The Rock Restaurant (http://www.therockrestaurantzanzibar.com/) is known around the world and has featured in leading media globally, making the top 10 list of dining venues internationally. It is located on the eastern coast of Zanzibar, and is host to visitors island wide. It is not unusual for customers to make a day trip from the Tanzanian mainland only to dine at The Rock.

Demand for this iconic venue is astronomic, and space limited given its 40 seat capacity and 4 sittings per day. Bookings are made from months in advance to ‘last minute’, on the day in the hope of a cancellation.

Given its wide appeal, and visitation from up to 90 minutes drive away, The Rock offers diners the option to book transfers to and from the venue.

It’s website is one of the most visited in East Africa. The business’ booking channels include consumer call-ins / emails to a centralised office usually as a result of referrals as well as customers having visited the website.

The Challenge

Nigel Firman of the ACN Group, owners of The Rock and 2 hotels, approached EasyOTA for potential solutions to a number of operational and customer experience challenges.

  • The central booking office manages in excess of 200 bookings / cancellations and change requests at its peak, daily/
  • Booking volumes, changes and cancellations, especially in season, difficult to manage despite a number of agents in the remote office.
  • Management of the seating inventory on shared spreadsheets not efficient resulting in reservation challenges, poor customer experience and lost sales.
  • Bookings for groups a risk in a venue with limited capacity due to the no-show factor.
  • Up-selling customers a transfer to and from the venue difficult to record, confirm and coordinate.
  • Maintaining a current list of customers for restaurant hosts to manage arrivals for each of the 4 daily sittings problematic.
  • With centrally coordinated bookings, ‘walk-ins’ pose a problem to reservation records.
  • Reservation office cannot be open 24/7, a necessity given the global audience and their own time zones.
  • Separation of transfer receipts and booking deposits is a manual task and complex.

The Solution

We provided them with the EasyOTA Online Booking Engine (OBE) and an inventory management system suited to their business model. The Online Booking Engine facilitates web based, direct bookings for both the restaurant and the necessary 2-way transfer. Confirmations are made in real time, with the customer receiving their booking voucher by email.

Groups booking are mandated to provide a non-refundable deposit at time of booking. Non group bookings (ie: 5 pax or less) pay no deposit.

At time of payment confirmation, The Rock receives monies due to it, and the transfer business receives their monies directly into their account.

Both operational entities receive separately emails informing them of the booking for their service.

Inventory is automatically updated, in real time.

The Rock hosts have 24/7 access to any guest list for any day, any sitting. They know the names, the numbers, where they’ve been transferred from, any special requests, as well as details of any deposit paid. Additionally, they have access to the inventory to adjust for the ‘walk-in’ clientele, with the central booking office seeing the new reservation.

The Rock is now open 24/7, 365 for bookings, from anywhere in the world.

Search engine results

Populated search request

Transfer options

Go to check-out with full itinerary

The Result

Close to 40% of The Rock’s monthly bookings are now done online.

Management have a controllable central office, and the customer experience has vastly improved, including the fact that languages are not a problem in the providing of and recording of customer details, leading to accurate communications.

Instant confirmations to all customers has reduced the ‘no-show’ rate for non-groups, and reduced close to zero the rate for groups.

The restaurant bank account receives the deposits, and the transfer operation its receipts, settled automatically at time of customer payment confirmation, due to EasyOTA’s integration with the regions preferred payment processor, Direct Pay Online.

The Goal

To increase the rate of bookings to more than 50%

To increase the number of transfer bookings through remarketing, approaching customers closer to their date
of booking.