A Kiwi-designed software system and business which allows small-to-medium sized tourism and hospitality operators to take third-party on-line bookings and payments with real-time availability updates has been placed on the market for sale by its liquidators Lynda Smart and Geoff Brown of Rodgers Reidy.
The Real Time Booking System (RTBS) is utilised by tourism and hospitality operations across New Zealand and Australia. The internet-based operation was created by Whyte Waters Group Limited (In Liquidation).
Both the Whyte Waters Group business and Real Time Booking System operations are continuing to trade. Prior to the onset of COVID-19 the business employed five staff on a full-time equivalent basis, with access to additional former employee technicians on an ‘as required’ contract basis. All staff were able to work remotely from home.
Whyte Waters Group Limited (In Liquidation) was founded in 2005 as a marketing and publications company which produced tourism and hospitality leaflets and booklets to holiday-makers visiting Queenstown.
The company’s Real Time Booking System operation piggybacked off the industry relationships established by Whyte Waters Group Limited (WWGL). As marketing became more digitally-centred, WWGL reduced its portfolio of printed publications and concurrently began building up its on-line bookings service.
RTBS’s central reservations system allows customers to manage their bookings as they arrive from multiple sources – including their own websites, hotel booking desks, high street travel agents, wholesale travel companies, and information centres. Bookings are automatically confirmed and notified by text and email and allow for individual customisation of service offerings to encompass special one-off promotions, day trips, and pick up locations.
The RTBS system shows, amongst other information, activity availability, how the booking was reserved, how much has been paid by the customer, and the number of people participating – allowing for activity operators to manage their services accordingly.
RTBS generates its revenues through a formal service level agreement (SLA) with participating customers which provide for combinations of subscription fees and commissions from transactions booked through its service.
Financial statements from WWGL for the past three years show the company had seven-figure revenues – with net profits more than doubling over that time frame. Prior to COVID-19’s impact on New Zealand at the end of March this year, the number of transactions, and total value of transactions captured through RTBS had increased year upon year.
While WWGL’s in-room publishing activities have been put on hold, the Company still operates advertising screens installed at hotel lobbies in Queenstown and Rotorua showcasing tourism activities in the respective locations.
Now the proprietary software intellectual property assets and business behind Whyte Waters Group Limited (In Liquidation) and its going concern Real Time Booking Systems business are being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Canterbury. Hospitality and tourism business sales specialist Kate Mullins said that since launching, RTBS had grown its customer client base year upon year. Despite COVID-19, 153 operators were actively using the system in September this year.
“Domestic tourism in New Zealand is now through its darkest period, and with virtually no international travel being undertaking by Kiwis for the foreseeable future, is now on an upward cycle,” said Mullins.
“The RTBS system is a cost-effective way for many smaller tourism and hospitality operators to take real-time bookings for their services without having to substantially invest in their own IT infrastructure. In the year to December 2019, some 781,273 bookings to total value of $106.2million were made through RTBS.”
Mullins said that prior to COVID-19, WWGL had already begun exploring new growth avenues for the RTBS and the opportunity remains for a new operator to extend the use of RTBS beyond its traditional tourism and hospitality client base.
“The functioning RTBS software platform represents years of development and is constantly evolving as customer needs and communication channels have changed the dynamics of the sector,” she said.
Assets included in the sale include:
• All of RTBS’s software, database, and intellectual systems
• Two websites; whytewaters.com and the booking portal rtslive.com
• The email accounts and phone numbers associated with the business