HOSPITALITY service provider, Rainbow Tourism Group, has introduced online grocery service under its integrated Gateway Stream App as part of measures to stay afloat in the wake of the adverse impact of Covid-19.
The versatile, innovative mobile and web-based App was first introduced in February 2018. At that time the Gateway Stream consisted of four sub-apps -hotels, homes and boats, restaurants and online room auctions, all of which enabled users to book and pay for the four services.
The company later increased the apps to nine, after addition of holiday packages, taxi-hailing service, and events and venues.
In an update yesterday, RTG said the lockdown period has prompted the business to activate the Gateway Stream online grocery delivery service covering all provinces across the country.
Through its Gateway Stream, RTG expects to have a softer landing from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its business. Globally there has been a surge in internet-based online transaction rates as people shy away from physical normal daily shopping patterns in compliance with national lockdowns.
“Locally we have seen a change in customer buying behaviours as more people turn to online and digital platforms to access products and services especially groceries and other services delivered to their doorstep.
“Everyone wants a safe, reliable and convenient access to their grocery needs. We therefore see a huge opportunity in this space,” RTG chief executive officer, Mr Tendai Madziwanyika, said. He said the hospitality group was repositioning and redefining itself as ‘the gateway to a world of experiences’ through harnessing digital opportunities. Mr Madziwanyika said that the group was looking beyond the traditional hospitality products and services. We are driven by the desire to create convenience, choice and value for our customers. The creation and development of the Gateway Stream has been a three-year journey.
“We are proud of this innovation and it is our hope to make it even bigger and better for our customers both locally and across the globe,” he said.
The emergence and spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe in the first quarter of 2020, has disrupted the global economy resulting in most countries implementing national country lockdowns.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), tourism has been the hardest hit of all the major sectors.
Research also shows that while discussions on possible first measures for lifting restrictions are underway, destinations worldwide still have Covid-19 related travel restrictions for international tourists in place.
This means that the hospitality business will be depressed and, according to UNWTO, it will only begin to ease in the last quarter of this year for some regions such as Africa and the Middle East with the rest of the globe expected to begin travelling in early 2021.
According to Potraz, as of 4th quarter 2019, about 60,6 percent of Zimbabweans had access to the internet using their mobile phones as the country has one of the highest penetration rates on the African continent, which makes online platforms lucrative. Covid-19 has gone some way in reshaping the internet commerce terrain and more Zimbabweans are now more receptive to using the internet for conducting commerce transactions.
“The grocery delivery service is a timely solution for both the local and diaspora market to send groceries and other tourism products to their loved ones or for their own consumption, regardless of their location,” said RTG. The group expects the Gateway Stream to have value creation that would see the diaspora market getting maximum value for their hard earned remittances to the country.
As such, the company said it has already deployed teams to the country’s key regional hubs of Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Victoria Falls to facilitate the service.
“We are able to deliver grocery orders within a 40km radius of these towns and at an affordable charge. Our priority at the moment is to establish geographical reach to the less serviced regions” said Mr Madziwanyika. Since the launch of the online groceries service, Gateway Stream has made deliveries to Chipinge, Gokwe, Emganwini and Chivhu. The company will soon offer hardware, building materials and agro implements on the platform which is truly a gateway to all things,” said the company.