Frequently Asked Questions
What if I need changes after implementation?
During the Gap Analysis period described above, a list of required changes to the system is compiled. This customization work is scheduled and delivered as part of the original agreement. However, often you may request changes to the system that would make a better fit to the changing conditions in your business. These changes that are requested after the initial Gap Analysis are referred to as “Programming Requests”. Typically, the subscriber will describe the change requested and send it in for evaluation and costing. Upon receipt, the Softrip project manager will review the request and follow up with the subscriber to make sure they have a complete understanding of the request and gather any additional information needed in order to implement it. This will be followed by a cost quote and time estimate. The subscriber may then have a choice to accept the quote or reject it.
What is a Gap Analysis?
To reach an agreement for implementing the Softrip system, both the potential subscriber and Softrip must be sure, as much as possible, about the timeline, resources needed and each side’s obligations and expectations. Each implementation has its own unique issues that must be understood before we ask you to commit. To achieve that, Softrip sets up a system specifically for you to be able to “play with” for up to 3 months so that you may become familiar with what you will be getting. As its name suggests, the process is designed to identify and document the gap between what the Softrip system can do and what you would like it to do. That gap, expressed in a document that becomes part of the agreement, documents any customization to be done and any additional costs associated with the customization. A project manager is assigned to you during that time to help guide you through the various system functionality using your own data and tour/travel information.
What if industry changes or regulations require changes?
From time to time government mandated regulations require changes in the system. On those rare occasions where a big development effort is required, Softrip will spread the cost of development across its affected client base. More often than not however, subscribers are only charged for the time it takes to install such changes on their system.
What resources do I need?
On occasion, subscribers may hire outside help to assist with the implementation. That usually is someone that has already gone through this process or a Softrip authorized consultant. More often than not, and is preferred, you will use your own resources. After all, who knows your business better than your own staff? Generally a single person from your staff who will act as Project Manager and trainer will be assigned. It is important to recognize that anyone assigned to this project must have the authority and capacity to require other employees to allocate time for training, testing and approving specific functionality.
Can I use the Softrip Web Site but have my own “Look and Feel”?
Softrip designed its system so that it may accept templates designed by a 3rd party to create your own “Look and Feel”. Softrip will provide instructions to your designer for the construction of these templates.
How do I know this is the right system for me?
For any organization, implementing a new Reservation and Accounting system is a big deal. The rewards and the risks are great, but stories abound about failed attempts. To protect its reputation and that of its subscribers, we believe transparency is key. Prior to finalizing an agreement and after all the presentations and demonstrations are done, one additional step remains and that is the Gap Analysis. It is a process in which potential subscribers are given access, training and support to use the system for up to 3 months. It gives both sides the opportunity to learn more about each other and if the system is a good match.
What is a typical timeline?
The timeline for implementation is often dictated by your business cycle. For example, the step in which the initial data and product information is loaded into the Softrip system is a resource intensive step. It means that you will have to divert resources from the current work load to this new project. It stands to reason then that you will do so during the low season. Further, usually the “Cut-Off” date, the departure date after which live bookings are loaded into Softrip, will coincide with the beginning of a season. The total time for implementation may be as short as 3 month but generally averages 6-10 months.
What if I need additional training?
At any time that you feel additional training is needed, you may schedule phone/on-line training or on-site training. On-site training is generally billed by day plus travel expenses. With that said, Softrip uses a “Train the Trainer” approach so it would benefit you to select an individual that is likely to stay with the company over time as the Project Manager.
Can I use my existing web site?
The Softrip system comes equipped with an API (Application Programming Interface) to be used by 3rd parties. On occasion a subscriber may wish to preserve previous investment in its web site. In that case, the provider of that system may use the Softrip API to retrieve tour and product information as well as make bookings.
Who owns the data?
In all circumstances, you own the data. It is protected on your behalf and considered confidential. Should we part ways, Softrip will dump all the data using standard methods and provide it to you as part of the dissolution of the relationship.
What are the licensing options?
As a Softrip customer you may subscribe to one of three subscription license options. The primary factor in selecting the right subscription is generally the size of your company:
Hosted Subscription – Generally applicable to small and mid-size companies that do not wish to invest in their own infrastructure, Softrip will host your system at its own facility. There is no need for any investment in servers or infrastructure. Some limitations apply in the area of Credit Card security compliance.
