The key to success when you are a tour and activity provider is simple: bookings. You need people to book out the tours and excursions that you offer in order to remain in business, whether that be through online or offline travel bookings.

There are many factors you need to consider when deciding which one of the different types of booking systems best suits your needs. Details such as cost, user-friendliness, customization capabilities and how the system will align with your current business management tools, are important to bear in mind. 

While you got into the tourism industry in order to showcase your part of the world, to survive you will need to know how to maximize revenue from these three types of bookings.

Online vs Offline Bookings

The best way to book travel is subjective, and changes from activity to activity, person to person. It’s important to consider the different types of booking systems when trying to attract a broad range of new customers.

Offline Direct Bookings

It may seem antiquated, but your business still needs offline bookings in order to survive. For complex demands, it can be extremely useful for bookers to first chat with someone for advice before making a final decision. Sometimes automated systems lack the functionality to book a complicated trip in a timely and cost-effective way. This is especially true when the booker has a limited budget or special requirements that have to be met. A tour operator can more easily cater to requests made through offline bookings in comparison to those made with an automated online booking system.

To get more bookings offline, developing a positive brand identity and reliable reputation in your community is essential.

Here are a few tips for increasing your point of sale bookings from walk-ins and phone calls:

  • Use traditional advertising methods like brochures in hotels and visitor centres, and flyers around your city.
  • Make connections with the local visitor centre in your area, who may direct customers who are currently on holiday in your area right to your doorstep.
  • Develop a positive relationship with hotel concierges in the region. Concierges are relied upon for personalized advice and recommendations.

Online Bookings

Online bookings play a major role in the success of any tour and activity business.

Today, many travelers use the Internet in order to create their own itineraries, and they want to be able to book their tours and activities quickly and easily. There are many different types of online booking systems and tools, meaning there are plenty of easy-to-use online booking options for customers regardless of their tech knowledge. The internet holds an infinite amount of travel advice, and allows travelers to curate their perfect vacation plan based on online reviews and photos. Plus, online booking allows travelers the option to organise their travel schedule any time of the day, while also providing assurance they can easily cancel or change their plans.

Also, travelers are increasingly relying on social media sites to provide inspiration for their holiday plans. In a sense, social media is the modern travel guidebook. Searching #travel on Instagram renders over 611 million results. 

Here are some tips for boosting your online bookings (regardless of which type of booking system you use):

  • Manage your business’s reputation on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is one of the most reliable sources of travel information, and many of your customers will be checking for your business there. Professional replies to reviews can give potential customers a favorable perspective on your company.
  • Diversify your online distribution. Create coupon deals with daily deal sites like Groupon. Network with online travel agents. Stay involved on social media. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram are ideal for engaging with customers and generating brand awareness. Also, when using social media sites, remember to add a location to your posts and use popular hashtags to attract more followers. 
  • Invest in an easy-to-use online booking system that is designed to automate the booking process.

Bookings through Agents

While many travelers can use the Internet in order to create their own vacation itineraries, the expertise and knowledge of travel agents means it is arguably the best way to book travel packages. This means it is important for tour operators to maintain correspondence with travel agents to attract new customers.Networking with online travel agents and retail travel agents will help you boost your bookings. Travel expos and online travel agent groups are two ways you can liaise with travel agents and forge new connections.

Ultimately, growing your business will result in strengthening contacts with travel agents. However, here are a few other tips for increasing your bookings through travel agents:

  • Network with agents and let them know that they can earn a commission by booking through your online booking system. This will entice them to sell your tours and activities, because it is beneficial to them.
  • Remember that agents will be cross-referencing your information with reviews placed online. Respond to all reviews, and do so as quickly as possible. Make online reputation management a top priority. You can also opt to team up with a professional reputation management agency to help you monitor and respond to reviews around the web.
  • Team up with other tour and activity providers in your area that complement the services you offer. Create a package deal that travel agents can sell to their customers.

Once you begin increasing your bookings, you may quickly become overwhelmed with keeping track of your resources and availability. Booking management can easily become a chaotic disarray of online memos, paper documentation and countless files stashed away in cabinets. A disorganized booking system can easily impact the experience your clients have. 

Rezdy booking software saves time and energy by allowing tour operators to manage bookings with a single, easy-to-use platform. 


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