Building it better for 22 years: IBIS Technology co-owners Christine Ryan and Erik Bradshaw
The story of how tourism reservation system company IBIS Technology came into being back in the late 1990s features young IT specialist Erik Bradshaw, an iconic jet boat company making do with an adopted booking system, and a classic entrepreneurial ‘I can build that better’ moment.
Fast-forward 22 years, and the Queenstown-headquartered group, co-owned by Bradshaw and general manager Christine Ryan, has gone from strength to strength.
Clients now include some of Australasia’s leading operators such as Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, cruise and tour company Southern Discoveries, and adventure specialists Experience Co, which is rolling out the IBIS platform across its 15 Australian and New Zealand skydiving businesses.
The growth in IBIS’s customer base over the years has also seen a swathe of features added to what was originally designed as a booking system for Shotover Jet’s scheduled departure operation.
Today, IBIS’s integrated modular system includes activity and tour reservations, point of sale, operations, gift vouchers, agent ticketing, admission tickets, event tickets, online waiver forms and e-commerce – all with an overarching online reporting system and accounts integration.
And following an early foray into information centre reservation systems, IBIS is now the system of choice for New Zealand’s 77-member i-SITE network, enabling easy bookings without the need for phone calls to operators.
An added bonus – and distinct from some competitors – is that IBIS allows operators to manage the financial relationship with agents directly, rather than IBIS holding operator money for any length of time.
Managing director and lead developer Bradshaw explains that the development of this suite of functionality is largely customer-led.
“We have an ongoing development schedule that is entirely influenced by our New Zealand operators and their wants and needs. We are constantly adding new features and making improvements to the software.”
The opportunity for clients to influence the development direction of the company is one of the benefits of working with a New Zealand-owned business that has integrity at its core.
It is a sentiment shared by clients, who note it is more valuable than ever in the fast-changing Covid-19 environment.
“We’ve always found IBIS to be very responsive to our needs and changing business requirements,” Experience Co’s New Zealand general manager, Clark ‘Scotty’ Scott, says.
“Having recently moved back to IBIS, the training and project management provided by the team during the pandemic was fantastic and allowed a very smooth implementation. The rollout had zero issues and staff could not believe how much easier it was compared with our previous system.
“All in all, outstanding!”
Alongside this agile development response is the provision of unflinching service and support by a local team of customer service professionals.
Says Ryan: “We employ a team of staff in Queenstown who are all tourism experts and have worked in tourism operators and i-SITEs in New Zealand in different roles for many years. We feel this experience is like gold when configuring, supporting and advising our customers.”
“We aim to be business partners with our customers and are in touch regularly to make sure the system is working for them.”
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa’s technology manager, Greg Dellow, puts it this way: “I often discuss with my colleagues how we work with IBIS. We cannot get this level of service, customisation and support out of any other software company. We really do appreciate it.”
IBIS’s top-notch customer service and responsive development, led by Bradshaw, was crucial for new Christchurch attraction He Puna Taimoana, New Brighton Hot Pools, which had its official opening at the end of May amidst the global pandemic.
The new attraction’s general manager, Merryn Skipper, says they “couldn’t be happier” with the support they received from IBIS.
“As business owners, we have all faced unique challenges from Covid-19. IBIS has been a huge part of our success,” she says.
“He Puna Taimoana has been open for three months and we’ve literally been sold out for that whole time.
“Being able to manage the capacity of our facility, contact trace without forms and have a quick contactless check-in have all resulted in more relaxation for our guests. Big thanks to Team IBIS.”
Whether you are a long-standing operator in New Zealand’s dynamic tourism industry looking to simplify operations and improve the customer experience, or a new venture seeking a complete tourism management platform, IBIS’s quality software and exceptional service can add value and improve your business.
They can build it better.