Self-Hosted Subscription – A more fitting option for mid and large sized companies who require more independence and processing power. You, the subscriber, will provide your own servers and hosting facilities where the Softrip system will be installed.
Source Code Purchase – If you have your own IT staff capable of programming and instead of developing a system from scratch you wish to start with something that is proven to work, a Source Code option is available. In the Subscription scenario, after a period of user training and programmer training, your staff will take over all support and development functions. You will be working independently of Softrip and chart your own course.
Can I change my Subscription if I need to?
Yes, we have had customers who began small, selected a Hosted Subscription and ultimately updated the subscription to a Self-Hosted Subscription or an In-Between option described below.
Which licensing option is best for me?
As stated above, the primary factor in selecting your subscription is size. Size may be measured by revenue but for our purpose it is usually measured by the number of users both in-house and external. Other factors such and redundancy, scalability and the security level desired. For example, if you are a small company with up to 30 employees and do not want to have your own IT staff with all the related HR issues and you do not want to deal with servers and what happens when they fail, then you will most likely choose the Hosted Subscription option. However, if you are a larger company and you want to have more control over the system’s performance and you have the staff to help manage the system, then a Self-Hosted Subscription may be more appropriate. Softrip will help you select the right option.
Is there an in-Between licensing option?
Since we try and match the best situation for you, Softrip is very flexible in its licensing and support options. For example, we have customers that for various reasons wanted their own equipment but did not want the headache of managing it. Softrip then provides dedicated hardware and hosting space for the customer and manages the equipment as well as the software.
What about pricing?
Unlike other pricing methods, Softrip does not price its subscription based on server size nor number of users. Instead, we make an educated guess about the support requirements of a customer. We take into account the size of the company, the products it sells and its target market among other factors. This pricing model allowed us to give the subscribers a predictable yearly cost without having to worry about adding users or passenger counts. When the support requirements change, such as in a situation when a subscriber wants to add another brand or if there is an acquisition, Softrip and the Subscriber discuss those requirements and adjust the pricing accordingly. The cost of the system is generally comprised of three components.
Implementation - This is a one-time cost that will cover the circumstances of the implementation. It includes cost for setting up the system, training and allocating computing resources. These costs generally start at $45,000 with the average being about $60,000 for a 50 person Subscriber.
Customization – While the system is incredibly flexible, some customization is required. Particularly if the web sites are to be provided by Softrip. The cost is calculated based on our hourly programming rates and can be as little as a few thousand dollars to over a hundred thousand dollars. This is usually part of the original agreement and may be phased in over a period of time.
Monthly Subscription – This monthly cost is for the on-going support provided to Subscribers for providing assistance on routine issues that come up every day as well as emergency situations. Monthly fees start at $4,000 with the average for a mid-size company at about $8,000. To put it in perspective, the average cost for a programmer in the USA is around $80,000 per year. Most mid-size companies who support their own system will need 2-3 IT staff.
What about integration to other systems?
As part of the implementation, a number of connections to remote computers such as Airlines, Hotel Bed Banks and Car Rental companies may be subscribed to. Often these interfaces require that they be updated to meet supplier requirements. Softrip updates such interface and distributes these changes to its customers who use the interfaces.
How do I report an issue?
The best way to report an issue (unless it is an emergency) is by email. Subscribers are requested to provide as much information as possible including screen shots if available.
What is the support policy?
Softrip support center is in Fort Washington, PA, USA. Our normal support hours are Mon-Fri 9:00-17:00. During those hours, customers may email or call in on any subject. All other hours are considered “Emergency Only”. Emergency calls are determined to be an emergency if the subscriber cannot take reservations. For our subscribers in different time zones such as Europe or Australia, non-emergency calls may be scheduled for early morning or late evening as needed. In addition, email requests are always responded to by next business day.
How do I request a change?
A Programming Request form has been created for the purpose of requesting changes to the system. Generally, the subscriber will describe the change requested and send it in for evaluation and costing. Upon receipt, the Softrip project manager will review the request and follow up with the subscriber to make sure they have a complete understanding of the request and gather any additional information needed in order to implement it. This will be followed by a cost quote and time estimate. The subscriber may then have a choice to accept the quote or reject it.
How do I keep track of requested changes?
Subscribers are given access to our Support Tickets system on-line. Through authorized access, subscribers may view and edit tickets created for either support issues or programming requests.