Being successful in the tours and activities industry is a bit of a challenge. You must design breathtaking experiences, lead tours, manage guides, and on top of that, cope with seasonality, work on sales and take care of multiple bookings. Handling all that is overwhelming, especially if you lack a big crew or the right technology, such as tour booking software.
The last is even more important these days. It not only makes your job easier, but it also delivers a better experience for travelers, who have become way more demanding after the pandemic.
In this article, you will learn why you need tour booking software to grow your business and thrive in the tours and activities industry.
If you are not tech-savvy and new to travel technologies, you must be asking yourself what tour booking software is.
In short, it is a system, usually a web application, developed to assist tour operators to manage reservations, automating daily tasks and collecting online payments from their guests.
It works very similarly to Online Travel Agencies like Viator, GetYourGuide and Klook, which you probably are familiar with. The big difference is that the booking software is integrated into your website in order to turn it into a sales channel for your business.
Basically, it allows potential guests visiting your website to self-book the desired tour. During the booking process they will be able to choose the best departure dates, number of tickets, purchase addons, add discount coupons and pay online with their credit cards.
This is just an overview of the tour booking software. This technology has many other advantages that we will discuss further in this article.
Now that you understand better what tour booking software is and does, you might have an idea of the potential this tool has to improve your business.
So, let’s dive deeper into the reasons why you should invest in this technology.
For a traveler who is planning their trip, a premium experience starts on the supplier’s website. It should be informative, inspiring and functional. But above all, it should offer a smooth booking process.
If you are still skeptical regarding online bookings, just take a look at this data:
There are several reasons why people prefer booking online nowadays, but the main reason is the convenience of making a reservation from the comfort of their home.
Now that you are aware that most of your guests would rather book your tours online, imagine if the first contact they have with your brand is a broken website or a poor booking experience.
That is definitely bad for your business.
So better work on your website and make sure it’s fully integrated with a tour booking system. That will turn it into your best sales channel, and the best part, it is available 24/7.
How do you handle direct sales in your business? If you are not using an online booking solution I can see two scenarios:
In both cases, you are managing your business manually. Which can lead to mistakes and miscommunication with guests.
By implementing a tour booking software you can solve all these issues. First, your guests will be able to book straight from your website. This means you will no longer get bothered with calls all day long, which is time-consuming.
You will also eliminate the need of collecting payments yourself since your customers will do that through payment gateways.
When the booking is confirmed, they will automatically receive all the necessary information regarding the tour in their email. Including reminders, vouchers and the tour itinerary.
Automating your tasks ultimately boosts your productivity and saves you precious time that you can use to focus on the parts of your business that you like most.
According to Zapier research, 70% of SMB employees say using automation software has helped them be more productive at work.
Investing in the digitalization of your business is definitely something that has a positive impact on your ROI.
No surprise that 91% of businesses are engaged in some form of digital initiative, and 87% of senior business leaders say digitalization is a priority, according to a Gartner report.
Although digitalization has many benefits in the short and long haul, affording such a project is expensive.
No wonder most tour operators haven’t the budget to hire a team of developers to create a digital solution that is tailored to their business.
Aware of this situation, many tech companies out there have devoted hours of work to developing tools dedicated to this market.
Tour booking software is a good example of these ready-to-use solutions. It addresses most of the tour operators’ needs in selling and managing their operations, at the same time it costs a fraction of customized software and has lower fees compared to OTAs.
One of the main challenges of running a travel company is to understand guests’ minds. What do they expect from my service? Where are they coming from? Which products are they interested in?
If you are managing your business without the help of tour booking software, probably you don’t have the necessary answers to these questions.
Ultimately you are leaving money on the table. Tracking data regarding your customers and partners gives you precious insights on how to improve your services and helps you make informed decisions for your business.
According to Google, 57% of U.S. travelers feel that brands should tailor their information based on personal preferences or past behaviors.
Tour booking software usually comes with analytical tools that provide you with important information on customer behavior.
By tracking the data provided by these tools you will know:
For example, if you see that families are your type of customer with the higher ticket, you can work on products specific to this public and create marketing campaigns focused on this audience.
Probably you’ve heard the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket“. In terms of sales, it is the equivalent of, the more distribution channels you have the better for your business.
The reason is simple, investing in different direct and indirect distribution channels helps you protect your revenue against market changes that can negatively impact one or more channels.
What I’m trying to say is that a smart tour operator sells through OTAs, partner resellers, its website, and also through the telephone, and on-site stands.
But there is a downside to this strategy. If you are not very organized, it’s easy to lose track of seat availabilities when reservations are coming from different sources.
This can ultimately lead to overbooking and unhappy customers. You don’t want that, right?
Good news. You don’t need to downsize the number of distribution channels if you implement tour booking software that has a channel manager.
This feature centralizes all bookings you receive from different platforms, online and offline, in one place. It not only makes it easier for you to follow up on your bookings, but it also automatically updates the availability of your products, avoiding overbooking.
Digitalizing your operations doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Tour booking software is a great example of an online tool that small to big tour operators can use to streamline their operations and grow their business.
In this article, we gave five good reasons why you should be using tour booking software:
If you are convinced that implementing tour booking software is the right investment for your business, I invite you to check Orioly’s success stories and learn how our online booking system has helped companies in the industry grow their revenue and simplify their daily operations.
on May 12, 2023
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