctic to print for each activity shown on an invoice.

For example, if you want to print the trip name, start date, start time, and the number of guests for each reservation on an invoice, you will add the placeholders for each of these items inside the {for_activities}{/for_activities} placeholders, Arctic added for you (shown above).

When completed your email template will look something like this:

{for_activities}
**Trip Name:** {$trip->name}
**Start Date:** {$trip->start|format:'Date'}
**Start Time:** {$trip->start|format:'Time'}
**Guest Count:** {$reservation->guestcount}
{/for_activities}

If you need rental activity information populated, you will insert rental placeholders instead of reservation placeholders.

For more information on using the placeholders and logic, check out the support documentation. And remember if you have any questions or run into any hiccups using the new add logic tool, we are always happy to help.

A Lesson in Trigger-nometry

It’s time for a lesson in the science of Trigger-nometry. First, let me define Trigger-nometry. Trigger-nometry is the study of email triggers with the express purpose of achieving the all important Trigger Happiness. With this powerful, fundamental science, you will have all the tools you need to maximize the versatility of your email triggers; so let’s begin the lesson.

All you need to know about Trigger-nometry can be summed up by the following fundamental equation.


Now, before everyone’s eyes glaze over or some of you have a panic attack because you think you have had a close encounter with the dreaded Math and you break out the calamine lotion and paper bags, let me explain how this equation will bring enlightenment, happiness, and flexibility. This is the yoga of equations…so let’s assume the lotus position and meditate on its power, shall we?

The above equation is the foundation of Trigger-nometry and when mastered will set you firmly on the path to Trigger Happiness. This equation is almost as fundamental as such lofty notions as the Law of Gravity or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Are you ready? Let’s break it down.

First we have trigger, t, raised to the power of business group, bg.

This part of the equation in and of itself is a huge component towards achieving Trigger Happiness, tH.

Email triggers can obtain a huge amount of customizability and flexibility just by creating your triggers in specific business groups. By doing this, you can easily customize your triggers and word them in such ways that will emphasize the important aspects of the activities that fall within these specific groups.

However this, in and of itself, will not achieve Trigger Happiness. The last component you need to obtain Trigger Happiness is custom fields, cf.

I can already see the dawn of enlightenment. Custom fields will open the astral plane for you when it comes to email triggers.

Many of you have questioned, puzzled, pondered and noodled, how to get the triggers to be even more specific within your business groups themselves. You have meditated on how to get trip specific custom messages into your triggers when the trips are all in the same business group. Well, here is your answer.

While you could create more business group divisions and put each individual trip type into its own business group or use lots and lots of “if” statements in your email triggers, custom form fields will give you a simple and elegant solution for customizing your triggered emails.

By adding custom fields on your “Trip Form”, you can build in the specialized messages, you would want to go with each of your individualized trip types. You can use any of the field types depending on what you want to include in your email triggers. If you want most of the body of the emails to be different based on the trip type, you can use the “Long Text” fields and type all of those super specific details till your heart is content. (For more information on how to create custom fields check out the support documentation or email support.)

So let’s recap, email triggers created per business group with the use of custom fields on your “Trip Form” yields the ultimate Trigger Happiness.

That’s it. That’s all you need to know about Trigger-nometry. Easy peasy.

See…that wasn’t so bad even if it did look suspiciously like Math and you are still not convinced I didn’t just sneak some in on you. You don’t even need the calamine. 😛