By Byron Mutingwende
The Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has launched the tourism industry’s first integrated mobile application – the RTG Gateway App that is set to bring more convenience to the sector.
In her speech while officially launching the App, Priscah Mupfumira, the minister of tourism and hospitality industry described the product as a pioneering innovation that will bring convenience to the tourism industry.
“Today marks an epic moment as Rainbow Tourism Group launches the RTG Gateway Mobile and Internet App. I am informed that this indeed is an industry first.
“I therefore commend RTG for pioneering the adoption of technology, which is set to revolutionise the way customers transact and access tourism and other products. Global trends have shown that business in the more developed countries is now being conducted predominantly on Internet-based platforms,” Mupfumira said.
There is a trend whereby tourists and individuals visit the Internet to choose a holiday destination, review other people’s experiences, make a decision, book and pay online for all their travel requirements using platforms such as TripAdvisor, Expedia and other booking engines.
The initiative by RTG is therefore a welcome development as it is a giant step towards access to tourism products and information, Minister Mupfumira said.
“I am confident that the RTG Gateway App will compliment my Ministry’s thrust in the development and growth of domestic tourism as it is set to open up immense possibilities for this segment. I am advised that the products accessible on the App go beyond RTG’s own products by extending to the successful RTG Virtual concept which was launched in 2014,” the minister added.
The RTG Virtual concept is premised on the philosophy around competition, whereby the Group co-operates with competitors to create a win – win relationship. This model has seen RTG spread its geographical presence into areas it does not have any hotels through partnerships with small to medium hospitality players. The RTG Gateway App initially carries 40 non-RTG restaurants in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, and it has at least 80 RTG Virtual Partner hotels and lodges, spread across the country.
This means that users of the App will now be able to see the rich domestic tourism product offering in the most conspicuous, far flung places, not previously visible to the ordinary Zimbabwean. All this at the customer’s fingertip!
This is in addition to the 30 privately owned houses already signed up onto the RTG Gateway App. The App offers Zimbabweans a choice, whether one chooses to stay in a hotel, lodge, bed & breakfast, house or even a house boat, all these can be found, booked and paid for via the App!
Speaking at the launch the RTG Chief Executive Mr. Tendai Madziwanyika advised the impressed gathering that this super App would change the way the market interacts with the hospitality industry. “We have adopted a co-opetition approach to doing business by partnering with competition in both restaurants and hotels. This allows the customer to have a world of options to choose from” he said.
There are over 40 restaurant partners under the RTG Eats section of which 80% are located in Harare, whilst the rest are found in Kadoma, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. A user can browse, select the restaurant and meal they want, make payment and collect it within a specified time.
A user has an option for delivery at a minimal extra charge within a specified radius. Initially the delivery option will only be available in Harare and for some of the restaurants listed on the RTG Gateway. RTG has begun the process of recruiting drivers with small 1-litre engine/below vehicles and motorbikes to make the deliveries at an agreed fee. “We are creating employment in the process and utilising idle resources”. Madziwanyika said the drivers would receive basic customer care and delivery handling training
The accommodation offering comprises of RTG’s own hotels, RTG Virtual partner hotels, and RTG Homes, which follows the AirBnB business model. RTG Virtual is a partnership platform between RTG and selected hotels, lodges and tourism activity companies in Zimbabwe, in areas where RTG has no properties.
In the case of Harare Bulawayo and Victoria Falls RTG Virtual has partnered with hotels and lodges that offer a different product offering to RTG’s predominantly city hotels. The platform was launched in 2014. “We have recruited 115 partners geographically located across the country. This means that Zimbabweans now have access to the national tourism product offering which they may not have been aware of. We view this as our contribution to the development of domestic tourism as we are harnessing our marketing ability to create awareness of some little known places. RTG earns a commission on all bookings channelled to the partners through the App. “This is a win-win partnership for all parties concerned”.
The following products and services are available on the App;
- EATS; Users can access 50 restaurants (RTG and non-RTG) offering a variety of tantalising cuisine from Traditional, Chinese, Indian, to South American. 80% of the restaurants are located in Harare, with the balance found in Kadoma, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. The App gives the user an option to choose to book a table, order and collect from the restaurant or a delivery to their location within the specified radius. At present delivery is possible only from restaurants that are resident in RTG hotels.
- Gifts; The gifts tab offers an array of products to choose from, for any occasion. With over 30 listed products, users can purchase accommodation and holiday packages, meals, chocolates, flowers, jewellery and spa treatments. There are over 30 products which are set to grow as more partners list their products.
- Hotels; This tab has RTG hotels and RTG Virtual Partner Hotels and lodges. Currently 115 properties are listed on the App, with a geographical spread that covers the entire country. Launched in 2014, RTG Virtual is a partnership platform between RTG and selected hotels, lodges and tourism activity companies in Zimbabwe.
- Homes; Following the AirBnB model, this tab allows users to book a stay in a privately owned residence at very competitive prices. 40 homes are currently listed on the App, recruitment of partners is ongoing with this number set to grow by year end.
- Liquor online; A selection of high end spirits and wines is on offer, which include Johnnie Walker, Famous Grouse, Glenfidisch, and Nederburg. Once payment has been made the user can collect their purchase from the Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre
- Online Auctions; Launched in 2015, this platform allows customers to bid, win and pay for accommodation, conferencing and banqueting packages online at affordable prices.
- Events & Venues; In partnership with event organisers and promoters, users can view the trending events in the city, book and pay for their tickets on the App.
- Airport transfers; Users can book and pay for their airport transfers.
Payments are processed through the Paynow platform, using any of Visa, Mastercard, Zimswitch, Ecocash and Telecash.
The RTG Gateway App is downloadable for free and is now readily available on Google Play and Apple Store on the following links:
httpss://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dapl.rtg and for IOS phones through the App Store httpss://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rtg-gateway/.
The App can be accessed on App stores under the name “RTG Gateway” and the Facebook page httpss://www.facebook.com/RTG-Gateway/